The startup behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs has raised as much as $320 million in cryptocurrency by selling 55,000 plots of virtual land in its metaverse. The virtual real estate buying frenzy over the weekend reportedly was so intense that it crashed the Ethereum network and sent fees on the blockchain system soaring.
The land sale offered buyers the chance to buy a plot in the Otherside metaverse for around $5,800, plus transaction fees. The virtual land sale is believed to be the largest of its kind, according to Bloomberg, which calculated the total proceeds at $320 million. Reuters pinned the number at closer to $285 million, based on the price of the ApeCoin virtual currency.
Miami-based Yuga Labs, the startup behind the Bored Ape franchise, was founded just last year and raised its first outside funding in March this year, a $450 million round at a $4 billion valuation. The raise, led by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, makes the company one of the fastest-ever to reach unicorn status.
The startup is known for its Bored Ape series of NFTs, some of which are owned by celebrities including Paris Hilton and Madonna. Alongside the March funding, Yuga Labs launched its own metaverse—or virtual world—called Otherside and its own cryptocurrency, called ApeCoin.
Virtual land sales are a new phenomenon but growing rapidly. Real estate sales on the four major metaverse platforms reached $501 million in 2021 and are projected to reach nearly $1 billion this year, according to investment and analytics firm MetaMetric Solutions.