Discover more from Risky Reads
The Internet loves apes.
Apes remind us that, no matter how advanced our technology becomes, we are fundamentally primitive beings with simple needs and profound emotions.
Over the last year, apes have become a unifying symbol for retail investors in the battle against Wall Street.
Now, a cryptocurrency called ApeCoin is vying to become the basis for a new kind of social media.
Will the Internet of the future be powered by ape memes? Let’s find out.
It's an ape universe
Bored Ape Yacht Club is an NFT project built on the Ethereum blockchain. The collection includes 10,000 unique profile pictures featuring variations of a cartoon ape.
Since launching in April 2021, Bored Apes have quickly become a blue chip NFT brand.
Part of the appeal is that ownership of an Ape doubles as membership to an exclusive club that gives access to merch, IRL events, games, and other benefits.
BAYC sales have totaled over a billion dollars in under a year, with a number of celebrities aping in to NFT purchases, including Steph Curry, Justin Bieber, Shaq, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Serena Williams, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Post Malone.
Owners of BAYC NFTs are given exclusive intellectual property rights to their Ape, empowering them to grow the Bored Ape brand without having to ask anyone's permission.
BAYC's parent company is Yuga Labs, an NFT startup based in Miami.
Yuga has been making monster moves as of late, looking to position itself as the world leader in NFTs and blockchain-based community.
Earlier this month, Yuga announced its purchase of the intellectual property rights for CryptoPunks. Punks and Apes are commonly regarded as the two highest-profile projects in the NFT space.
A few days later, Yuga released ApeCoin in one of the splashiest token launches in crypto history.
Owners of Bored Ape NFTs were allocated ApeCoins based on the number of NFTs they held. Some owners chose to keep their tokens, while others sold them on the open market.
ApeCoin will serve as a governance token for ApeDAO. The DAO will act on behalf of the Ape community.
Whether they own an NFT or not, everyone who holds ApeCoin is now part of a giant decentralized corporation with its own internal form of meme money.
The goal of the DAO is to advance the Bored Ape brand. ApeCoin holders can vote on proposals based on how many coins they own.
Finally, last Tuesday, Yuga Labs announced they'd raised $450 million in seed funding at a whopping $4 billion dollar valuation.
The money will go to building a blockchain-based media empire, including a metaverse that is part MMORPG, part social network, with an in-game economy that runs on ApeCoin.
In time, the Yuga metaverse could grow into a prestige social network to challenge Web 2.0 giants like Facebook and Instagram.
When crypto adoption goes mainstream, so will its culture. Bored Apes are on the bleeding edge.
Will the next generation of social media really be built on cartoon monkey memes?
Good to meme with
The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss famously said that "animals are good to think with."
What he meant was that animals can be used as a symbolic shorthand to convey aspects of our shared humanity.
Examples are found everywhere in culture: the domestic dog as an avatar of undying loyalty, the treachery of a snake in the grass, a euphoric stock market as a herd of stampeding bulls or dormant market as a hibernating bear.
From cave paintings to Aesop's fables to pro sports teams, animals are a handy tool for expressing the mystery and drama of the human experience.
In other words, animals make good memes.
Apes occupies a special place in this animalistic lexicon because humans are understood to be their direct descendants: on some level, everyone has an inner ape.
The Internet is captivated with apes. In meme culture, apes act as a talisman for an unsophisticated yet intuitive divine masculine spirit that resides in all of us (both men and women).
There's also something anti-modern about ape memes, an understanding that the contemporary world is designed to drive us crazy, and that we'd all be happier if we lived in harmony with our more primitive instincts.
The Internet's fascination with apes can be traced to the death of Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla who was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a young boy fell into his enclosure.
In a social media ecosphere dominated by the filter-enforced positivity of Facebook and Instagram, Harambe's shooting gave people permission to publicly express genuine sadness on the Internet.
In retrospect, Harambe's death has also come to represent a growing weirdness in world events that seemed to initiate in 2016.
That weirdness escalated steadily throughout the end of the decade before reaching a sort of crescendo in January 2021, when a band of populist-minded retail investors known as the Reddit Apes attempted to bankrupt Wall Street hedge funds by aping into heavily-shorted AMC and GameStop stocks.
The Reddit Apes used a gorilla as their organizing symbol for the recognition that, when it came to investing, underthinking was better than overthinking.
The Apes knew a few things and knew them well: the market is rigged, Wall Street is out to screw the little guy, and the only chance at victory was to buy and hold heavily shorted assets in a mano-a-mano fight to the death with hedge funds.
Because basically anyone could understand this investing strategy, it was conveyed through the companion meme of having a smooth brain.
The idea was that retail was so dumbly entrenched in its buy-and-hold position that no amount of hedge fund psychological manipulation could spook them out of it—all the FUD just slid right off their smooth brains.
In embracing these meme-based investing strategies, the Reddit Apes were borrowing from crypto, where where the term "Ape In" has long been used to affectionately describe the actions of an investor who copies the purchases of others, relying on animal instinct rather than exhaustive research to guide decision-making.
When the Bored Ape Yacht Club creators launched their collection, they drew on this primal lineage.
The entire NFT project can be seen as an attempt to meme into existence a world in which Ape investors grew prosperous and retired to a swanky club in the Everglades.
So far, BAYC has enriched a few early investors, but because the NFTs became so expensive, most retailers have been left to watch the latest stage in the Ape meme's evolution from the sidelines.
That could change with ApeCoin.
The ape economy
Yuga Lab's announcement of ApeCoin is the biggest Ape-themed development in digital finance this year.
Its promise is to democratize access to the BAYC community by allowing anyone who owns ApeCoin to join the tribe.
Yuga's goal is to create a new model of social media in which individual users are paid in ApeCoin to create on the platform.
Blazing the trail of the Ape economy is Snoop Dogg, who released an album with Wiz Khalifa that's only buyable with ApeCoin.
So far, the Yuga metaverse has been met with a healthy skepticism from some in crypto.
Voices have wondered aloud whether the whole thing isn't a scheme to further enrich Bored Ape NFT holders and Venture Capitalists.
Given the big-money backing behind Yuga, it's reasonable to question if it's a corporate attempt to buy the Ape movement.
The project also received a chilly reception from the media, which overemphasized the coin's volatility on its first day of trading.
On the positive side, the ApeCoin launch was one of the most organized in crypto history, with simultaneous listings on most major exchanges.
After the launch, Yuga released an intriguing teaser video for its metaverse platform called Otherside.
Around the same time, a fascinating slide deck leaked describing Yuga's ambition to create "a metaverse that makes all other metaverses obsolete."
In the deck, Yuga notes that Facebook/Meta is "banking trillions" on the idea of immersive virtual experiences, but calls the Zuckerberg metaverse "underwhelming." Facebook has experimented with their own Libra/Diem digital currency as the basis for its metaverse, but killed the project in February.
A huge problem with Facebook is that it incentivizes people to consume instead of create and then sells their data (and attention) to advertisers.
A web3 social network to rival the Meta empire would be a good thing, especially one in which users share in value creation.
Everyone knows a better model of social media is desperately needed.
For now, it remains an open question whether a full-blown digital creator's economy emerges from ApeCoin.
A lot will depend on how the broader public takes to the apes themselves.
No matter what direction the Bored Ape metaverse takes, it's worth keeping an eye on.
The memeing of the apes
Bored Ape Yacht Club has quickly become a premier brand in the NFT space.
It has done so by capitalizing on the power of ape memes, which have become a part of the Internet's native language.
ApeCoin is the latest addition to the ape universe, democratizing membership to one of the most exclusive tribes on the Internet. To join the club, you just have to own the coin.
Yuga Labs has vast ambitions for ApeCoin, with plans to use it as the foundation for a new model of social media.
If it succeeds, the project could usher in a digital creator's economy and change the Internet as we know it.
Will the Internet embrace its inner ape?
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Elon polled Twitter users if the Twitter algorithm should be open source, with 80% of a million voters saying "yes." The following day, he asked if they thought the platform adheres to the principle of free speech, with 70% of 2 million people voting "no." In a follow-up tweet, he said that "The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully," leading to speculation that he might leave the platform or start his own social media company. On Saturday, he asked if a new platform was needed given that Twitter functions as a de facto public town square. He replied to a comment by Mike Cernovich saying that Twitter doesn't support iapply free speech equally across the ideological spectrum, and approved WSB Chairman's idea of buying Twitter and replacing the logo with a Doge. Later, the posted a '100' emoji in response to a comment by Steven Steele about adding a Dogecoin tip jar to Twitter.
A video of a young lady eviscerating the fractional reserve banking system went viral last Monday.
Macro guru Raoul Pal explained his decision to buy a Bored Ape in an article called "The Monkey Network."
Joe Biden took note of the changing global financial system, saying, "we are at an inflection point in the world economy [...] Nows the time when things are shifting. There's going to be a new world order out there."
Vladimir Putin announced that energy payments from "unfriendly countries" will now have to be made in Rubles. In a viral clip, he commented on the erosion of trust in the dollar in the global economy, predicting a move to "real reserves of raw materials" like "land, food, and gold."
The chair of Russia's Duma committee on energy announced that Russia may allow "friendly countries" to pay for oil and gas with Bitcoin. Russia's Prime Minister said now is the time to integrate Bitcoin and crypto into his country's economy. The Ruble gained against the dollar, reaching its highest value since March 1st.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said Russians were using crypto to evade sanctions by converting Rubles into crypto.
A Goldman Sachs analyst noted that potential Saudi-China oil trade in Yuan is a sign of the erosion of the petrodollar.
Service data hints the IRS could be struggling.
Elon said that, so far, Starlink had resisted hacking and jamming attempts. He announced a Cyber Rodeo on April 7th at Giga Texas. On Saturday, Business Insider published a wide-ranging interview on the Ukraine War, the Tesla Bot, population collapse, and other topics. On Sunday, he wrote "tick tock" in response to a tweet about the decline of Hollywood, described TikTok as an "obvious AI attack," and tweeted a call to "Seize the memes of production!"
AMC CEO Adam Aron posted two tweets seemingly aimed at short sellers and "the prophets of doom," suggesting that they would soon be eating crow. In another tweet about AMC's investment in Hycroft Mining, he said he expected "Calm seas, smooth sailing ahead" after the struggling gold and silver mine raised nearly $200 million dollars in cash equity. Later, he said that more meme-stock deals are coming like Hycroft.
GameStop CEO Ryan Cohen purchased 100k shares of his own company, tweeting, "I put my money where my mouth is."
Crypto.com became an official sponsor of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
Exxon is mining Bitcoin with excess gas.
Vice ran a feature on the connection between cryptocurrencies and Seed Oil Disrespect.
SpaceX raised the price of its rocket launches.
The number of Dogecoin nodes on Starlink appears to be increasing.
Bitcoin of America added Dogecoin to their ATMs.
A high-end Manhattan dental firm now accepts Dogecoin.
Is 'Web3' a powerful meme for rebranding crypto in a more positive light?
Thanks for reading! Consider sending a tip or Super Following on Twitter to help keep the newsletter going!
Memes of the Week
It's ALL Risky!
Thank you, kind reader, for reading and subscribing to this newsletter. I really appreciate it!
If you haven’t already, please sign up to this email newsletter for more weekly articles like this one. Also, please share it with a friend or on twitter if you enjoyed this article.
What do you think? Will monkey memes take over social media? Let me know!
Remember, Dogecoin is risky. But then again, it’s all risky!
Follow on twitter at @itsALLrisky
Send an email to itsALLrisky@gmail.com
Send a Doge tip: DJ2zTEdHBD3guHLfVaNBaypr6bHFG5Nwfw
This article was written in collaboration with @CryptoDogDivine, give them a follow!
Don't forget to subscribe to this newsletter!
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. The article above references an opinion for entertainment purposes only and it is not investment advice. Always assume that the author of the article is actively trading and that the opinions expressed may be biased towards the author's holdings. Do your own research and consult with a licensed financial adviser before making any investment decision. Do not treat any opinion expressed in this newsletter as a specific inducement to make a particular investment. Content, news, research, tools, and securities symbols are for educational and illustrative purposes only and do not imply a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell a particular security or cryptocurrency or to engage in any particular investment strategy. The information provided is not warranted as to completeness or accuracy and is subject to change without notice. The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, are not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. All investments involve risk, losses may exceed the principal invested, and the past performance of a security, industry, sector, market, cryptocurrency, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Dogecoin is a speculative and highly volatile asset susceptible to pump-and-dump schemes.
At the time of publication, Dogecoin is around $0.13 per coin.