Yuga Labs co-founder addresses comeback rumors amid ongoing health break

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Nonfungible token (NFT) entrepreneur Wylie Aronow has confirmed he isn’t ready to return to Yuga Labs, the NFT firm he co-founded, despite making “steady progress” with his health.

“I’m not ready to come back to even part-time work. I have to ensure I’m around for a long time, for those who need me,” Aronow said on Dec. 11 in addressing rumors of a potential return.

“My point is, while I’m making steady progress with my health, there’s still some pretty wild swings, and this is a marathon for me.”

Aronow explained that some days, he’s ready to throw himself into the “deep end,” while on other days, he feels he needs to be “wheel-chaired” to an emergency room.

Hey so I’ve seen a bunch of tweets this week asking / hoping I’ll come back to a leadership role at Yuga. I get where that sentiment is coming from. Couple of things on that:

There’s days where I want to throw myself into the deep end, and there’s days, like yesterday, where I…

— GordonGoner.eth (Wylie Aronow) (@GordonGoner) December 11, 2023

Aronow, also known as Gordon Goner, took leave of absence in late January following a congestive heart failure diagnosis. In the same announcement, Wylie rejected rumors that Yuga Labs used neo-Nazi and racist imagery, referring to them as “lies.”

At the time, he said he would continue to serve as a board member and strategic adviser at Yuga Labs.

Despite taking a back step, Aronow said he’s had the chance to overlook the operations of Yuga Labs — the team is behind NFT projects Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks — and suggest changes where necessary.

“I identified the key issues that have been holding us back, and as of the last board meeting, which was two days ago, I feel like I’ve addressed those issues under no uncertain terms,” he explained.

That said, Aronow is backing the current leadership in what could be a make-or-break year for the firm in 2024:

“I left that meeting with a feeling of restored confidence in our leaders and across all the Yuga brands. They know the pressure is on for 2024, and I think they are going to impress you.”

Aronow previously explained that he was reluctant to take a step back, but his condition had deteriorated so rapidly that he had no other option but to deprioritize his work.

“I pushed myself way past my limits. I worked 12 hours a day, nearly every day. I should have taken the advice from everyone around me and sought balance.”

Related: BAYC creator Yuga Labs completes restructuring to focus on metaverse

About a month before Aronow’s leave of absence, the firm announced Daniel Alegre — former president and chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard — as its new CEO.

Aronow co-founded Yuga Labs alongside Greg Solano, Zeshan Ali and Kerem Atalay in February 2021.

Among the most notable NFTs developed by the company are CryptoPunks, BAYC, MeeBits and Othersidemeta.

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