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Apes together strong

Bored apes and the wisdom of crowds
June 4, 2021

It’s hard to focus, Summer Fridays and all that, and there’s a Bitcoin conference happening in Miami right now. But, for cripes sake, here we are again. Meme stock pumping is manic, and AMC’s market cap is worth more than half of the S&P 500 — not even Elon can control it. The rallying cry of r/wallstreetbets? Apes together strong, a line borrowed from the remake of Planet of the Apes (2011).

This isn’t the wisdom of crowds that James Surowiecki promised me. In times past, we combined our knowledge and computing resources to contribute to global—and uniquely human—needs. Distributed computing projects in the early aughts were doe-eyed: Project Genome, which committed using spare CPU cycles mapping the human genome, or the SETI@Home project, which harnessed idle compute time to search for extraterrestrial life. By pooling together our resources we hoped to gain a clearer understanding of who we are as beings and where we belong in the universe. 

That time is long past. Now, cryptocurrency is the primary use case for distributed computing. And crypto is at the center of global scrutiny as ransomware attacks are on the rise. Wanna complain about inflation? The cost of goods as services is measurably higher today due to ransomware attacks on our supply chain. Colonial Pipeline isn’t even the latest, JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, was just attacked and held ransom to the tune of $4.4M. Some governments, like China, will crack down on cryptocurrency as a result. 

And yet, crypto isn’t just about currency. There are unique use cases that are proving that there is value beyond a store of wealth or a new type of fiat. The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 unique NFT artworks. It is also a virtual lounge and nightclub where you can listen and interact on Discord; access to the nightclub is provided by the owner of an NFT through your wallet.

It was a hit at the outset; the ape collection sold out in just 12 hours when it landed on May 1st. The apes originally retailed for 0.08ETH, or $219, at the current market rate. Just two days ago, a rare ape NFT sold for over $128,000USD. That’s a lot of bananas.

They’re launching an apparel brand, are creating a liquidity pool to pay back ape owners, launched a chill music streaming station, and are launching a video game. Linear Commerce 4.0? Maybe. The wisdom of crowds? Definitely. The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet (hat tip to William Gibson), and this project may prove there is a future for a broad consumer application of crypto after all.

If the apes have anything to say about it, the power of our collective computing will cause a devolution, not an evolution. Because, after all, we’re basically just monkeys; and apes together strong.


Goodbye LCD, Hello CRT.Tube TVs are making a major comeback as retro gaming continues to grow in popularity. Hardcore gamers swear the Tube is the only way to get the picture just right, and some are even making them the sacred centerpiece of their living rooms. Looks like Gam-Gam is hella tech-savvy, afterall.

Just to be clear. With mask mandates lifting, some people who are baring their facial bottom halves are feeling the need to explain themselves—mostly to keep from being confused with anti-maskers. Etsy shops are popping up with pins and shirts to help the wearers show why they are going full facial with messages like, “Not a Republican, just vaccinated.”

It’s all about the mindset. Brands have no choice but to be online now. Most businesses think of shipping purely as a cost center, but in this season of Step by Step, we partner with Shippo to help you understand why shipping can be leveraged as a growth engine.

Handmade adds Second Hand. On Wednesday, Etsy announced its purchase of Depop, a social media savvy UK company focused on ethical shopping through buying and selling used clothes. Etsy’s investment, and Depop’s exit, continues to prove the macro trend of recommerce, sending the stocks of ThredUp, Poshmark, and TheRealReal soaring in the process.

McAutomation. McDonald’s is testing out taking drive thru orders via artificial intelligence in Chicago stores and claims it is about 85% accurate… so that’s probably about the same as it is now.

Mental Health is Health. Following Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open to protect her mental health, meditation app Calm is donating $15,000 to a French organization that emphasizes the power sports have to empower young people.

Microbes, Michelangelo, and the Medici. While the world outside fought to eradicate a rapidly spreading virus, a gang of bacteria were secretly and intentionally released inside the Medici Chapel. The bacterial strains were specifically chosen to feast on oils and glue residue to restore Michelangelo’s marble sculptures in a nonhazardous manner. It’s a fascinating article that combines science, art, and history lessons if you’re into that.

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