19/02/2024 NFT News: Bored Ape Maker Yuga Labs Buys Up Moonbirds Creator Proof

The hits just keep on coming for Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs. The leading Web3 company has entered into an agreement to fully acquire Proof, the startup behind the popular Moonbirds non-fungible token (NFT) collection.

This gives Yuga control of yet another top-tier NFT brand, further cementing its status as a juggernaut in the digital art and collectibles space.

As part of the acquisition, Yuga will absorb Proof’s team and integrate the 10,000-item Moonbirds collection into its upcoming Otherside metaverse game. Proof CEO Kevin Rose will stick around to assist with the transition over the next few months before settling into an advisory role with Yuga. Further details of the acquisition, including financial terms, were not disclosed.

The deal aligns with Yuga’s stated vision of becoming “the front door of web3” and a hub for artists, creators, communities, and brands in the still-nascent space. Bringing a brand with Moonbirds’ penetration into the fold could be another building block towards achieving that goal.

Moonbirds took the NFT world by storm upon its April 2022 launch, racking up $280 million worth of trading volume within the first 48 hours. But its fortunes cooled alongside the broader crypto market downturn, and then Proof faced backlash from holders over its plan to open-source the artwork. After a rollercoaster year, the brand now gets a new lease on life via integration into Otherside.

Yuga Labs has been on an acquisition spree over the past year, having previously absorbed bluechip NFT collections CryptoPunks and Meebits. The purchase of Proof is its first acquisition of a competitive startup, however.

The deal came together fairly quickly after the two firms opened discussions about a possible collaboration. It soon became clear that a full acquisition made sense, allowing the two brands’ strengths to align.

“We had a meeting of the minds and we said, ‘You know what? Let’s do this, let’s have Proof become a part of the Yuga family,’”
said Yuga CEO Nicole Muniz

Despite Proof’s recent challenges, the Moonbirds collection still commands plenty of cache and a dedicated collector base. Integrating it into Otherside could significantly expand that game world’s appeal. Yuga plans to maintain Proof’s existing efforts like the Proof Collective membership program for collectors, realigning it to promote its artistic endeavors around brands like CryptoPunks.

The acquisition provides a lifeline for Proof, which has endured whiplash over the past year. After its fairy tale start and massive funding rounds, the company faced headwinds from the crypto crash and community backlash. Morale suffered along the way, with employees enduring abuse from unhappy NFT owners.

“Holy shit have the last few months been tough, right?” Proof CEO Kevin Rose admitted in an interview last April. He later said the experience took a toll on his mental and physical health.

Moonbirds now has a chance to thrive under different circumstances. And Yuga believes Proof’s team and artistic talents can significantly contribute to its plans going forward in the Web3 space.

Yuga Labs continues to make game-changing moves that could dictate the direction of the industry.