The Bored Ape Yacht Club art collection is one of the world's most famous NFT projects, and a Chinese collection of non-fungible token cartoon monkeys has been accused of being a copy-cat project.
NFTs are the new digital art phenomenon that's boomed since last year. It enables artists to register their work on a blockchain, and sell it in online marketplaces. It can be confusing, which is why we have a guide to exactly what are NFTs.
The creator of Bored Wukong is less confused about NFTs, and insists that his works are original. Wang Wendong is the artist behind Bored Wukong, and a lecturer at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His NFT collection features colourful bored-looking apes based on the famous character Sun Wukong, or Monkey King, from the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West.
While there are similarities – Bored Wukong features disinterested apes in fancy dress – it's also encouraging to find NFT art taking hold in China. The Chinese state media have warned against the financial risks around NFT trading but artists are still creating and trading.
The likenesses aren't only artistic. Just like Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs the Bored Wukong is making a lot of money. The first Bored Wukong art sold for 99 yuan ($15) last November, the current value is 8,888,888 yuan ($1,397,733) according to Chinese NFT marketplace NFTCN.
In response to accusations of plagiarism Wendong took to the Chinese social media platform WeChat to reveal each of the 390 Bored Wukong is hand-drawn for authenticity.