In a time flooded by NFT drops, utility has become an integral differentiator and a prime point of attention for collectors. Easy solutions are commonplace, but innovation shines through every so often with a novel use case for all to appreciate. Mutant Ape Yacht Club released on the 28th of August with an economically fascinating system that is rewarding primarily to existing Ape holders, but not exclusively so. This drop establishes a situation where Ape holders, committed fans who’d missed out, and the project itself all win.
Since NFT’s nascence, projects have pioneered ways to add utility for their token holders. Despite the example set by CryptoKitties in the early days to “breed” NFTs, this utility has manifested in a multitude of ways, ranging from access to governance to dividends and plenty more perks in between. Keen to blaze a new trial, the BAYC team chose to establish a collection of Mutant Apes, half of which were sold to the public at 3 ETH. The other 10,000 could be generated at any time by applying another new NFT called a “Serum” to a Bored Ape.
Photo Credit: Glassy, BAYC #8360 & MAYC #26721
From there, it only gets more interesting:
There are three different categories of Serums; M1, M2 and Mega Mutant Serum in ascending value and rarity. M1 and M2 both create mutations of the Bored Ape they are applied to; different versions of the original ape. The Mega Mutant Serum is a different beast altogether and creates an entirely new ape with new properties, making it more valuable. One of these Serums sold for 350 ETH on August 29th. The Serums were fairly distributed to the 10,000 Bored Ape holders, enabling them to make a Mutant, try to get a rarer Serum or do both. The only restriction is that each type of Serum can only be applied to each Bored Ape once.
Photo Credit: @MoonOverlord via Twitter
At the time of writing, three-quarters of all Mutants have been created, leaving 5,000 Serums that can be applied to any Ape to create a new Mutant. Naturally, this creates a bustling economy and intriguing price discovery. Watching the prices at which these Serums are being sold speaks to the faith the team behind BAYC has been able to instill in their community. Beyond the Serums and Mutants, they have airdropped Kennel companions to all Bored Ape holders. Despite the danger airdrops have of over-saturating a project’s initial market, the BAYC team has approached this carefully to maintain and increase the value proposition for collectors.
“I believe BAYC is the first truly Metaverse native, bottom-up NFT based transmedia franchise, entirely owned by the fans.
If you look at the permissioned-through-ownership innovation that’s happening across its growing ecosystem of merch, 3D avatars and even BAYC wine, it’s a crazy cultural but also very commercial movement people can fluidly join and exit from. It’s really set a precedent for something incredibly cult, which is going to transform the way we think of media franchises and flip the entertainment industry on its head.”
- Jamie Burke, founder of the NFTS.WTF DAO
BAYC was one of the first projects to grant full IP rights to token holders, and as such, has inspired countless derivative projects. The Apes provide a common theme and community many artists enjoy adapting, thereby spreading the artwork and the project further. This original utility was just one of the parts of the initial BAYC roadmap or “Roadmap 1.0,” as it’s now called. This roadmap is now complete, and the team has chosen to push further and establish a second version with more targets to benefit Bored and Mutant Ape holders.
Photo Credit: Low Sleazy, BAYC #9203
“They’re setting the standard for what community building is. They’ve changed my life with a picture. With a picture! But it’s deeper than that; the reason we got excited wasn’t the money we were making; it was the opportunity to create something and sell merch and create art and be a part of something that turned out to be legendary. And there’s only 5000 of us, like wow, how’d I get so lucky enough to hit that lottery. And they’re rewarding us for holding which is good for tokenomics, because flippers miss out while holders benefit.”
Photo Credit: Low Sleazy, MAYC #28406
Utility does not need to be fully defined initially, but having some established has become critical for NFT projects. As projects like BAYC and others continue to explore new possibilities to support their communities, other projects must match their game to compete and exceed it to succeed. As the NFT community grows, utility and execution have become one of the prime differentiating factors amongst projects.
“Funny how a few simple choices can pan out in so many ways. I had the most challenging time deciding on whether to sell my M2 or hold it. After a few days of paralysis, I finally drank the serum. I’m looking forward to doing some derivatives of this mutant.
I think it’s incredible how the BAYC team continues to deliver incredible value and simple innovation and consistently offer 90% of that value back to the Bored Ape community.”
Photo Credit: BossLogic via Twitter
“The commercial rights granted with ownership of each ape have allowed legendary illustrators like Jose Delbo and other top artists to create new derivative pieces featuring apes they own or in collaboration with other ape owners. This not only allows artists to create pieces that reimagine the simpler illustration and coloring style of the apes themselves and create pieces that are visually incredible, but it enables top creative minds to participate in crafting the story behind the many apes that make up the community.”
– Nick F (NFTS.WTF DAO Member)
The release of the Mutant Apes will once more stimulate endless derivative offshoots, each reinforcing the core brand and expanding it as a phenomenon. While many Serums remain out in the wild, Ape holders can continue to speculate on the value one can bring to each Ape Holder’s individual Yacht Club collection. As this happens, the entire franchise grows in value, generating over 50 ETH in value for each Ape holder (across the floors of BAYC, BAKC, and MAYC). And yet, very few Ape holders are willing to sell. Many believe far more in the long-term vision, their beliefs cemented by the seamless execution they have experienced and the vibrant community they have formed.