Yuga Labs’ Otherside metaverse land auction imposes KYC checks

The Otherside metaverse project said it will require Know Your Customer (KYC) verification to take part in this week's virtual land auction, in a break from the more easygoing practices common in the sector. 

Those who wish to bid in the auction of metaverse land NFTs, which is scheduled for 9 pm ET on Saturday, will first need to pass a KYC check, according to a Twitter announcement from Otherside.

Otherside is a metaverse or blockchain-based virtual world from Yuga Labs — the creator of popular NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC). For developing the Otherside metaverse, Yuga raised $450 million in a March seed funding round — led by Andreessen Horowitz — which valued it at $4 billion. 

In its coming weekend auction, Yuga Labs will sell units of land, a term that refers to digital real estate used as NFTs in any metaverse. Per the announcement, land NFTs will be sold in a Dutch-style auction, a bidding war where the asking price starts high and then falls toward a minimum reserve price.

KYC, a process in which personal details of individuals are collected, is an uncommon practice in the unregulated NFT space. Notably, all prior Yuga Labs’ NFTs — Bored Ape, Mutant Ape and Kennel Club NFT collections — did not involve KYC. And unlike its past sales made in the ether cryptocurrency, the coming auction will accept bids in apecoin, a cryptocurrency tied to the Bored Ape NFT ecosystem. 

Another post from Otherside indicated that existing Bored Ape and Mutant Ape NFT holders will be able to claim the land NFTs. While this appears to be an airdrop to Ape NFT holders, the team did not fully clarify the situation.

“BAYC and MAYC holders, you’ll be able to claim an NFT for 21 days after the auction,” a Twitter post read. This specific claim will not need a KYC check. Only those who make bids in the auction will be asked to go through personal verification, the project added.

Update: The Otherside team canceled the auction plan in favor of a fixed price NFT mint.