Bored Ape’s NFT collection has gained a cult following since its inception in April 2021.
Jakub Porzycki | Nurfoto | fake images
Elon Musk on Wednesday changed his Twitter profile picture to an image featuring various avatars from Bored Ape’s collection of non-fungible tokens, driving up the price of the project’s digital token.
ApeCoin, the token launched by Bored Ape creators Yuga Labs, surged 19% in an hour around 8 a.m. ET to a daily high of $17.64 following Musk’s profile picture change, according to Coinbase data. . It has since cut back on its gains and was last trading at around $15.43.
It’s unclear if Musk actually bought a Bored Ape NFT. The billionaire liked a tweet from Michael Bouhanna, an executive at Sotheby’s auction house, who said the image was “created for our Sotheby’s sale.”
“Happy to send you the original minted file with the buyer’s approval,” Bouhanna wrote in the tweet.
It suggests that Musk simply right-clicked and saved the image to make it his profile picture. Twitter has a dedicated feature that allows users to set their NFT as a hexagonal display image, but Musk’s avatar is just a standard profile image.
NFTs are meant to authenticate ownership of everything from digital art to sports memorabilia on the blockchain. But they have drawn ridicule from skeptics, since it is easy to continue replicating and distributing the associated content online without buying a token.
Musk, who recently struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, appeared to mock NFTs in a follow-up tweet.
“I don’t know… seems a bit expendable,” the Tesla and SpaceX chief posted.
NFTs are designed not to be fungible; in other words, they cannot be exchanged interchangeably.
This is not the first time that Musk’s activity on Twitter has generated uncontrolled movements in asset prices. Numerous tweets from the head of Tesla and SpaceX have caused the price of bitcoin and dogecoin, a “meme” cryptocurrency favored by Musk, to rise or fall dramatically.
Bored Ape’s NFT collection has garnered a cult following since its inception a year ago, with everyone from die-hard cryptocurrency investors to celebrities like Jimmy Fallon snapping up the animated ape icons.
This weekend, Yuga Labs minted a collection of virtual land deeds in an upcoming “metaverse” game called Otherside. Demand for NFTs, known as Otherdeeds, was so high that it clogged the Ethereum blockchain, which underpins the world’s second largest cryptocurrency.
That caused Ethereum’s “gas fees,” the costs needed to approve transactions, to skyrocket. Some users reported having to pay fees in excess of $4,000. Yuga Labs later apologized for the debacle, saying it would refund users’ gas fees for any failed transactions.
“Sorry we turned the lights off on Ethereum for a while,” the company tweeted on Saturday. “It seems very clear that ApeCoin will need to migrate to its own chain to scale properly.”
In another tweet on Sunday, Yuga Labs said it was “still working on gas reimbursement for all Otherdeed minters with failed transactions.”
Despite the brief boost on Wednesday, the ApeCoin token is down roughly 17% in the past week. With a market value of $4.4 billion, it is among the top 40 digital currencies on CoinGecko.