Bored Ape Yacht Club just dropped an ‘ApeCoin’ token to its NFT holders. Some made tens of thousands of dollars in hours

March 17, 2022, 7:37 PM UTC

ApeCoin, a token linked to the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT project, just hit the market, and for many in the crypto community, the fear of missing out is strong.

ApeCoin was airdropped this morning to BAYC NFT holders with the option to claim for free. After claiming, investors could either sell for a profit or hold. Those without a BAYC NFT could get in on the action by buying ApeCoin upon its launch. 

Some have made a lot of money cashing in. Others, not so much. 

Like with many airdropped tokens, the price of ApeCoin has fluctuated throughout the day: Earlier, ApeCoin was priced at around $10.36, according to CoinGecko. Just a few hours later, it dropped to $6.21. It has since leveled out at around $8, and is currently trading at $7.69. 

Those who sold their airdropped ApeCoin tokens at the top made a killing. Those who bought in at the top are already down on their investment. 

Some just “got lucky”

ApeCoin was released by a collective called ApeCoin DAO, a so-called decentralized autonomous organization. Though the DAO is separate from Yuga Labs, the creator of BAYC, the company did adopt ApeCoin as its “primary token for the BAYC ecosystem, as well as future Yuga products and services,” as Yuga Labs tweeted on Wednesday. Holders of ApeCoin will have governance rights over the DAO and its decision-making, along with other perks.

After the airdrop was announced, “I couldn’t sleep the whole night,” Rahim Mahtab, a BAYC NFT owner, told Fortune.

He read up on analysis predicting how much may come of the airdrop, but he didn’t anticipate the result. 

Mahtab, 29, was able to sell some of his airdropped ApeCoins to make $90,000, he said. With the money, he hopes to buy more NFTs and donate to charity, among other things.

“I couldn’t believe it. My heart was racing and I kept refreshing [the page] thinking, ‘There is no way this is real.’ I am still in shock,” he said. “It is a very huge amount of money to be airdropped for holding and believing in a community and project. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this.”

Mahtab bought his BAYC NFT last year for around $1,700, and “I never imagined that [it] would be valued so much or that I would be airdropped so many tokens worth so much.”

“I got lucky,” he said.

Like Mahtab, Nathan Head was shocked after selling his airdropped ApeCoins. He made about $75,000, he told Fortune.

He plans to invest some of his profit in NFT projects, but will convert most of it to fiat for “real-life things,” he said.

After hearing about the airdrop, Head initially planned to hold and not sell. “However, when I claimed my tokens this morning and checked the price, it was way higher than I ever imagined. I thought it would be best to sell and take some life-changing profits,” Head, 25, said.

If the price of ApeCoin falls, he would buy back in, Head said. He’s super bullish on BAYC after buying his last year for around $4,100.

“I honestly don’t know if I would ever sell my Ape, even though it’s worth more money than I have ever had in fiat,” he said. “It truly feels like being in a very cool club that comes with a lot of very valuable freebies and opportunities.”

“My Ape…has become my identity”

In extreme cases, some “whales,” or those who own a substantial amount of cryptocurrency or NFTs, earned millions of dollars after selling their ApeCoins. Other winners used bots to buy up BAYC NFTs once the airdrop was announced, with plans to sell earned ApeCoins at peak prices. 

Then there are folks who are “staking” their ApeCoins, or depositing the tokens in a decentralized finance platform, to earn interest or rewards—like Franklin, an owner of 39 BAYC NFTs who requested to be identified by only his first name.

Franklin earned tens of thousands of dollars today “staking” his ApeCoins on popular decentralized exchange Uniswap, he told Fortune. It’s “very risky, but I am confident in the NFT and crypto ecosystem, at least for today.”

One of the primary criticisms of the drop was that it helped only the rich, as BAYC NFTs now cost six figures to buy. But many within the community disagree with that assertion, as some bought in early when prices were significantly lower. 

Nonetheless, many non-BAYC owners who bought ApeCoin on the hype were not as lucky.

“The $APE tokens this address spent $279k on are currently worth $13,200,” a CoinDesk reporter pointed out on Twitter this morning. “Over 90% loss in 45 minutes.”

But this kind of volatility isn’t abnormal for airdropped token prices or for the space in general. And if investors hold, it’s possible that they’ll ultimately profit. Obviously, those invested are super bullish on BAYC and its token specifically.

“My Ape has almost become my identity in this space. I have a strong attachment to it. I believe in what Yuga Labs is building and pioneering,” Mahtab said. So, what the “token provides interests me so much.”

Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.