One of the many mortals that chose to remain anonymous during the recent Web3 boom was Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) founders. However, their anonymity was short-lived after American media company Buzzfeed revealed the identities of two of the four co-founders of Yuga Labs, the startup behind BAYC.
According to the verified report, the two founders “Gordon Goner” and “Gargamel” are Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, two 30-year olds from Florida with a background in literacy. The journalist Katie Notopoulos, who wrote the piece, uncovered their identities via publicly available documents.
Reasoning the move, Notopoulos argued in the article that “as NFTs continue to expand into popular culture and Web3 goes mainstream, the issue of pseudonymously run companies dealing with real money — and lots of it — is a new economic and legal reality.”
The journalist contended that the reason traditional businesses use their real identities is to prevent terrorists, criminals, or sanctioned nations from doing business in the country. Offering a hypothetical example, Notopoulos noted:
“Solano and Aronow don’t appear to have any particular red flags (apart from Aronow domain name squatting). But what if in a different NFT collective, the founders turn out to have a long criminal history or extreme political leanings that might make collectors regret spending huge sums of money on their products?”
Shortly after getting “doxxed” through the article, the two co-founders posted pictures of themselves on Twitter alongside their Bored Ape personas. The two wrote “Web2 me vs. Web3 me” referring to their real faces and bored ape identities.
Got doxed so why not. Web2 me vs Web3 me. pic.twitter.com/jfmzo5NtrH
— Garga.eth (@CryptoGarga) February 5, 2022
Got doxxed against my will. Oh well.
Web2 me vs. Web3 me pic.twitter.com/uLkpsJ5LvN
— GordonGoner.eth (@GordonGoner) February 5, 2022
Buzzfeed and the author now are facing heat from the Web3 community on grounds of non-consensual exposure of the founders. Several crypto advocates akin the move to that of Russia and China, the countries infamous for their bare minimum privacy laws.
Doxxing people for clicks and ad revenue. Typical Buzzfeed trash. Wonder if I can short Buzzfeed somehow. https://t.co/xDarnhoEqb
— Cobie (@cobie) February 5, 2022
On the other hand, outsiders of the crypto revolution called the article a piece of standard business journalism and noted that the identities were simply revealed via publicly available Yuga Labs’ corporate records.
Theorycels are coping hard, calling this "doxxing", but it's ultimately standard business reporting.
Calling it illegitimate implicitely asserts only certain wealthy, connected people should continue to know the identities behind folks orchestrating billions in transactions. https://t.co/oncgUKPpkJ
— Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera) February 5, 2022
Bored Ape Yacht Club has amassed huge demand in recent months, becoming especially popular amongst celebrities and well-known individuals. Post Malone, Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg, Mark Cuban, are just some of the big names to own a Bored Ape.
Yuga Labs was also reportedly in talks with popular VC firm Andreesson Horowitz about a new funding round that could take the startup’s valuation to $5 billion.