- After two years in New York, the third edition of ApeFest will be held in Hong Kong in November.
- Hong Kong has a vibrant NFT community, but not everyone has welcomed the change.
- Difficulties obtaining tickets have resulted in sign-ups being postponed.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s annual ApeFest conference is set to return in November for its third edition — but with a difference. It’s leaving New York and heading for Hong Kong.
Organised by Yuga Labs, the company behind the BAYC NFT Collection, ApeFest launched in 2021 as a side event of NFT.NYC.
Usually featuring a series of events and parties for holders of BAYC NFTs and other collaborating collections, there were hints on Discord as early as January of plans to move to a new location. For avid NFT collectors and BAYC holders, it’s an important calendar event.
Still, while Hong Kong does have a vibrant NFT community, it’s perhaps not the most obvious candidate for ApeFest. While the city is currently attempting to re-emerge as a crypto hub, the choice came as a surprise to many. And not everyone is happy.
Crypto hub Hong Kong
“Going global” has not been welcomed across the board. On Discord, some holders pointed out that the event had “historically” been held in the US.
“What’s goin on with ApeFest? Why Hong Kong? I mean HK dope, but what’s the rationale?” asked one member, while another suggested that ApeFest 2024 may end up becoming a vegan retreat.
That said, Yuga Labs may actually encounter a more congenial reception in Hong Kong than in New York. Despite companies fleeing the city several years ago, there’s been a recent resurgence of crypto and web3, so ApeFest is expected to be a high-profile event.
And for their part, local BAYC holders are excited the event is coming to Hong Kong. For many, November will mark their first time to experience ApeFest, which has been difficult to attend over the past few years amid travel restrictions.
Greater China accounts for about a quarter of Bored Ape holders, estimates Elite Apes co-founder Jason Au. “Hong Kong is very open [to crypto]. It’s convenient and Hong Kong just announced that it’s gonna be welcoming web3 and welcoming crypto,” he said.
Elite Apes Hong Kong alone has more than 150 members. That may not sound like a lot, but there are only 5,577 unique wallets holding Bored Apes, according to OpenSea. That means the HK club accounts for one in 40 BAYC holders worldwide.
Even with a welcoming atmosphere for NFT brands in many parts of Asia, holders may sometimes feel slighted by US-based collections. For instance, the much-anticipated tickets for ApeFest Hong Kong went live on July 27 at 8am Hong Kong time, which is not ideal for those who need to get to work (but perhaps not as inconvenient as the 2am ticketing time for some in Europe).
“If it’s like a two minute job, that’s fine. But when people are working at nine… It took us two hours. It still did not go through,” Au said.
He wasn’t alone in having difficulties. Reminiscent of the issues obtaining Otherside NFTs during the mint last year, ticketing for ApeFest this week was plagued by technical issues. As a result, the process was shut down and delayed until next week. Not an auspicious beginning, perhaps.
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