CryptoPunks VS Bored Ape Yacht Club: The Final Clap?

CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), the two main NFT Profile for Picture projects (PFP), have long been fighting for market monopoly. Has this competitive era now ended? 

Florent D ·  · 03/21/22 ·  3 min

CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), the two main NFT Profile for Picture projects (PFP), have long been fighting for market monopoly. Has this competitive era now ended? 

In a landmark acquisition Yuga Labs, creator of BAYC, has recently purchased the intellectual property of both the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections from OG creators Larva Labs.

Let’s take a look at this rivalry over time and the potential consequences of these projects unification.

Back to the rivalry between BAYC and CryptoPunks

Punks and BAYC are two pivotal collections made up of 10,000 NFTs each. The first was launched in June 2017 and could be minted for free for those willing to pay the gas fees, the second was launched in April 2021 and offered at 0.08 ETH.

BAYC vs CryptoPunks USD Volume
BAYC vs CryptoPunks – USD Volume

In this chart, the USD sales volume of CryptoPunks as well as the three collections of the Bored Ape family (Bored Ape Yacht Club, Bored Kennel Yacht Club and Bored Mutant Yacht Club) were taken into account.

Interestingly, a flippening took place in early October 2021 and this trend has never reversed since and has even been accentuated with the floor price of BAYC surpassing that of CryptoPunks for the first time at the beginning of January 2022. On January 4, the BAYC floor price reached 69 ETH while the Punks floor was 68 ETH and since then Bored Apes has remained on top.

Currently, the lowest priced Punk for sale is 69.7 ETH (about $180,500) while Apes are trading for a minimum of 96 ETH (about $250,000).

BAYC vs CryptoPunks number of sales
BAYC vs CryptoPunks – Number of sales

Looking at the volume of sales between the two rivals, it is very clear that the volume is much larger for the Ape family.

This is explained by significant demand on one hand, but also in relation to the entry price which was much lower than that of CryptoPunks at that time.

BAYC vs CryptoPunks average USD
BAYC vs CryptoPunks – Average USD price

CryptoPunk #7523, one of nine very rare Alien Punks, was sold for a record $11.8 million by Sotheby’s. On the Larva Labs marketplace, the highest selling price was CryptoPunk #4156 for $10.26 million.

The on-chain sale record for the Bored Apes collection was lower, with Ape number #2087 selling for 769 ETH. BAYC #8817, the third rarest golden fur Ape, selling for a record $3.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in October 2021.

How to explain this trend?

BAYC are much more recent and ultimately took the inspiration of creating randomly generated avatars from CryptoPunks. However, the creators of BAYC have taken the concept to another level by presenting the collection as an exclusive social organization and offering additional benefits.

In addition, BAYC has more generous intellectual property rights compared to CryptoPunks.  Jimmy McNelis, owner of 3 Bored Apes and 1 Mutant Ape, was able to create a virtual music band called Kingship with Universal Music.

The adoption of BAYCs by celebrities has also accelerated the trend. For example, celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Eminem, Snoop Dog, Stephan Curry, Timbaland, Steve Aoki, Serena Williams and Paris Hilton own an Ape. BAYC reportedly has a concierge service that helps celebrities become owners, unlike Larva Labs, which doesn’t do much in that direction.

Cozomo de Medici summed up the “flippening” reasons well in a tweet

cozomo de medici larva labs

Yuga Labs acquires CryptoPunks and Meebits collections

Yuga Labs acquired not only the intellectual property of the CryptoPunks but also the Meebit collections from Larva Labs.

As part of this acquisition, Yuga Labs owns the copyright to the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections. As well as 423 Punks and 1711 Meebits. With this transaction, they will own the trademarks and logos for both collections.

Yuga Labs plans to transfer the intellectual property, commercial rights and licensing rights to the holders of the NFTs. The company plans to grant CryptoPunks and Meebits the same commercial rights that the holders of BAYC have.

The creators of CryptoPunks have been criticized for their lack of involvement with intellectual property rights and their commitment to the community, in response a statement was shared by the founders: 

« In many ways Yuga is the innovator of the model for the modern PFP project, and are the best people in the world at operating and growing these projects and communities around them. At the same time, we found they have deep respect for the history and origins of the NFT world, and want nothing more than to honor that while expanding its reach and size into popular culture at large. »

Note that Larva Labs will continue to work on its other projects such as Road Trip and Autoglyphs.


A page is turned with this acquisition, but the previous rivalry had indirectly generated hype and engagement, two vital elements for a dynamic market. As in any market, competition can be healthy and with this acquisition, the rivalry between the two projects more or less ceases. 

Is this acquisition of Yuga labs and its new dominance a good thing for the market? Is concentration a risk for the market? Some observers are already worried that Meta (ex-Facebook) might one day get its hands on Yuga Labs.

Will collectors turn to other projects for diversification? Whatever the outcome it’s likely that other PFP collections such as Doodle and Azuki will indirectly benefit from this new market dynamic..only time will tell on the future of NFT PFPs.

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