ApeFest host confirms 15 people suffered eye pain and vision issues after Bored Ape NFT event

At least 15 guests who attended a Bored Ape NFT event have reported suffering pain and burning in their eyes, which some of them are blaming on the fest’s bright lighting. 

Yuga Labs, the blockchain company that hosted the “ApeFest” event in Hong Kong, confirmed that several guests have complained of eye discomfort and vision problems following the celebration of the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s non-fungible tokens collection (aka NFTs) over the weekend. 

“We suggest that anyone experiencing symptoms seek medical attention, a Yuga Labs spokesperson told MarketWatch on Tuesday. “Right now, we are continuing investigating alongside our ApeFest vendors and contractors to identify the potential source(s) of these issues. At this point we’re looking into fluorescent paint in one of our setup areas, and most definitely looking at UV light.”

Yuga Labs added that it’s launched an investigation to find the root cause, adding that a relatively small number of guests were affected. “Based on our estimates, the 15 people we’ve been in direct communication with so far represent less than 1% of the approximately 2,250 event attendees and staff at our Saturday night event,” they said. “We are not in a position to confirm the cause or speculate on how we’ll avoid it in the future, until the investigation is complete.” 

ApeFest advertised hosting “chill hangs” and “meetups and mayhem” on its website. The event gave special discounts to Bored Ape owners, and featured live music and screens showcasing several Bored Ape NFTs.

But afterward, several people who claimed to have attended the event posted on X, formerly Twitter, to vent about their eye issues.

“I woke up at 04:00 and couldn’t see anymore,” tweeted @CryptoJune777. “Had so much pain and my whole skin is burned. Needed to go to the hospital.”

Another user claimed to have spent more than six hours and roughly $380 at an eye center to treat their pain, which medical professionals diagnosed as photokeratitis, a condition that occurs when eyes are exposed to an abundance of ultraviolet light, according to the College of Optometrists, a medical body that provides guidance for optometry. 

Photokeratitis symptoms will typically go away on their own and there is usually no permanent damage, the optometry group’s website explains.

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The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection includes 10,000 digital art pieces. The project launched in 2021 during the height of the NFT craze, and scored major purchases from celebrities including Justin Beiber, Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Fallon.

But since then, prices for the Bored Apes digital collectibles have plummeted. The floor price of Bored Apes NFTS dropped below 28 ETH, or about $53,000 on several occasions in the past few months, according to data analytics platform CoinGecko.

That’s well below when the Bored Ape project topped at a floor price of 153.7 ETH, or about $430,000, in April 2022, per CoinGecko.

Sara Gherghelas, a blockchain analyst at DappRadar, told MarketWatch’s Anushree Dave in July that part of the reason that the Bored Ape project, and the NFT market in general, has dried up recently is due to broader market conditions, a so-called crypto winter, as well as an overall decline in enthusiasm for digital art.

From the archives (2022): Opinion: Don’t dismiss Bored Apes — NFTs could turn out to be a practical platform for sales and smart contracts

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