Who are the founders of Bored Ape Yacht Club?

7 Feb 2022

Image: © gajleha/Stock.adobe.com

The founders of the Bored Ape NFT collection have been revealed and are said to be in investment talks with Andreessen Horowitz.

Two of the four founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), an NFT collection that lives on the Ethereum blockchain, have had their identities revealed in an investigation that has been described by some as doxing.

BuzzFeed News revealed on Friday (4 February) that it was able to identify Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, two residents of Florida in their 30s, as the faces behind the pseudonymous founders of Bored Ape.

Solano, who goes by the pseudonym Gargamel, is a 32-year old writer and editor while Aronow, aka Gordon Goner, is a 35-year old Miami native who dropped out of the same creative writing degree programme as Solano.

Yuga Labs, the company behind Bored Ape, has publicly available records that were accessed by BuzzFeed to unravel the mystery behind the popular NFT collection that has made it big in the celebrity world.

Last month, Bored Ape featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon as Paris Hilton and the host showed off photos of their Bored Ape NFTs that collectively cost more than half a million dollars.

According to BuzzFeed News, Yuga Labs is incorporated in the US state of Delaware with an address associated with Solano. Yuga Labs chief executive Nicole Muniz confirmed the identities of both men to the news outlet.

The two men have given interviews, under their pseudonyms, with magazines such as the New Yorker and Rolling Stone in which they have discussed how they came about founding an NFT collection based on the idea of a bunch of anthropomorphic bored rich apes living in a swamp clubhouse.

Solanos and Aronow shared an interest in starting a collection of NFTs and founded Bored Ape after teaming up with two software engineers who pseudonymously go by Emperor Tomato Ketchup and No Sass. Both their identities remain unknown.

The original Bored Ape artwork was made by a 27-year-old freelance artist known as Seneca. Muniz told BuzzFeed News that she has been compensated more than $1m for her work.

Yuga Labs is reportedly in investment talks with Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley investment giant that announced a $9bn fund for new technologies last month and is pushing further into the crypto space. A financing deal with Andreessen Horowitz and other investors could see the start-up valued at up to $5bn.

When Yuga Labs was founded last April, tapping into an explosion in the NFT space, the price of each Bored Ape NFT in the 10,000-strong collection was around $300. Today, prices start at more than $250,000. According to The Block, sales of Bored Ape NFTs crossed the billion-dollar mark last month.

Bored Ape NFTs are hosted on the OpenSea marketplace, which had a great start to 2022 after raising $300m in Series C funding, valuing the company at $13.3bn.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic