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Puck welcomes John Heilemann as its Chief Political Columnist!

Chaos on the Planet of the Bored Apes

bored ape
Photo: Gotham/GC Images
Eriq Gardner
August 15, 2022

Are Nazi sympathizers laundering racist ideology with an army of digital apes and abusing the law to muffle criticism of their dastardly plot? That may sound freakishly preposterous, and yet it’s exactly the batshit situation described in court papers filed on Monday, in response to a recent lawsuit from Yuga Labs, the multi-billion dollar company behind the Bored Apes Yacht Club. The case, which pits a couple of NFT millionaires against a copycat conceptual artist, is already raising significant questions about art and commerce. It may even reshape our understanding of NFTs, themselves.

The Bored Apes, for anyone still unfamiliar with the project, are algorithmically-generated images of cartoon apes, immortalized on the Ethereum blockchain, that have become wildly popular with digital collectors and celebrities including Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Brady and Mark Cuban. Even with the recent downswing in the crypto market, BAYC’s 10,000 digital apes are collectively valued at some $4 billion, making Yuga Lab’s founders, Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, incredibly wealthy—at least on digital paper.