At times, it can be hard to keep track of all the bizarre places NFTs have popped up. We’ve seen a bird-brained scheme to tokenize and destroy a Basquiat painting without the permission of his estate, a Chadwick Boseman death mask for Oscar ceremony attendees, a tungsten kaaba that can only be visited and touched once a year, a McRib NFT, Pepsi NFTs, and so much more.
Now people have moved on to the next logical step: tattooing images of NFTs on their bodies.
There are many examples of NFT tattoos on Twitter. Prominent NFT collector fvckrender posted that they’d gotten a tattoo of an NFT they created titled “fren #69” that is just a Pepe frog’s flaccid penis on their thigh, for example:
A lot of NFT tattoos stem from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the collection of 10,000 algorithmically-generated apes that also double as tickets to an online social club. Since its creation this summer, the club’s NFTs have skyrocketed in value as celebrities and influencers have driven interest and money into the space. Originally sold for .08 ETH (just shy of $200), the images now sell for a minimum of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with “rare” permutations selling for prices north of $1 million.
It’s not too much of a surprise then that the speculative frenzy has spawned a community of fanatics who are willing to ink a dedication of sorts on their bodies, even as NFTs draw hate from gamers and Bitcoiners alike, and monthly volumes on popular marketplace OpenSea continue to trend downward from their summer peak.
“The ape made me realize I didn’t have to break my back for other peoples company’s when they wouldn’t break their back for me if that makes sense. I was always very loyal to the company I had worked for for over a decade and I didn’t focus on my passions / do things that made me happy,” one Twitter user named JOSO, who posted that they have a tattoo of the Bored Ape Yacht Club logo, told Motherboard. “I’m still working that job but working really hard to make Web 3.0 my full time role. The community aspect of The Bored Ape Yacht Club was also something I was really attracted to and knew that I wanted to be part of the community for life. That’s why I got the tat.”
JOSO owns quite a few ape NFTs, including one particular ape they received offers north of 48.4 ETH ($183,400) for but have listed for a slightly higher 420.69 ETH (nearly $1.6 million)—it’s that NFT they celebrated when he got the tattoo in late August. They’ve also got another for his own NFT Project—The One-Eyed Smiley (TOES). "The Toes NFT I got because it was my first NFT project and the symbol itself is a special symbol to me that reminds me that even in hard times I can put a smile on my face."
Another member of the Bored Ape Yacht Club who goes by “holderofbags.eth” echoed similar sentiments to Motherboard, saying that they were “having a lot of fun and met a lot of friends through the group” so after promising to get a tattoo when NFTs hit a floor price of 1 ETH, they got their first shortly after: the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s logo of an ape skull.
“Yeah I have over 600 NFTs,” they went on to tell Motherboard. “Things that are being built and ideas that are being created will shift society as we know it and NFTs are in the thick of a lot of it (I.e. the metaverse).”
Others haven’t taken that final step but are excited enough about NFTs—specifically the Bored Ape Yacht Club—to take the plunge… soon.
"I'm terrified of needles," explained early Bored Ape Yacht Club member FriesFrame. "I've long said that I wouldn't get a tattoo because I didn't know what I would want on my body for the rest of my life but I can finally say I wouldn't mind having an ape tattooed on me because the project changed my life."
FriesFrame claims they were one of the first 250 investors to mint Bored Ape NFTs, minting 26 and selling a good share of them—enough that they were able to get their partner and themselves out of financial debt and prepare for their coming twins. "Normally I've very opposed to rocking a 'brand' or even wear shirts with the company's logo on it—but BAYC is weirdly something I've been stoked to be involved with ever since their launch."
A growing number of indicators suggest the NFT mania is highly concentrated, cooling off, and the bubble is getting ready to burst. Still, that won’t immediately stop corporations getting into blockchain collectibles, “play-to-earn” gaming, and a growing expanded universe of NFT-related music and shows. Nor will it stop many retail NFT investors from playing in the casino until the lights go off—or at least until they ink themselves with a permanent reminder.