Home / News / Yuga Labs Lawsuit: BAYC Developer Claims Ryder Ripps Destroyed Access to NFTs
3 min read

Yuga Labs Lawsuit: BAYC Developer Claims Ryder Ripps Destroyed Access to NFTs

Last Updated March 14, 2024 2:50 PM
James Morales
Last Updated March 14, 2024 2:50 PM
By James Morales
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Yuga Labs has accused Ryder Ripps of failing to comply with a court injunction.
  • The NFT studio said Ripps intentionally destroyed NFT wallet keys “in bad faith.”
  • However, the artist said he complied with the injunction in full, barring NFTs he claims to have lost access to.

For Yuga Labs, a 2023 court’s ruling that NFTs by artist Ryder Ripps violated its intellectual property rights was an important victory. 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) developer hoped the judgment might help close the door on a copycat NFT collection that closely resembles BAYC. But, in a recent court filing , Yuga accused Ripps of obstructing its efforts to access NFTs in his possession.

Yuga Labs Accuses Ryder Ripps of Intentionally Destroying NFT Keys

In April 2023, a California court determined that Yuga Labs was entitled to monetary damages and injunctive relief from Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, who together created and marketed the “RR/BAYC” collection of NFTs.

The parties disagreed about whether the defendants should burn their NFTs or transfer them to Yuga. However, the latest filing argues Ripps knew an injunction would require him to have access to NFTs in his possession.

Yet, despite knowing that a court injunction was forthcoming, the artist deleted his private keys “in bad faith”, Yuga alleged. 

In February, after compliance with the court injunction was due, “Mr. Ripps revealed for the first time—through counsel—that more than two months earlier […] he allegedly “destroyed” the private keys for wallets containing RR/BAYC NFTs,” court documents state.

Defendants Reject Call for Court Sanctions 

Yuga Labs has now called for Ripps to be found in contempt of court. They also asked for an order for him comply with its demands under penalty of perjury.

In response , the defendants asked that the court reject Yuga’s request for sanctions.

According to a Monday court filing, Ripps complied with the October injunction in full, except for the orders tied to wallets he has lost access to.

Can Yuga Labs Ever Put the RR/BAYC Genie Back in the Bottle?

Yuga’s objection to the RR/BAYC collection isn’t just about its similarity to BAYC. 

The NFTs in question aren’t just bootleg Bored Apes. The project rides on a major threat to Yuga Labs’ reputation: the allegation that BAYC contains racist imagery and Nazi dog whistles. 

While the lawsuit against Ryder Ripps was intended to prevent him from profiting from RR/BAYC collection, it inadvertently amplified the conspiracy theory at the heart of it all.

Today, Yuga Labs has mostly brushed off the allegations against it. But people can still buy and sell RR/BAYC NFTs easily enough on the open market. Indeed, they continue to serve as a testament to the controversy.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No