The makers behind the Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) are no longer a mystery — a BuzzFeed News report reveals them as Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, two men from Florida. Solano is a 32-year-old writer and editor behind the pseudonym Gargamel, while the 35-year-old Aronow goes by Gordon Goner.
After BuzzFeed’s article was posted, the two later responded to the situation with the “Web2 me vs. Web3 me” meme on Twitter, in which you essentially compare a photo of yourself in the real world with an NFT or avatar that’s supposed to represent you in the metaverse. Both Aronow and Solano compare pictures of themselves with Bored Ape NFTs and say they’ve been doxxed.
BuzzFeed says it found Solano and Aronow’s information by searching public business records for Yuga Labs, the company behind the BAYC. It discovered that Yuga Labs had an address affiliated with Solano and then uncovered other public records that connected Solano with Aronow. Nicole Muniz, the CEO of Yuga Labs confirmed to BuzzFeed that Solano and Aronow are, indeed, the cofounders’ true identities.
BuzzFeed even dug up some old information on the web about the two, including Aronow’s “Readers of the Week” interview with the Chicago Tribune and Solano’s critique of various pieces of literature. Interviews with outlets, like Rolling Stone, New Yorker, and CoinDesk, help connect the dots between the duo’s online personas and real-life stories, corroborating what we now know about them. The two met while growing up in Florida and dreamed up the idea of the BYAC in hopes of breaking into the world of cryptocurrency.
In case you’re wondering, Aronow and Solano aren’t the ones who actually drew the, well, very interesting-looking and sometimes fashionable anthropomorphic apes. A 27-year-old who goes by the name Seneca was the lead artist for the original Bored Apes collection and is credited with creating the apes’ base design. There are also two BYAC cofounders who remain unidentified — a couple of programmers who go by the names No Sass and Emperor Tomato Ketchup.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I guess the BYAC identity reveal was all a bit less climactic than I hoped. But considering that the BYAC has sold off millions of dollars worth of ape artwork, is partnering with companies like Adidas, and has had numerous celebrities — including Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon — buy their NFTs, anticlimatic is probably a good thing.