Solana Monkey Business (SMB) is one of the most valuable and prominent Solana NFT collections, and the project has been steadily supported by MonkeDAO—an independent collective of SMB holders. And today, the DAO announced that following disputes with the creators and the collection’s most recent owner, it has officially acquired the IP to the project.
MonkeDAO purchased the SMB IP and all related keys, assets, and accounts from Solana NFT exchange Hadeswap for $2 million in a deal that was authorized by a HadesDAO governance proposal approved by nearly 97% of token-based votes.
“I think it’s a great resolution for the community to be able to showcase ownership and responsibility for the leadership of a project,” pseudonymous MonkeDAO CEO and co-founder Nom told Decrypt.
In social media posts, MonkeDAO—a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), or an exclusive online community with token-based membership—framed the occasion as its “independence day,” referencing a long road to finally owning the IP that members had built a collective around.
Solana Monkey Business was one of the first notable NFT projects on Solana, launching in June 2021 with a small Gen1 collection before dropping the 5,000 pixel profile pictures that have come to define the project.
According to CryptoSlam, the Gen2 collection has yielded some $164 million worth of trading volume to date. Secondary market prices start at just over 200 SOL, or about $4,375, per data from Magic Eden.
MonkeDAO took shape soon after the Gen2 launch, with members forming a community around the NFTs and pursuing collective measures like in-person events, a DAO-managed Solana network validator, and even investments in startups.
But a dispute grew between the DAO and the original pseudonymous creators of SMB, with MonkeDAO requesting a share of secondary market royalties to fund initiatives that it believed had given the project additional value. MonkeDAO said that the creators had promised a certain amount of funding, but only delivered a fraction of that.
In early 2022, MonkeDAO members considered “wrapping” their SMB NFTs as new tokens to direct royalties away from the creators and send those funds to the DAO treasury instead. Ultimately, however, the two sides came to an agreement over funding.
In February of this year, Hadeswap announced that it had successfully purchased the SMB IP from the original creators, with plans to expand the IP and “[bridge] the gap on its shortcomings.” It’s unclear how much Hadeswap paid for the IP.
Nom told Decrypt at the time that MonkeDAO had also been in the process of trying to buy the IP. MonkeDAO and Hadeswap appeared to be uneasy allies following the surprise deal, with DAO members pushing back against Hadeswap’s planned governance model.
“Hadeswap had plans around governance via the HadesDAO, which ultimately didn’t line up with the governance incentives people were expecting via previous voting tied to ownership of the actual SMB NFT,” Nom told Decrypt.
In a recent Twitter thread, pseudonymous NFT whale SOL Big Brain said that he provided a $1 million bridge loan to MonkeDAO to initiate the agreed-upon purchase process with Hadeswap. Big Brain wrote that pseudonymous Hadeswap founder HGE did not want a dispute with MonkeDAO to “drag on for months,” and opted instead to sell to the collective.
“For the broad future, SMB and MonkeDAO represent the best community of builders, founders, devs, and degenerates in the Solana ecosystem,” Nom said. “We are dedicated to pushing not only better experiences and opportunities to our members, but also to expand what it means to be a part of MonkeDAO.”