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Over 20 individuals have reported experiencing burning eye pain and vision problems following their participation in a party for NFT owners during ApeFest, a three-day event organized by the Bored Ape Yacht Club in Hong Kong over the weekend.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club, a community of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who possess unique digital images of primates valued at tens of thousands of dollars each, is currently investigating the possible causes of these reported eye issues. The investigation is focusing on various factors, including the use of UV lights during a Saturday night party.
Louise Conroy, a spokesperson for Yuga Labs, the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, confirmed that they are in contact with 22 individuals who experienced eye problems after the event. She stated, “We are very distressed by these reports. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, we intend to do the right thing by our community members.”
Possible Causes Examined
Although the exact cause of the symptoms remains undetermined, potential culprits being examined include fluorescent paint used in the event’s setup areas and the use of UV light.
Approximately 2,500 cryptocurrency enthusiasts gathered at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal for an evening of music, drinks, and networking, which concluded shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday.
One attendee, Adrian Zdunczyk, a 30-year-old cryptocurrency trader living in Portugal, described a sharp, fiery sensation in his eyes that awakened him around 4:30 the following morning. Despite repeated rinsing with water, the discomfort persisted. He likened it to “microwaving your eyes.”
Similar symptoms were reported by others on social media during the weekend, including intense eye pain, vision problems, and irritated skin resembling sunburn. Chloe Ge, another attendee, compared the sensation in her eyes to being “burnt with spicy chili” at 3 a.m. on Sunday.
Dr. Will Flanary, an ophthalmologist based in Portland, Oregon, suggested that the symptoms align with photokeratitis, a condition caused by damage to the cornea due to exposure to ultraviolet light.
Recovery and Frustration
Mr. Zdunczyk received a diagnosis of photokeratitis at an eye clinic in Hong Kong on Monday and was provided with lubricating eye drops. His symptoms have significantly improved since then, but he expressed frustration with the situation. He had invested around $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency in a Bored Ape NFT, gaining membership in a prominent crypto community. Although he has corresponded with Yuga Labs representatives about his experience, he feels that the company has not treated the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
Background on Bored Ape Yacht Club
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is renowned for its collection of NFTs, with each member acquiring a distinct digital asset using cryptocurrency. These assets consist of cartoon images of apes adorned with accessories like cigars.
Cryptocurrency Market Trends
Although the market for cryptocurrencies and NFTs has cooled since its peak, with the price of the least expensive Bored Apes dropping to just over $50,000 in July, Bored Ape Yacht Club continues to engage its members through events like ApeFest.
ApeFest in Hong Kong
This year’s ApeFest, held in Hong Kong, attracted attendees by offering free admission to Bored Ape NFT owners and charging $269 for plus-one guests. The event promised “three days of meet-ups and mayhem” followed by “one big night full of surprises.
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