On Friday, Galaxy Digital reported that over $1.8 billion in royalties has been paid to creators of Ethereum-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Leading the way was Yuga Labs, creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), with over $147 million in payouts.
The latest research insight from the financial services leader in digital assets and blockchain technologies also noted that earnings were dominated by 482 NFT collections taking home over 80% of all royalties, and that the average royalty rate on the largest NFT marketplace OpenSea has increased from 3% to 6%.
Some of the other top royalty-earning creators were Art Blocks ($82 million), OpenSea Storefront Creator ($76.7 million), Chiru Labs ($52 million), Proof Collective ($30.7 million), The Sandbox ($26.1 million), and Doodles ($24.3 million).
The top global legacy brand listed was Nike, with over $91 million in earnings. Other real-world brands that made money off royalties from NFT collections were Adidas, Gucci, McLaren, and Nickelodeon — though their numbers were far below the top Web3 collections.
The report on royalty earnings comes at a curious time in the NFT space, when debate is being had over the best method for collecting NFT royalties. Recently, some marketplaces have made royalties optional or done away with them altogether. However, according to Galaxy Digital, OpenSea still accounts for 80% or more of NFT marketplace volume and its royalty distribution method is the most common framework implemented by most marketplaces.
Yuga Labs Leads the Way in Web3
For folks paying attention to NFT news, it should come as no surprise that Yuga Labs is the top royalty earner thus far in the NFT space. At Rarity Sniper, we’ve written dozens of articles about the creators of Bored Apes this year. Here are three of the biggest stories about Yuga Labs.
Eight months ago, Yuga Labs made news when it announced it had acquired OG NFT collection CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. Six months later, it officially released IP rights to holders of those collections, granting them full and personal rights over their NFTs.
Next, Yuga Labs released a new cryptocurrency called “ApeCoin.” The crypto was airdropped to BAYC and Mutant Ape holders and shortly after became tradable on the open market. The airdrop, which occurred on March 17th, brought tens of thousands of dollars in value to some holders overnight.
Finally, Yuga Labs brought in $300 million through the sale of virtual land NFTs in its “Otherside” metaverse. The demand for its Otherdeeds NFTs was so intense on April 30th that it led to a surge in Ethereum gas fees and temporarily shut down the Web3 website Etherscan.
There have been so many stories about Yuga Labs innovating in Web3 this year that in many ways, the report from Galaxy Digital confirms what we already knew —that Yuga Labs is the Web3 team to beat. In the future, it will be interesting to see what other brands, studios, companies, and creators will rise up to compete in the space.