ApeFest Blinds Attendees with UVC Radiation

Photo Credit: Yuga Labs

At number of attendees of ApeFest 2023 in Hong Kong reported eye damage following the event. The conference was held in two locations, PMQ and Kai Tak, November 3-5. in celebration of the ubiquitous and overpriced Non-Fungible Token (NFT), Bored Ape Yacht Club. The BAYC NFT is part of Yugi Lab’s non-fungible token collection built on the Ethereum blockchain.

On the frozen tundras of crypto winter this specific NFT is one of the few that amazingly still holds some value, although it has lost a majority of its value. Take for instance Justin Bieber’s Bored Ape NFT which was purchased in Jan 2022 that dropped from 500ETH ($1.3 Mn at the time) to it’s July 2023 valuation of $59 k. A 95% drop in value.

A recent study showed that the 195,699 worthless NFTs with no owners or market share were responsible for 27,789,258 kWh worth of energy in the minting process, resulting in emissions of approximately 16,243 metric tons of CO2. This equates to the yearly emissions of 3,531 internal combustion vehicles.

While massively speculative and highly overvalued, the brand still attracts young speculators like gamblers in a smokey lounge hypnotized by the songs of a siren chanteuse promising them better luck on the next hand or roll.

Beyond hype and financial liberation, it seems that multiple people also experienced severe eye pain and even temporary loss of vision. This was reported on X, the platform once known as Twitter. Adrian Zdunczyk, who is known in the crypto community for providing chart-based technical analysis of digital assets, said on X that he had attended ApeFest and was diagnosed with photokeratitis after visiting hospital. Photokeratitis, also referred to as snow blindness, occurs after unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light.

“My vision was tested as close to perfect with no serious cornea damage, luckily,” he wrote.

While this seems surprising, this isn’t the first time snow blindness has been the outcome of a harmless PR event. Philips 30W 36in TUV T8 Germicidal Fluorescent Tubes were found to be the culprit of snow blindness at digital media firm Hypebeast’s 2017 pop-up party in Hong Kong.

In classic corporate fashion, Yugo Labs downplayed the seriousness of the incident citing that the effects of the UV lights on guests were negligible. A spokesperson for Yuga Labs said, “We are actively reaching out to those affected to better understand the root cause.”