A quick primer on Mutant Ape Yacht Club

This weekend was a wild one in the NFT space. I cleared my calendar for the entire weekend, and I’m glad I did because while it was a blast, there was also a lot of information to take in and strategic moves to think about. On top of all that, and probably the highlight of it all was celebrating with my fellow apes on what I think we’ll all look back on as a historic weekend in the NFT world.

Over the course of the weekend, friends and family were texting me asking what the heck this “mutant thing” is that they keep hearing about. Unable to explain over text I hopped on the phone with a few people but quickly realized it would be a pretty complex conversation to have, especially if you aren’t already familiar with Bored Ape Yacht Club.

That being said, I did my best and through the process started to develop a bit of a rhythm around how to explain Mutant Ape Yacht Club to people who are still trying to understand the NFT space in general. I personally think that just like crypto was mystifying to people five years ago, five years from now (and probably sooner) NFTs will be a normal asset class in our lives.

So if you, like me, are already struggling to explain to friends and family why you love you ape JPEGs so much, and now have to explain the whole mutant thing, maybe this will make life a bit easier for all of us. With that, let’s dive in and start from the beginning.

To understand Mutant Ape Yacht Club, you’ll need to know the basics of Bored Ape Yacht Club

Bored Ape Yacht Club is an NFT project with 10,000 unique NFTs in it. Each NFT is an ape with a different set of traits, some more rare than the others. Typically, the more rare the trait, the higher the value, but there are also plenty of examples of traits that just look great so end up increasing the value of the NFT more.

Most Bored Ape investors use a site called Rarity.Tools to easily look at rarity traits of their apes and to see how the floor prices for certain traits change over time. The floor price of a trait is simply the lowest priced ape with that trait. Here’s an example of an ape on Rarity.Tools:

If you want to do a deeper dive into traits and rarity, I recommend giving this article a read.

The important takeaway here that we’re going to carry into the next section is that apes have a wide range of traits, some that are more valuable than others. A good example of a rare valuable trait is “Bored Unshaven Pizza” as you’ll see in this beautiful ape below:

Bored Ape Yacht Club Rarity

In the example above you can see that under “Mouth” – “Bored Unshaven Pizza” has a floor of 138.889ETH (that green number above the trait). This means that the lowest priced ape with this trait is 138.889ETH. The number 26 to the right means that 26 apes out of 10,000 have this trait, so you can understand why it’s so valuable, it’s incredibly rare.

If this person were to list their ape for 137ETH, the floor for “Bored Unshaven Pizza” would drop to 137ETH since they would be the new floor. Make sense? Good. This is the data you need to have jammed into your head for mutants to make sense. Now let’s move on.

Mutant Ape Yacht Club Basics

So you know enough about Bored Ape Yacht Club to be dangerous, but last weekend Mutant Ape Yacht Club was announced and now everything confusing again. Well, not as confusing as you might think – just give me two minutes and I’ll explain.

Mutant Ape Yacht Club was a highly anticipated release from Bored Ape Yacht Club and was released this past Saturday. The mechanics behind it were pretty simple at a high level. For every ape in your wallet you would get a Mutant Serum.

There are three different mutants serums but honestly, you really only need to know about two so I’ll focus on those, one is called M1, the other is called M2, they look like this:

Both of these serums mutate your ape by changing the traits, which in turn changes the way the ape looks. The difference between M1 and M2 serums is pretty simple at a high level. M1 creates mutated traits that are expected to be less valuable than M2. Now the dynamics of how all this will play out could change over time and there’s absolutely a real chance that some M1 traits end up selling for more than the same trait in M2 because people like them more.

Around 75% of the serum distributed to apes was M1, 25% M2. The serum was distributed randomly so some people got very lucky, but it’s important to remember, this was a completely free drop so everyone wins, it was a completely free bonus for owning an ape. As you can see above, the serums themselves have real value with M1’s currently selling for 5.5ETH and M2s for 15.8ETH.

That being said, by design the idea is, an ape mutated with M2 gets more valuable version of the traits than an M1 ape. The resulting mutated apes are completely separate NFTs so they can be bought and sold just like a normal ape. Below is an example of an original ape (on the left) with the mutated version on the right:

Ape before and after mutation
(Source – @themintelangelo)

Earlier on I told you I was going to focus on M1 and M2 serums, I’ll just note at the end here there were 8 M3 serums randomly given to apes, those made some seriously valuable apes with only one trait, each one completely unique. These are absolutely insane and worth millions, and in the future, probably tens of millions…

The finer points about Mutant Apes and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club

Okay, so if you’re still reading then you’re really ready to geek out about Mutant Apes and I’ve got a few more nuggets to share with you.

First – the big question on everyone’s mind was – are the resulting Mutant Apes also part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The answer is, yes, but they don’t have the exact same status as the original apes. Here’s the skinny from Bored Ape Yacht Club themselves:

Mutant Ape Mechanics

The second question that people usually ask is, “can you use the serum multiple times on the same ape?” Here’s the scoop. Each serum type can only be used once on an ape. So you can use an M1 on an ape and then an M2 on the same ape. This will generate two new mutant apes, one with all M1 traits, the other with all M2 traits. You cannot however apply an M1 twice or an M2 twice to the same ape.

The Mutant Arcade

One of the my favorite little bonus features of the mutant drop was the Mutant Arcade, a retro game that was pretty darn hard and involved making your way through five levels each with the goal of defeating a giant ape by pelting it with bananas.

The game was available for three days and anyone who beat it got a special NFT proving they did it. Personally, I just kept playing and playing, and playing some more until I got in the groove with each level. It was a blast, I love retro games, and I think the Bored Ape team did an awesome job with this game from the game mechanics to the awesome music that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

If you made it to the end, you saw this awesomely satisfying screen:

Mutant Arcade Victory

Want to do an ever deeper dive into Mutant Apes?

Okay, I’ve covered some solid ground here but nobody can really do this project justice like the Bored Ape Yacht Club team. They put together an awesome explainer on the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, you can read it here.

Thanks for reading and hello to all my new mutant sisters and brothers! 👋

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton