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Why 137-Year-Old Brand Bicycle is Making Bored Ape NFT Playing Cards

18 Oct, 20224 min readNFT
Why 137-Year-Old Brand Bicycle is Making Bored Ape NFT Playing Cards

In brief

  • Playing card brand Bicycle bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for nearly $187,000.
  • The brand will sell decks of playing cards based on the Ape, and may create further decks in collaboration with Bored Ape owners.
  • The Bored Ape Yacht Club has attracted an array of celebrity and brand owners over the last year and a half. Some use the NFT artwork as a status symbol, while others tap the IP to create and sell their own products. The latest such brand to claim ownership is a unique one indeed: a physical playing card brand established in the 1880s.

    Bicycle Playing Cards, the long-running brand now under parent company Cartamundi, announced today that it purchased a Bored Ape NFT and that it plans to create and sell physical playing cards using the artwork. The brand also aims to work with other Ape owners to potentially create additional NFT-themed decks.

    “It's communities like the Bored Ape Yacht Club that are shaping the future of the internet and the future of Web3,” Cartamundi Global VP of Brand Commercialization Masha Ievseieva told Decrypt. “The holders that are part of the community, they are pioneering and are the most innovative in the space.”

    As with many other Bored Ape-themed products, Bicycle’s upcoming playing cards are not the result of an official licensing agreement with the NFT brand or its creator, Yuga Labs. Instead, holders of the Ethereum NFTs are automatically granted permissive rights to create derivative artwork and products and even sell them to the public.

    Bored Ape holders have used their owned artwork to create things like fast food restaurants, virtual bands, alcohol and marijuana packaging, toys, apparel, and more. Rappers Snoop Dogg and Eminem even used their artwork to create 3D avatars that performed their collaborative song at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.

    Bicycle purchased Bored Ape #1227 in June for just over 103 ETH, or nearly $187,000 worth at the time. Crypto payments firm Moonpay apparently facilitated the purchase, based on public blockchain data, as it has for celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Post Malone.

    An NFT is a blockchain token that works like a proof of ownership for an item, including digital goods like artwork, profile pictures, and video game items. The Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most valuable and successful projects in the NFT space, generating almost $2.5 billion in trading volume to date from its original collection.

    Bicycle isn’t the first notable brand to buy a Bored Ape—Arizona Iced Tea purchased one in 2021, but ran afoul of Yuga Labs’ licensing restrictions. Meanwhile, brands like Budweiser and Visa have purchased valuable NFTs from other notable projects.

    Ievseieva said that Bicycle specifically chose an Ape with a joker playing card in a helmet, one of just 2% of the 10,000 total Ethereum NFTs that have that attribute. It also has a futuristic-looking visor, which she said makes the character look like a “metaverse explorer,” nodding towards the brand’s ongoing ambitions in the Web3 space.

    Bicycle plans to release a physical deck of playing cards next year featuring its Bored Ape artwork not only on the packaging, but on the individual cards as well. Ievseieva said that it’s planned to be released widely to the public, but that the brand may also release exclusive decks for holders as well.

    Furthermore, Bicycle intends to engage with the community of Bored Ape holders in the weeks ahead and seek potential collaborators, whose owned Apes could also be used for additional decks of cards down the line.

    This isn’t Bicycle’s first step into Web3. Late last year, the brand released its own collection of Ethereum NFTs in which artists imagined what playing cards would look like in the future. The NFTs also enabled holders to receive a limited-edition deck of physical cards. Ievseieva described the moves as a way to bring the legacy brand and its fans into Web3.

    “It's actually a natural progression of the brand, because what we want to do is bridge tradition with innovation,” she told Decrypt. “NFTs are becoming part of our daily lives, and we want to make sure that we bring our community into this future.”

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