Thousands of Bored Ape Yacht Club owners descended on Hong Kong to attend Yuga Labs’ first international ApeFest for three days of bacchanalia this weekend, offering signs of life to the city’s residents. non-fungible token (NFT) market days after local authorities touted new tokenization efforts.
More than 2,000 people from 60 countries attended the third annual ApeFest – the first to take place outside of New York – according to Yuga Labs, the company that runs what is perhaps the world’s most recognizable NFT brand.
This year’s attempt to increase awareness of Bored Apes turned east just a few months ago, according to Yuga Labs CEO Daniel Alegre, when the company abandoned plans to hold an ApeFest in Las Vegas to offer something to its Asian community.
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“We had very strong, very influential keepers (in Asia). Some of the most prominent families here in Hong Kong own Apes,” Alegre told the Post in an interview on the sidelines of Saturday’s main event at the cruise Kai Tak. Terminal. “It was time for us to do something in Asia.”
In collaboration with BMW, Yuga Labs allowed Bored Ape NFT holders to take a photo with a vehicle covered in singular simian projections of the participants. Photo: Matt Haldane alt=In collaboration with BMW, Yuga Labs allowed Bored Ape NFT holders to take a photo with a vehicle covered in singular simian projections of the participants. Photo: Matt Haldane>
Yuga’s decision to expand into Hong Kong after considering Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo was due in part to its investor Animoca Brands, which Yuga Labs “relied on” for local contacts, Alegre said, adding that the Hong Kong government has also been “accommodating”. .
“The Hong Kong government was supportive and it worked very well,” Alegre said. “The location is fantastic.”
Obtaining permits and other preparations happened in a matter of months, Alegre added. “We literally announced it four months ago, and we got there very, very, very quickly,” he said.
Holding the event in Hong Kong is a victory for the city, which last year announced major policies aimed at growing the virtual assets sector and becoming a global player. Web3 hub.
Local crypto companies have largely applauded the Hong Kong government’s initiative, but major international players are not interested in establishing a presence in the city, leaving crypto talent who have left Hong Kong in recent years wondering if ‘They must come back.
“There has been a huge exodus of cryptocurrency talent out of Hong Kong over the past few years, while other regions were comparatively more welcoming to cryptocurrency projects,” said Kevin Gibson, founder of Proof of Search, a recruitment company focused on the blockchain sector.
“Now they take note with some interest of what is happening at home.”
The ApeFest DJ takes the time to play a set online for people who join via the metaverse-like Otherside platform. Photo: Matt Haldane alt=ApeFest DJ takes the time to play an online set for people who join via the metaverse-like Otherside platform. Photo: Matt Haldane>
Alegre, who was previously Google’s president of Asia Pacific and COO at Activision Blizzard, took the reins at Yuga Labs in April, and he’s now betting on Asia as the company faces challenges croissants.
The Forkast 500 NFT Index, a measure of the top 500 smart contracts, has fallen 55% this year.
Crypto news outlet The Block, relying on internal research data, reported last month that Yuga saw royalty payments plunge more than 70% to US$2.5 million between first and third quarters, in a context of increased competition which saw new NFT markets circumvent the mechanisms for applying such Payments.
The company may also not be safe from the regulatory scrutiny that has hit several crypto companies in the United States in recent years. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into the company last year, Bloomberg reported.
Asked about this by a participant in a podcast recording with Hong Kong’s Web3 Harbor on Friday, Alegre said Yuga Labs’ NFTs should not be considered securities because they sell the intellectual property of the images. But if a lawsuit comes, “we’re going to fight it,” he said.
At the very least, Yuga Labs seems to have a dedicated group of enthusiasts willing to travel halfway around the world just to attend a party full of like-minded people.
Among those in attendance at the event — with a music festival-like setup that included a live DJ and an array of Bored Ape-branded products and experiences — were 250 Americans who applied for their first passports just to attend at ApeFest, the company said.
ApeFest attendees wave their phones in the air during a set by American rapper MC Jin. Photo: Matt Haldane alt=ApeFest attendees wave their phones in the air during a set by American rapper MC Jin. Photo: Matt Haldane>
Many participants were also part of various Bored Ape groups from around the world, with Hong Kong’s elite monkeys and Mandarin-speaking group Chinese Ape Club showing their presence with branded T-shirts, along with similar groups from places like Dubai and Miami.
About 200 mainland-based Chinese Ape Club members, with about 500 total members worldwide, joined the event this weekend, according to the group’s founder, who asked to be identified by his English name David.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club “now carries the banner for the entire NFT ecosystem,” David said. Holding ApeFest in Hong Kong “at this difficult and crucial time” could mean the city will play an important role in bringing the entire NFT ecosystem together, he added.
A number of local industry figures were also at the event, including Animoca co-founder and chairman Yat Siu, who mingled with the many Bored Apes owners looking for selfies and a chance to chat with one of Web3’s most vocal supporters.
Animoca’s The Sandbox had held its first-ever Creators Day the day before, during which it announced a no-code Game Maker and the ability for creators to publish their own experiences directly to the site. metaverse platform.
Since NFTs are the technology that underpins much of Animoca’s business model, Siu continues to be a big proponent of digital assets. Despite the market slowdown, he told the Post last month that NFT sales are expected to reach $15 billion to $20 billion this year. He compared this to the $100 billion mobile sector video game walk.
“Basically, NFT sales represent 20% of the mobile gaming industry today,” he said at the time. “So from my perspective, yes, it’s down from last year, but it’s a major strength, it’s here to stay.”
For Yuga Labs, the synergies with Animoca were on full display at Saturday’s event, with a booth full of computers dedicated to the metaverse-style Otherside platform, where gamers from around the world could interact with attendees of the ApeFest in real time. Players join the party as the Bored Ape avatar they own.
Yuga Labs’ bet on Hong Kong coincided with the city’s FinTech Week, where officials touted efforts in the area. tokenization as a new way forward in building the local Web3 industry.
During the event, the Securities and Futures Commission has published two circulars describing the requirements for tokenized securities, allowing retail access under certain conditions.
This article was originally published in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice in reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP application or visit the SCMP Facebook And Twitter pages. Copyright © 2023 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.