One of the wonders that the internet offers is anonymity. You can hide your face, personal information, and any trace to your actual life and take another persona altogether. Fake names and animated avatars (even of bored apes) are glorified as a shield against unwanted attention and a protector of privacy.

Breaking the sacred principle of privacy is not only dangerous for the people who have their identity exposed, but it can also produce a massive amount of backlash. This is what happened when Katie Notpolous, a Buzzweek journalist, decided to go through an extensive search of the public records to unveil the names of the two creators responsible for the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Collection. 

The cryptocurrency and NFT community may be deeply attached to ideas of leaving each on their own and allowing them the freedom to pursue their meaningful activities. Still, they are not afraid to collectively come together and backlash when one of their own is attacked. 

The backlash in social media has been massive, calling the act of Katie Notpolous “unprofessional” and “downright dangerous.” Some members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, such as the “Hungry Wolves” NFT creator, have gone as far to demand Buzzfeed pay for the personal security of Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, previously veiled under the avatars of “Gargamel” and “Gordon Goner.”

According to critics, Buzzfeed has stepped a line in its pursuit of clicks and has a moral obligation to repay the damage and ensure no harm comes from this doxxing scandal. People coming to the defense of “Gargamel” and “Gordon Goner” don’t just cite the act itself as problematic but the time in which it has been performed. 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club creators are being represented by Guy Oseary, Madonna’s former PR manager while taking steps to cash in on their success and potentially sell a stake worth multiple millions to some venture capital firms. The exposure of their identities may become a public scandal and an obstacle for their business plans.

The backlash has gone to the point where some people in the crypto community have threatened to dox the Buzzfeed writer back by exposing personal information about her and her family. 

As with any heated discussion on the internet, the issue has seen back and forth arguments being thrown around. Jeff Bercovici, the deputy business editor for the Los Angeles Times, writes that “the backlash isn’t surprising, but it betrays deep ignorance about the function of journalism and an entitled belief that crypto must be covered on its terms.”

Many think anonymity is acceptable as a principle but can not be fully allowed when artificial identities allow many to commit illicit activities such as stealing wallets and scamming people. Furthermore, many critics of the Bored Ape Yacht Club claim that your right to privacy ends at a point where you become responsible for the safety of others.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is currently one of the most popular NFT collections, with an estimated entry of $200,000 and much higher prices for rarer NFTs within the collection. Even celebrities such as Snoop Dog, Paris Hilton, Eminem, and Justin Bieber have joined the exclusive club. 

The massive popularity of the NFT collection may call into question the right to privacy that the creators may have.