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Web3 Watch: Yuga Labs’ tumultuous week

Yuga Labs, the company managing the two most valuable NFT collections by floor price, has had a strange last handful of days. 

On the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 16, Yuga Labs announced it had acquired PROOF, the NFT shop known for its Moonbirds profile picture collection. A few days later, Yuga Labs made its second CEO change in under a year , installing co-founder Greg Solano at the helm. 

The same day, Yuga gave a long-awaited progress update on its Otherside metaverse platform. Some complained about the “poor communication” strategy shown in the Otherside announcement, prompting the newly-minted CEO Solano to write “We will be better” on X. 

Yuga Labs developed the Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT collection which became notable amid the speculative NFT frenzy of 2021. The company acquired fellow blue-chip collection CryptoPunks in 2022. 

Recently, the company has struggled to maintain its heralded status — feisty rival Pudgy Penguins has nearly surpassed Bored Apes ’ price floor, a term for the cheapest NFT on offer from a given collection.

Read more: Pudgy Penguins approach Bored Ape floor prices, buoyed by CEO’s expansive approach

And Yuga has garnered some negative press, from layoffs to a bizarre episode involving eye and skin injuries at a Yuga-led conference. 

In a post announcing his role as CEO, Solano said his goal was to “unshackle” the team working on Bored Apes by letting it operate autonomously from Yuga. He also stressed its Otherside metaverse as a “massive swing for the fences” that could be a “living room of Web3.”

In the post explaining the strategy for Otherside, general manager Eric Reid promised the platform’s developers would be iterating quickly and in public.

He also wrote that Yuga wouldn’t be building a “competitive MMO [massive multiplayer online game] that takes many years, many tens of millions of dollars, and has enormous risks.”

This caused some backlash, causing Reid to clarify in an update: “We’re not scaling back what Otherside can be…we’re expanding.”

Pudgy Penguins continues to grow

Pudgy Penguins made two additions to its burgeoning intellectual property brand this week. 

It said on Tuesday its Pudgy toys would be hitting shelves in an additional 1,100 Walmart stores, on top of the 2,000 originally announced in September. Then at NFT Paris, Pudgy and Unstoppable Domains unveiled the creation of a .pudgy top-level domain . 

The moves are part of a broader Pudgy Penguins scheme to rethink its NFT collection as an intellectual property brand. 

“We do have toys, but we’re not a toy company. We will have a game, but we’re not a game company. You know, those are distribution mechanisms for the brand and the ultimate vision is: How can you make this the most popular penguin in the world?” Pudgy Penguins president Lorenzo Melendez told Blockworks in an interview. 

One interesting stat:

In one sale, 10 Autoglyphs, a generative NFT collection made by the creators of CryptoPunks, sold for a total of $14.5 million this week.

Also of note:

The Arbitrum Foundation is teaming up with DPOP Studios to produce a feature-length film about digital culture called NEW HERE.

The soccer club Paris Saint-Germain became a validator on the fan token-focused Chiliz Chain and pledged to use rewards to buy back its fan tokens. 

Sports Illustrated Tickets moved its ticketing service to Avalanche . Ava Labs, the company behind Avalanche, also became an investor in SI Tickets.

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