How does Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) Make Money?

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 10, 2022
verified by Ryan McNamara

Bored Apes have been running riot around the world of Web3 with celebrities and superstars from all walks of life aping into this exclusive club. This unique collection of 10,000 bored apes exploded onto the NFT scene last year. Notable members of this ultra cool club are Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Curry; even Justin Bieber has gotten in on the action.

How Does BAYC Make Money?

Launched in April 2020 by a team of four pseudonymous developers: Gargamel, Gordon Goner, Emperor Tomato Ketchup and No Sass, BAYC sold out in the first 12 hours. NFT collections like the BAYC are similar to Pokemon cards in respect to their collectibility, with revenue attached to them. BAYC is one of the biggest NFT projects of this kind. The 10,000 NFTs have different properties, such as hats, facial expressions, clothing and accessories, that make them unique. All these properties are shown on OpenSea, which is the primary trading platform for these furry characters. 

How BAYC Makes Money

BAYC makes money in several ways, but its primary source of revenue comes from minting apes as NFTs as well as via royalties from secondary sales and other transactions. Yuga Labs, the studio behind BAYC, receives 2.5 percent of the secondary sale value.

What this means is for every BAYC sold on a platform like Opensea, yuga labs would receive 2.5% of the sale. If a Bored Ape were to sell for 80 Eth, Yuga labs would receive 80 Eth x 0.025% = 2 Eth.

Every ape functions as a collectible. The average price of a Bored Ape today is approximately 85.9 ETH or just over $146,000. With a limited number of 10,000, the rarer they are, the more valuable they can become. In the BAYC collection, any ape with properties under 1% is considered rare. For example, only 46 apes with gold fur exist in the entire collection, making Gold Apes rare and valuable. 

The community of apes has become a status collection, which means a Bored Ape in your collection shows that you are a strong collector of NFTs and gives you access to a unique members club with celebrities, influencers and wealthy individuals. People in the world of crypto and NFTs use their Bored Apes as their profile pictures to showcase their BAYC membership.

Another way that BAYC makes money is by expanding the collection. Not long after the collection of apes sold out, the founders created the Bored Ape Kennel Club, offering NFT owners the opportunity to adopt a dog NFT with traits similar to that of their Bored Ape. Who doesn’t want a pet in the metaverse? Another expansion for the collection involved mixing your Bored Ape with a serum to create a Mutant Ape. This airdrop was announced to Bored Ape owners on Twitter and Discord. Initially, 10,000 Mutant serums were airdropped. The collection of Mutant Ape NFTs has become a phenomen all of its own, with floor prices for these creatures reaching up to 20 ETH.

The serum for transforming the apes is also up for grabs through the Bored Ape Chemistry Club. In January 2022, a rare serum for BAYC sold for 1,542.069 ETH ($5.8 million), making it the highest sale of a Bored Ape serum as well as the highest sale for both Bored Apes and Mutant Apes. Mutant Ape serums are an NFT that mutates the collection's primates into mutant apes. To mutate a Bored Ape with a serum, an individual must have both a Bored Ape NFT and a serum NFT in their wallet before using the mutating feature on the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) website. Owners can access three tiers of serums: M1, M2 and M3. The M3 serum dramatically distorts the original Bored Ape and gives the owner a unique 1-of-1 Mega Mutant while keeping their original ape.

The BAYC also organizes in-person meetups and merch associated with the collection. These gatherings have become popular, with groups of Bored Ape owners meeting up at various locations around the globe. Many are also active social media influencers who showcase the BAYC merch everywhere they post. 

Is BAYC Worth Investing In?

For some, value is in the eye of the beholder, but with the BAYC the value is in the hands of the community and more precisely, the NFT community. With a recent sale of Bored Ape #1962 for 140 ETH, it seems that the value of BAYC is remaining high for now. As long as Bored Apes maintain status and continue their expansion with increased utility, they should remain valuable. More recently, some holders of the apes have started to use them to increase the value of their specific collection. For example, one collector teamed up with Universal music studios to develop a band of four Bored Apes called Kingship. 

BAYC also announced that it is working on a play-to-earn video game with Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based game software company best known for its development of The Sandbox metaverse.

The BAYC is also working with Horizen Labs to create an Ape token. This feature would add a new level of utility and value to the BAYC community. 

BAYC has managed to maintain its six figure floor price, even during a bearish outlook in the crypto market. The community of ape owners have become renowned as an exclusive club, and the more celebrities that seek to become a part of the club, the more valuable the collection becomes overall. 

What Does BAYC Spend Money On?

Yuga Labs has dropped two different sets of apes so far. The first release netted them around $2 million while the second drop, issued in late August 2021, netted the team a whopping $96 million. The studio also generates revenue whenever a secondary sale, for example on Rarible or OpenSea, occurs. Additionally, the studio would also receive a portion of the revenue generated through other secondary transactions. Examples include royalty fees from sales or other content associated with the apes.

As the whole business model of Bored Ape Yacht Club collection is based on maintaining a level of exclusivity, the studio and the Bored Ape community spend time and resources building this utility into the collection and creating as much content associated with the apes as possible.


On March 16, 2022, Yuga Labs released 1,000,000,000 of their native ERC-20 token known as Apecoin ($APE). This is the main cryptocurrency of the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem. Initially, Apecion was offered to the public for a price of around $8.

What is APE Token? 

ApeCoin’s official token (APE) will act as the utility token for the APE ecosystem, focusing on strengthening the BAYC community. A utility token can be interpreted as a token that enables users to perform actions or initiatives on a certain network. Effectively, APE gives its participants a currency that can be used without any centralized intermediaries. 

The Ape Token is an ERC-20 token, a particular type of custom-made cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain. As an ERC-20 token, APE can be used in four main ways:

  1. Incentivization: ApeCoin is a means for third-party developers to participate in the ecosystem by integrating APE into games, projects and other services. For example, APE Token is accepted in the Benji Bananas game by Animoca Brands. For 25 ApeCoins, you can buy a Benji Bananas Membership Pass, which allows you to earn an in-game token that can be swapped for APE.
  2. Access: APE Token will function as a gating token, providing limited access to certain parts of the ecosystem such as exclusive events, games and merchandise.
  3. Unification of Spend: ApeCoin is the utility token of the APE ecosystem, meaning that it can be used to purchase products and services such as play-to-earn games that BAYC are developing. 
  4. Governance: ApeCoin is the governance token of the ApeCoin DAO, enabling holders of the token to vote on governance decisions within the DAO

The total supply of APE is locked at 1 billion tokens, so it is not possible to mint further tokens. The supply should never increase further than 1 billion. However, the developers created no ability to burn APE, meaning supply won’t decrease either. According to ApeCoin’s official website, Ape Token distribution is as follows: of the total supply, 62% belongs to the ecosystem fund, 16% is allocated to Yuga Labs and different charities, 14% goes to launch contributors and 8% is for BAYC founders. 

From the tokens allocated to the ecosystem fund, 150 million tokens were airdropped to holders of BAYC-related NFTs. The airdrop distribution depended on whether NFT owners held a Bored Ape or Mutant Ape and whether the NFT was paired with a Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT. The airdrop was allocated in the following proportions:

  • Mutant ape = 2,042 tokens
  • Mutant Ape + Kennel Club = 2,898 token
  • Bored Ape NFT = 10,094 tokens
  • Bored Ape + Kennel Club = 10,950 tokens

Interestingly, Yuga Labs claims zero responsibility for ApeCoin; however, the company is more than happy to take a significant portion of the profits. Since ApeCoin is coming from just ApeCoin DAO and not Yuga Labs, Yuga Labs can benefit from an independent entity allocating tokens to them as opposed to Yuga Labs pumping their own investments. However, this action is still a gray area as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) still doesn’t oversee NFTs

Outlook for 2022 and Beyond

With a play-to-earn game and an Ape token in the roadmap, it is safe to say that it will be a busy year ahead for BAYC. As a collection of NFTs, it is a perfect mix for community buy-in when it comes to valuable NFT collections, with community influencers and celebrities aping in and increasing utility for members. With new merch, in-person events and strong support from the entire ecosystem, BAYC is hard to replicate and will be difficult for anyone to dismantle as ape owners from around the world now have a new shared experience and club where they can come together. 

The BAYC collection has become a digital investment for many. Some people have compared Bored Apes to digital Rolexes — but besides telling the time, Rolexes don’t offer much to their owners. In contrast, the quirky Ape collection is constantly evolving. With NFT utility continually increasing, it is only a lack of imagination from the community that could prevent it from attracting even more stardom.

Frequently Asked Questions


What was the mint price of BAYC?


Originally, Bored Ape Yacht Club minted for 0.08 ETH.

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