"Bored Ape" NFT-startup Yuga Labs valued at $4 bln after funding

March 22 (Reuters) - Yuga Labs, the company behind the "Bored Ape Yacht Club" collection of NFTs, said on Tuesday it was valued at $4 billion after a $450 million funding round led by a16z crypto, Andreessen Horowitz's crypto fund.

Metaverse gaming company Animoca and its subsidiary, The Sandbox, and crypto exchange FTX were also among the investors that participated in the latest round.

The hype around digital assets that propelled crytocurrencies like bitcoin to record prices last year, has also spilled over into nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.

An NFT is a digital asset that uses blockchain technology to record who owns a digital object such as an image, video or in-game item. Bored Apes NFTs are often used as profile pictures on social media.

Sales of NFTs reached $25 billion in 2021, compared to just $94.9 million the year before, data from market tracker DappRadar shows.

However, even as NFTs attract fans including former U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Jamaican sprint great Usain Bolt, some have questioned why so much money is spent on items that do not physically exist.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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