- Around 20 attendees at NFT event on Saturday reported eye irritation.
- UV-A lights are usually used in tanning salons.
- News of the incident went viral and spurred social media jokes.
Yuga Labs, the studio behind the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, said on Thursday that lights emitting ultraviolet radiation used at its recent ApeFest event in Hong Kong were probably the source of eye pain and skin irritation reported by attendees.
“[Yuga Labs] has determined that UV-A emitting lights installed in one corner of the event was the likely cause of the reported issues related to attendees’ eyes and skin,” the company tweeted.
The event, held on November 4 at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, attracted a crowd of around 2,250 NFT enthusiasts, collectors, and members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
But the celebration was marred by health concerns as attendees began reporting adverse reactions the following day. News of the incident went viral on crypto social media and was covered by traditional media outlets.
Among those affected was a Bored Ape NFT holder known as “Crypto June,” who sought medical attention after experiencing severe eye discomfort.
“Woke up in the middle of the night after ApeFest with so much pain in my eyes that I had to go to the hospital,” Crypto June said on X.
Doctors attributed his symptoms to exposure to ultraviolet, or UV-A, light, according to Crypto June. The finding was echoed by several other attendees who suffered similar symptoms.
Working with Jack Morton Worldwide, the global brand agency that produced ApeFest 2023, Yuga Labs said it reviewed the equipment used at the event, including paint and lighting.
The companies also conducted interviews with contractors who built ApeFest installations and visited the site.
They found UV-A lights, which are typically used in suntanning salons, had been installed in one part of the event.
“Community is the heart of Yuga, and the purpose of ApeFest is to bring the community together in real life. We are saddened that this incident has detracted from the experience of ApeFest attendees,” the company said on X.
The incident spurred some on social media to mock ApeFest and NFT culture. People have made jokes about how the laser beams on some BAYC NFTs are actually pointing into people’s eyes instead of out.
“The good thing about Bored Ape Yacht Club holders getting their eyes burned out at #ApeFest is that they never have to look at a HV-MTL Forge game screenshot or video again,” said another user on X, referring to a game made by Yuga Labs.
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