When ApeCoin (APE 1.29%) started trading in March, it was clearly a very different type of cryptocurrency. Talking about ApeCoin is impossible without also talking about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, arguably the most iconic and recognizable non-fungible token (NFT) collection of all time. ApeCoin is the official governance token of the rapidly expanding Bored Ape ecosystem, so by buying and holding this crypto, you are at least indirectly participating in the upside potential of the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Until 2022, access to the Bored Ape Yacht Club was limited only to celebrities and wealthy individuals. Bored Apes routinely sold for upward of $300,000, and the media was filled with stories about rock stars, movie stars, and millionaires trying to scoop up highly desirable Bored Ape NFTs. ApeCoin was specifically created to tap into all of this excitement surrounding an entirely new type of digital asset. However, this close affiliation with Bored Ape Yacht Club is just the start of what makes ApeCoin so different from all the other cryptocurrencies.

ApeCoin and the NFT boom

The creators of the Bored Apes have constantly found new ways to expand on the NFT concept. For example, the Bored Ape NFT collection was one of the first to explore the idea of "utility" NFTs. In layperson's terms, a "utility" NFT is more than just a funky digital image: It includes perks, such as the ability to participate in VIP events. By investing in a high-end NFT, you are essentially getting a digital VIP card to an exclusive private club. 

NFT square on futuristic blue background.

Image source: Getty Images.

With ApeCoin, then, you are getting more than just a crypto -- you are also getting access to an evolving Bored Ape ecosystem. ApeCoin has become a way for investors to deepen their relationship with the Bored Apes. ApeCoin is, for example, the token that powers the new metaverse world featuring the Bored Apes. It is the token that will allow the staking of Bored Ape NFTs you might have in your digital wallet. Some Bored Ape-affiliated businesses even accept ApeCoin as a form of payment.

Cryptocurrency or entertainment property?

As you probably realize by now, it is increasingly difficult to define exactly what ApeCoin is, and that's part of what makes it so unique. It's very easy to define what Bitcoin (BTC -1.26%) is, for example. Bitcoin is "digital money" or "digital gold." But what is ApeCoin? At one time or another, it has been called a cryptocurrency, a luxury brand, and an entertainment property.

This last concept -- ApeCoin as an entertainment property -- is particularly interesting. At this summer's big NFT conference in New York City, the hot question among participants was whether NFTs were fast becoming a new form of intellectual property. Theoretically, each NFT in the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection could become a character for a major entertainment brand. Given that there are 10,000 NFTs in this collection, this is a fairly compelling value proposition. Just as Disney (DIS 0.11%) has thousands of characters to choose from when creating new movies, cartoons, or games, Bored Ape Yacht Club has thousands of characters to choose from when creating new digital experiences.

Is it time to buy ApeCoin?

It may be easy to discount ApeCoin amid the current state of the NFT market, which has fallen off a cliff in 2022. At a current price of $4.40, ApeCoin is more than 80% lower than its all-time high. However, the Bored Apes remain a cultural phenomenon. The floor price of a Bored Ape these days -- even after a complete NFT market meltdown and the onset of crypto winter -- is still a staggering $107,748. Sorry to say this, but the value of a single Bored Ape NFT probably is worth a lot more than the car you're driving right now. It might even be worth more than your house.

This remarkable upside potential is another factor that makes ApeCoin so different from all the other cryptocurrencies. Although some crypto tokens seem to be based on nothing more than thin air and a lot of hype, ApeCoin is at least indirectly linked to the Bored Ape NFTs, which are digital assets that have clear market value. ApeCoin might not be the 800-pound gorilla of the crypto market, but if you are willing to take risks and buy into the argument that the NFT market is going to rebound at some point, then it could deserve a place in your crypto portfolio.