Yuga Labs to release new Bitcoin NFT collection TwelveFold

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In an announcement on Monday, Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs revealed its first-ever Bitcoin NFT collection, TwelveFold, set to release in the coming week.

The collection will host 300 art pieces tied to the Bitcoin blockchain through its latest Ordinals technology. The NFTs come in the form of 12×12 grids to emulate how Bitcoin’s blockchain keeps data. Each grid will feature different artistic elements, from hand-drawn pictures to 3D graphics.

Yuga Labs’ main in-house team created the majority of the artwork. Though Yuga Labs is most famously associated with their Ethereum-based NFTs like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections, the team said the Bitcoin NFT project would have no connection to BAYC and MAYC for the foreseeable future.

The TwelveFold collection is one of the most highly anticipated releases in the Ordinals lineup. Ordinals, a method of inscribing media and artwork to Bitcoin units called Satoshi, was developed after Bitcoin’s blockchain installed the Taproot upgrade in November 2021.

Since then, over 100,000 Bitcoin enthusiasts have inscribed digital media onto the blockchain, ranging from simple media like images or gifs to more complex forms like video games. However, Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano noted that due to the nature of Ordinals technology, the way NFT culture has developed on Bitcoin is vastly different from its Ethereum counterparts.

“The infrastructure and tooling around inscriptions (or NFTs) on Bitcoin is rapidly progressing but is still incredibly nascent. Much of the foundational principles that we look for are here: provenance, self-custody, ownership – but the tooling and structure we’ve become accustomed to with Ethereum NFTs isn’t present,” Solano said.

“We expect this technology and the ecosystem around it to evolve and become more sophisticated over time, however, we don’t expect it to evolve in the same ways other blockchain NFT ecosystems have.”

From Ethereum to Bitcoin

Yuga Labs has been valued at around $4 billion thanks to its popular Ethereum-based NFT collections. BAYC and its spinoff, MAYC, are still some of the top-selling NFT collections in the current market, per data from OpenSea. The company also hosts Meebits and CryptoPunks on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum has been the base for most NFTs in the past half a decade due to the platform’s openness in use. However, Bitcoin’s Ordinal technology has created more avenues for NFT creators to explore. As one of the biggest creators of Ethereum NFTs, Yuga Lab’s Bitcoin experiment comes as somewhat of a surprise for the brand.

“All of these choices are a departure from what’s expected from Yuga. But, you know. Fuck doing expected things,” Solano said.

Notably, its TwelveFold collection is smaller than most large-scale Ethereum-based NFTs, hosting around 300 pieces, compared to Yuga Labs’ usual 10,000 average on other collections.

Regarding size, TwelveFold mimics the Ethereum-based Autoglyphs, a collection with only a little over 500 NFT pieces. Autoglyphs was created by Larva Labs, the company that created CryptoPunks and Meebits before Yuga Labs purchased the rights of ownership to the collections.

TwelveFold’s release also came amid a controversy surrounding Ethereum-based NFT trading platforms. Creators rely on royalties from marketplace sales on the Ethereum blockchain, most popularly held on the OpenSea market. However, OpenSea announced that it would halt royalties to lower costs in a bid to compete with an emerging rival, Blur.