The recently concluded Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) ApeFest in Hong Kong resulted in multiple attendees reporting serious eye injuries, according to posts on social media.
Anyone else’s eyes burning from last night? Woke up at 3am with extreme pain and ended up in the ER.
I saw a couple reports but just trying to figure out if there was a common thread.
— FΞLD | mrbayc.eth (@Feld4014) November 5, 2023
The three-day event, organized by major NFT creator Yuga Labs, was intended to be an “epic, unhinged family reunion” for BAYC enthusiasts. However, many complained on Twitter of issues like eye burns, vision loss, and severe pain after attending.
- Attendees of the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s ApeFest event in Hong Kong reported eye injuries like burned skin, vision loss, and severe eye pain.
- The injuries are speculated to be caused by overly powerful UV lighting used at the 3-day event. The symptoms are similar to photokeratitis or “welder’s eye.”
- Yuga Labs, the creator of BAYC, acknowledged the issues and estimated less than 1% of attendees were affected. They encouraged anyone with symptoms to seek medical help.
- Some attendees reported their symptoms started subsiding. One was diagnosed with photokeratitis but luckily had no serious cornea damage.
- The NFT market overall has crashed from its pandemic peak. NFT creators and traders are also debating appropriate royalty payment levels.
- The ApeFest injuries cast further doubt on the future of high-profile NFT projects like BAYC as the market declines. Yuga Labs faces criticism for not better protecting attendees from UV lighting dangers.
The symptoms resemble photokeratitis, also known as “welder’s eye,” which is typically caused by unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation. While the exact cause remains unconfirmed, many speculate the injuries resulted from excessively powerful UV lighting used at ApeFest venues.
In response, Yuga Labs acknowledged the issues and estimated less than 1% of attendees were impacted. They advised seeking medical attention for persistent symptoms. Some attendees reported improvement in their condition in the days after the event.
Apes, we are aware of the eye-related issues that affected some of the attendees of ApeFest and have been proactively reaching out to individuals since yesterday to try and find the potential root causes. Based on our estimates, we believe that much less than 1% of those…
— Bored Ape Yacht Club (@BoredApeYC) November 6, 2023
This incident is not a good look at a time when NFT projects are struggling, It also raises questions about Yuga Labs’ responsibility to better protect attendees from potential health hazards at their events.
The NFT community is already grappling with plunging sales and disputes over royalties. The apparent lack of caution by a leading creator like Yuga Labs compounds existing doubts about the long-term viability of hyped-up NFT releases.
While the injuries aren’t life-threatening or pemanent, they represent a serious public relations issue for BAYC. Time will tell whether this damage to confidence from ApeFest health concerns is temporary or more lasting.