Yuga Labs co-founder's wild $1.5 million NFT spending spree starts with rare CryptoPunk

Quick Take

  • Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow, aka Gordon Goner, has spent more than $1.5 million on NFTs from marquee collections like CryptoPunks, Doodles and the artist Beeple.
  • Aronow’s spending spree, which a couple days ago he teased on X, comes amid a small rebound in NFT trading volumes in the month of October. 

It looks like Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow has taken it upon himself to try and resuscitate the ailing NFT market. 

After taking to X on Monday to tease his intentions of buying NFTs that aren't part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection created by Yuga Labs, Aronow, aka Gordon Goner, has gone on perhaps one of the wildest non-fungible token spending sprees since the last bull run. After starting off with the purchase of a rare CryptoPunk on Monday for 600 ether ($1.14 million), Aronow has spent more than $1.5 million in total, according to The Block Research data.

More than a dozen new tokens bought, Aronow has spread the love around, buying from well-known collections outside the Yuga Labs universe, including NFTs from Doodles, Meebits, Pudgy Penguins and famous digital artist Beeple.

"Going to grab some non-BAYC NFTs this week. Don't freak out. I'm still ape papi and I love you very much," Aronow posted to his more than 155,000 followers on Monday. "In all seriousness, I had always wanted to join more communities across the web3 space but felt I had a responsibility to restrict myself from doing so while still working at Yuga," he then posted on Wednesday.

While Aronow co-founded Yuga Labs, easily the highest-profile creator of NFTs, he took a leave of absence earlier this year, citing health problems. 

'More momentum'


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"Yuga Labs founder goes on a buying spree of popular NFT collections to add more momentum, volume and traders to the market, similar to what celebrities and big figures used to do when NFTs were at their peak to induce FOMO," said The Block Research Analyst Brad Kay. "It's definitely out of the ordinary. Not everyday someone buys $1.5 million worth of NFTs across many collections."

Aronow's aggressive buying follows the NFTs market's best month in a while. In October, NFT volumes rose by more than 20%, according to The Block Research data. But the sector continues to wrestle with a downturn that has forced both Yuga Labs and the marketplace giant OpenSea to lay off staff.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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