Bored Ape Yacht Club founders reflect on early NFT days, get doxxed and battle critics in rare interview
An Input cover story titled “Planet of the Bored Apes” centers around an interview Gordon Solano and Wylie Aronowtwo of the co-founders of the massively successful Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Bored Ape got started and what’s to come.
Early days: Solano and Aronow met at a bar in Miami and hit it off, arguing over the author David Foster Wallace.
“We are an odd couple. We like to bounce ideas off each other, the duo said.
Arguing about books and movies and playing “World of Warcraft” online helped the duo’s friendship in the early years.
It was Solano, known as Garga to many online and in the NFT community, who got the two friends interested in the cryptocurrency market.
“In 2017, I bought some Ethereum ETH/USDa little bit off Ripple XRP/USD” Garga said, adding that he called Aronow (aka Gordon) after his purchase to encourage him to do the same.
The duo fell in love with the crypto community, especially “crypto Twitter” who liked to “Monkey” into an asset without researching it.
The idea for the Bored Ape Yacht Club came from this community and the interactions on Twitter Inc TWTR.
“Wanted to make a club, a symbol that gave you access to something,” Garga said. “Wanted them to feel like a bit of an outcast.”
Launch of Bored Apes: The Bored Ape Yacht Club pre-sale and coin launched on April 23, 2021, with artwork for the NFTs revealed on April 30, 2021.
The NFT collection of 10,000 Bored Apes sold out on May 1 and caught the attention of several other NFT communities. Popularity on Twitter also helped the project sell out and see strong traction.
The mint price was 0.08 ETH, or around $220 at the time.
“It felt like a success when the collection sold out,” Gordon said.
The duo said many NFT entrepreneurs started projects, took the money and ran. They wanted to show the thesis about what happens when the founders stick around.
“It changed our lives, just for that one day, last May 1,” Garga said. “Worked 14 hours every day since.”
Related Link: Bored Ape Yacht Club: What You Should Know About The Hottest NFT Project Around
Getting Doxxed: The interview comes months after the co-founders were doxxed against their will by BuzzFeed Inc BZFD author Katie Notopoulos.
“The anonymity of the founders raises questions about accountability in the crypto era,” Notopoulos said at the time.
Before you get doxed, interview with Rolling stone and NFT personalities did not come with a video or photo spread like Input’s interview.
The duo learned they were going to be doxxed by Buzzfeed six months ago.
“We were given a 20-minute warning,” Garga said.
The two guys had a conversation together and discussed a strategy to remove personal information from the internet, disable social media accounts and alert their families.
After the story came out, the duo and two other co-founders, who were not identified in the article, shared their photos on Twitter and saw support from the community.
Combat criticism: Along with being doxxed, the duo has been the target of internet trolls and people accusing the Bored Ape Project. This includes conceptual artist Ryder Ripps, which was sued by Yuga Labs for trademark infringement.
Ryder Ripps’ Bored Ape copycat project was removed from Open sea. Along with the compilation launch, Ripps accused Bored Ape Yacht Club of having racist and neo-Nazi symbolism, which the creators deny.
“It’s extremely clear to anyone who knows our history how absurd this is,” Gordon said.
While Ripps’ accusations have been the most public and prominent, Garga said there is online hate every day.
What’s next: The duo said they are working hard to build the metaverse as they believe it should be.
“The biggest thing I think we’re working on right now is Otherside,” Gordon said.
With only 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs, the duo is also looking for ways to bring more people to the NFT and Yuga Labs space. Gordon said the project failed the mommy test, a reference to not being accessible enough to Garga’s mother.
“How do we reduce the friction of owning a token on the internet,” Garga added.
The duo would like to onboard a million more people into the Yuga Labs ecosystem.
Photo: Courtesy of opensea.io