BuzzFeed backlash after ‘doxxing’ of Bored Ape Yacht Club founders
Should Web3 billionaires be able to avoid public scrutiny under the guise of a pseudonym? With no clear answer, the community has lashed out at Buzzfeed for publishing the true identity of the pair behind the BAYC NFT collection.
American internet media and entertainment company Buzzfeed has revealed the identities of two of the four original “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC) nonfungible token (NFT) collection founders “Gordon Goner” and “Gargamel” as being Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow in real life.
Journalist Kate Notopoulos authored the Friday article, which was entitled “We Found The Real Names Of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Pseudonymous Founders.”
Notopoulos was able to uncover the pair’s identities by searching the publicly available records of Yuga Labs, the company behind the collection. Yuga was incorporated in Delaware with an address associated with Solano, while other records point to Aronow.
The tech reporter argued that “there are reasons why in the traditional business world, the CEO or founder of a company uses their real name and not a pseudonym,” adding that “the people behind BAYC are courting investors and running a business that is potentially worth billions.”
“How do you hold them accountable if you don’t know who they are?”
Executives of publicly traded companies must be named in United States Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures and reports. As for smaller private companies, banking regulations and Know Your Customer laws require executives to use their real names in many cases.
“These laws are in part to prevent terrorists, criminals, or sanctioned nations from doing business in the US,” wrote Notopoulos.
However, the non-consensual exposure of Aronow and Solano’s identities has raised impassioned criticism from members of the Web3 community, who are describing the article as “doxxing” rather than appropriate journalistic practice.