Andreessen Horowitz participates in windfall from crypto coin Bored Ape

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is among investors who received a windfall this week as billions of dollars worth of tokens were issued to the creators, backers and owners of the Bored Ape Yacht Club digital collectibles.

Crypto traders rushed to get their share of the action Thursday when a consortium in which Bored Ape creator Yuga Labs is the largest single shareholder unveiled “ApeCoin.” More than $9 billion worth of coins changed hands in the first 24 hours of trading, according to data from ApeCoin

A billion ApeCoin was created on the Ethereum blockchain by an organization that Yuga helped found along with a small group of backers and advisors.

The tokens suddenly became very valuable after millions were given away to Bored Ape owners on Thursday and they were traded on major crypto exchanges like Coinbase, FTX and Binance where any other investor could buy them.

The release of ApeCoin is one of the most well-known examples of “airdrops,” where cryptocurrency projects are effectively giving away free digital tokens to collectors, collaborators, and investors, sometimes minting new millionaires overnight. The coins followed on from the success of the non-fungible Bored Ape tokens, which have been gaining popularity over the past few months.

Before public trading began, Yuga and its ApeCoin partners approved the allocation of the tokens and are now handing over billions worth of crypto to a handful of insiders, as well as owners of Bored Ape, an environmental organization and the organization’s treasury. A Yuga spokesman said the token distribution was determined by a “large group involving both the contributors and the industry experts they consulted.”

The Four Founders of Yuga – until recently known only by their online aliases, such as Gargamel and Emperor Tomato Ketchup – were allotted 8 percent. A group of “launch partners” including Andreessen- and Hong Kong-based NFT and crypto investor Animoca Brands collectively received a 14 percent allotment in return for helping prepare the offering, a Yuga spokesperson confirmed to the Financial Times.

Another 150 million tokens have been handed over to Yuga Labs itself, currently valued at more than $2.2 billion, while 470 million are held by the ApeCoin organization itself and 150 million are being raised by Bored Ape NFT holders.

Bored Ape holders received a payout of 10,094 ApeCoin for each NFT they own from the main collection, Handing over tens of thousands of dollars to owners of a cartoon monkey that originally sold for around $250 and is now trading for over $250,000 on marketplaces like OpenSea.

Several Bored Ape owners were able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ApeCoin Thursday with a major collector claim Tokens worth more than $20 million on Friday.

After a volatile early trade where it fluctuated from $39 to $7, ApeCoin’s price had recovered to around $15 within 24 hours of its launch. This award would value the Yuga founders’ stake at more than $1.2 billion, while its launch partners hold $2.1 billion worth of ApeCoin. Founders and launch partners are currently barred from trading ApeCoin, with lock-ups being lifted in batches over the next 36 months. Only 28 percent of the tokens are currently available for trading.

ApeCoin belongs to a new generation of cryptocentric “decentralized autonomous organizations” or DAOs that use airdrop tokens to split governance rights, with those who own more coins having greater influence over the direction of the project. The coins can also become speculative financial assets used to attract new users to a new platform or marketplace.

Other members of the ApeCoin consortium include Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, Guy Oseary, a music industry veteran whose clients include Madonna and U2, and Horizen Labs, a blockchain developer.

A Yuga spokesman said Andreessen received coins in exchange for helping with the “overall design of DAO governance.” Andreessen declined to comment on his involvement in the project.

Yuga held discussions with investors, including Andreessen, about a new round of financing that would be worth between $4 billion and $5 billion, the FT reported Last month. Yuga and Andreessen both declined to comment on the potential funding.

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Adam Bradshaw

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