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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 around Gordon Solano and Wylie Aronowtwo of the massively successful co-founders Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Bored Ape was made and what lies ahead.

First days: Solano and Aronow met at a bar in Miami and hit it off, arguing over the author David Foster Wallace.

“We are a strange couple. We like to beat each other’s ideas,” the duo said.

Arguing over books and movies and playing “World of Warcraft” online helped the duo’s friendship during 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 of Ripple XRP/USDsaid Garga, adding that he called Aronow (also known as Gordon) after his purchase to encourage him to do the same.

The duo fell in love with the crypto community, especially the “crypto Twitter” who liked to “sing” into an asset without researching it.

The idea for Bored Ape Yacht Club came from this community and the interactions on Twitter Inc. TWTR.

“I wanted to create a club, a token that gave you access to something,” Garga said. “I wanted them to feel like outcasts.”

Launch Bored Apes: Presale and mint for Bored Ape Yacht Club launched on April 23, 2021, with artwork for 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 and see strong traction.

The mint price was 0.08 ETH, which was around $220 at the time.

“It felt like a hit when the collection was sold out,” Gordon said.

The duo said that many NFT founders started projects, took the money and ran. They wanted to show the thesis of what happens when the Founders stick around.

“It changed our lives, just on this day, May Day last year,” Garga said. “Working 14 hours a day ever since.”

Related Link: Bored Ape Yacht Club: What to Know About the Hottest NFT Project

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 its founders raises questions about accountability in the age of crypto,” Notopoulos said at the time.

Before being doxed, interviews with rolling stone and the NFT personalities didn’t come with a video or photo like Input’s interview.

The duo learned they were going to get doxxed by Buzzfeed six months ago.

“We received a 20-minute warning,” Garga said.

The two guys hopped on a call together and discussed a strategy of deleting personal information from the internet, deactivating social media accounts and notifying their families.

After the story broke, the duo and two other co-founders, who weren’t revealed in the article, shared their photos on Twitter and saw the support from the community.

Fighting criticism: Along with being doxxed, the duo have been targeted by internet trolls and people blaming the Bored Ape Project. This includes the concept artist Ryder Ripps, which was sued by Yuga Labs for trademark infringement.

Bored Ape copy project by Ryder Ripps has been delisted OpenSea. Along with the collection’s launch, Ripps accused Bored Ape Yacht Club of having racist and neo-Nazi symbolism, which the designers deny.

“It’s extremely obvious to anyone who knows our story how absurd this is,” Gordon said.

While Ripps’ accusations have been the most public and prominent, Garga said there is hate online every day.

And after: The duo said they are working hard to build the metaverse as it should.

“The biggest thing I think we’re working on right now is Otherside,” Gordon said.

With only 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs in existence, the duo is also looking for ways to bring more people into the NFT and Yuga Labs space. Gordon said the project failed the mother test, a reference to it not being accessible enough to Garga’s mother.

“How can we reduce the friction of owning a token on the internet,” Garga added.

The duo would like to integrate a million more people into the Yuga Labs ecosystem.

Photo: Courtesy of opensea.io

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