The Ethereum-based native currency of the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem launched in March 2022. The coin is officially governed by the ApeCoin DAO, which is made up of ApeCoin holders.
The ApeCoin DAO is not entirely decentralized and has different roles within its organizational structure that have been put in place to ensure a smooth governance process. According to the ApeCoin website, the Ape Foundation facilitates the governance process of the ApeCoin DAO and is "responsible for day-to-day administration, bookkeeping, project management and other tasks."
The Ape Foundation is overseen by a Special Council, whose purpose is to "administer DAO proposals and serve the vision of the community," though what that specifically entails is not laid out. DAO members vote annually on special council members, which at present include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Animoca Brands chairman Yat Siu and three other prominent Bored Ape personalities. Several roles, including Special Council members and governance stewards, were planned to be voted on and filled later this month.
But last week, Twitter users began to question the DAO's leadership compensation after Vulkan, who serves as the ApeCoin secretary, posted an organizational chart of the ApeCoin DAO leadership system. Notably, the tweet also listed monthly salaries for each of the roles, which include: $7,000 for the secretary, $8,000 for governance facilitators, $9,000 for working group stewards, $20,833 for Special Council members and $75,000 for WebSlinger, a Cayman Islands administrator for the Ape Foundation that handles legal and compliance matters.
Users specifically raised concerns about the six-figure annual payments awarded to Special Council members.
"Nothing of any noticeable value is being created," tweeted NFT tech co-founder and Twitter personality Mando. "The responsibility for $APE success is purely down to Yuga Labs." Many people agreed with Mando in the replies.
Another user claimed that they were paid significantly less for their role "with similar responsibilities" at another DAO.
Meanwhile, some users jumped to defend the salaries as fair compensation, with one calling the payments "relatively mid-range for high-end roles in tech," and another laying out an explanatory thread around why it was not "charity work."
Yat Siu tweeted in response to the pushback, highlighting the ways that he and other Special Council members work for the ApeCoin community. In one tweet, he said the compensation aimed to be "commensurate to the responsibility and liability of the role and the closest example we found at the time was that of public company directors."
Still, not everyone was convinced. On Monday, one ApeCoin holder brought forward a discussion proposing a re-evaluation of the Special Council salaries structure, suggesting a 50% cut. Another proposed a "competency check" and called on only those who "spent time contributing within the DAO" to be considered for leadership positions.
Representatives for ApeCoin did not immediately respond to CoinDesk for comment.
ApeCoin initially exploded upon its release last year, particularly since Bored Ape Yacht Club holders were allowed to claim 10,094 APE for each of their Ape NFTs. In the months since, the ApeCoin DAO has passed notable proposals to expand its ecosystem, including establishing a white-label NFT marketplace and allowing staking of its APE currency. They also approved funding of a 24-hour BAYC news site, The Bored Ape Gazette, which has been publishing profiles of Special Council nominees ahead of the vote.
The coin's market cap has dipped in recent days and currently stands at $746.88 million, down from its April 2022 high of $6.74 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
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