Two pseudonymous founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club revealed
Two founders of the hugely popular NFT project, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) have had their real identities revealed in an article by Buzzfeed.
The founders, known by their online monikers as “Gordon Goner” and “Gargamel”, were revealed to be 32-year-old Greg Solano, and 35-year-old Wylie Aronow in an article by Katie Notopoulos, the senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News.
In the article, Notopoulos wrote that Buzzfeed searched publicly available business records to find the identities of Solano and Aronow, and that, according to those records, Yuga Labs, the parent company of BAYC, had an address associated with Solano.
Notopoulos explains that “other records” linked Solano to Aronow, and stated the CEO of Yuga Labs, Nicole Muniz, confirmed to Buzzfeed the identities of both men.
In response to the news, Solano and Aronow both posted to Twitter with images of themselves besides their BAYC NFTs, making the claim that they got “doxxed”, and contrasted the Web2 and Web3 versions of themselves.
Reaction to the article was mixed. Multiple crypto influencers criticised Buzzfeed revealing the identities, with many echoing the claim of “doxxing”, a slang term for when personal, or otherwise private information is published on the internet.
Popular cryptocurrency investor and co-host of the UpOnly crypto podcast, Cobie, tweeted to his over 630,000 followers his thoughts on the article, saying the piece was made for “clicks and ad revenue”.
Adam Hollander, BAYC owner, former Director of Gamification at Microsoft, and creator of an NFT project called “Hungry Wolves” told his 23,000 followers on Twitter that revealing the identities of the BAYC founders was “downright dangerous”.
Others stated that the reveal was in the public interest, citing that because the BAYC has such a large valuation, it places it on par with major corporations, the owners of which are required to be publicly disclosed.
Jeff Bercovici, Deputy business editor at the Los Angeles Times, stated his thoughts in a Twitter thread, saying that the BAYC will soon be valued at US$5 billion, and that alone makes their identities in the public interest and newsworthy.
There’s also the question on whether reporting on publicly available information is genuinely doxxing at all, even if it requires some sleuthing work to get to. Revealing a person’s name and public background – and that is all the Buzzfeed article does – is not really comparable to actual doxxing, which generally involves addresses, bank account details, and potentially even passports and social security numbers.
CryptoVista requested comment from Notopoulos, but did not hear back at time of writing.