Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, announced a $450 million funding round on Tuesday, bringing the company’s valuation to $4 billion. The BAYC owners intend to use the funds to expand into the gaming industry and the metaverse.
The long-rumored funding round featured major crypto players, led by a16z, with participation from Animoca Brands, Coinbase and MoonPay. Chris Lyons, general partner at a16z, is joining Yuga Labs' board.
The BAYC creators’ own metaverse project, named Otherside, is intended to connect its massively multiplayer role-playing game into the broader NFT universe. BAYC co-founder Wylie Aronow said that their goal is to create “an interoperable world” that is “gamified” and “completely decentralized,” The Verge reported.
Yuga Labs is reportedly partnering with a number of game studios for Otherside, but in an atypical move by the exclusive club, it won’t be limited to BAYC NFT holders. The company is also planning to create development tools to integrate NFTs outside of its project. ApeCoin, the token tied to the BAYC NFT collection launched last week, will be the currency of the Otherside project.
The move is keeping Yuga Labs in the headlines, announced just weeks after its acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits that cemented Yuga Labs as the owner of the top three biggest NFT collections on the market, and a week after its ApeCoin launch.