Well, can't say no one saw that one coming. (edit Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic)

Editor’s note 5/31/22 10:30am EDT: News outlets have reported that the “Lonely Ape Club” was conceived as a prank, as was its shutting down over a lack of women members. Hyperallergic has attempted to reach the app’s creators to confirm the veracity of these claims. The article has since been edited to reflect the facts. We sincerely apologize to our readers for publishing this (sadly all-too-believable) story as factual and promise to do better next time.

In what may be the best crypto prank of the year, a group who claimed to create a dating app exclusively for collectors of the increasingly infamous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs said they were forced to shut down earlier this month due to a lack of women members.

“Unfortunately due to the vastly uneven ratio of men to women who signed up for our waitlist, we have decided to put the BAYC dating app on hold indefinitely,” read a May 12 tweet by user @y4kxyz. “Too many bros!”

Conceived by a self-described “ragtag team of hackers and NFT collectors interested in how we can integrate crypto and web 3 with the dating space,” the fake “Lonely Ape Dating Club” would have required users to own a BAYC NFT (non-fungible token) to register for the app — already limiting the dating pool, since there are only 10,000 Bored Apes in total.

Owners of the tokens, which depict anthropomorphic cartoon apes that can be used as social media avatars, become members of the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” and include celebrities such as Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, and Snoop Dogg. The price of entry is around $200,000.

Lonely Ape Club may have been a well-orchestrated hoax, but the crypto and NFT space’s gender problem is all too real. At the end of last year, women artists made only 16% of all NFT art. Twice as many men invest in cryptocurrencies than women, and misogyny in the industry has been reported again and again. The industry is heavily male, young, and White.

After a months-long crash has knocked cryptocurrencies’ valuation down by $1.6 trillion, being explicitly told they do not attract a statistically significant number of women romantic interests was another hit to the crypto “community.”

BAYC tokens, which have sold for more than $1 million, made headlines again last week after one set to star in a TV show was stolen in a phishing scam. Actor Seth Green was planning to have his ape NFT appear alongside him in a new comedy series called White Horse Tavern, but now he’s begging Twitter user @darkwing84 to give it back. It is unknown whether the show will go forward.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.

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