Is CryptoPunks the #1 NFT collectible on Ethereum?

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Hear from a real-life CryptoPunks collector!

CryptoPunks have been around for a long time. Before the big crypto bubble of 2017/18, and before Cryptokitties saw the light of day and congested the Ethereum blockchain with thousands of transactions.

CryptoPunks was created in 2017 by Matt and John from Larva Labs. Two early crypto pioneers from New York. The project is perhaps best described by the website:

“CryptoPunks are 10,000 uniquely generated characters. No two are exactly alike, and each one of them can be officially owned by a single person on the Ethereum blockchain. Originally, they could be claimed for free by anybody with an Ethereum wallet, but all 10,000 were quickly claimed. Now they must be purchased from someone via the marketplace that’s also embedded in the blockchain. Via this market, you can buy, bid on, and offer punks for sale.”

Tracking & analysis

DappRadar started tracking CryptoPunks in mid-2018. For most of this time activity has been hovering around the 5 daily active users mark. Obviously, that does not constitute a huge amount of interest. Still, lots of single transactions valued above the $1,000 mark for single Punks could be observed.

Meaning, it always looked like there was a small but very dedicated group of hardcore CryptoPunks supporters. Large Publications like the New York Times and the Financial Times certainly took notice and dedicated some serious coverage.

With renewed interest in the NFT space and collectible digital art in general over the past months, there seems to be new life coming to CryptoPunks.

For approximately the last 3-4 weeks things have started happening. Meaning, daily user activity, and transaction volume have both shot up. Especially daily transaction volumes where it appears to dwarf the volumes generated by comparable collectibles from other projects.

CryptoPunks – Daily Active Users (last 3 months)

CryptoPunks – Daily Transaction Volumes (last 3 months)

Admittedly so, already in early 2020 a similar increase in activity could be observed. Daily user activity and transaction volumes shot up for a few weeks.

This time though the amount of whale activity seemed considerably higher than 5 months ago, reaching new highs not seen previously. Resulting in nearly 450 ETH transaction volume in one day. At the time of writing that equated to nearly $100k in value.

CryptoPunks – Daily Transaction Volumes (last 2 years)

CryptoPunks – Daily Transaction Volumes (last 2 years)

There are a few more indicators pointing to a sustained interest at this point in time. The number of CryptoPunks on offer has decreased steadily from nearly 900 on average per day at the end of April down to slightly above 700 by today.

Meaning a tightening of the number of available CryptoPunks on offer. This is therefore partly mirrored in an increasing average price. The minimum price for a CryptoPunk on the open market has increased from an average of $20 in 2018, $50 in 2019 to $100 in Q1 2020. Now to around $160 as of today. 

Interview with a CryptoPunks collector

Etherscan address: 0x51688cd36c18891167e8036bde2a8fb10ec80c43

We spoke to one of the top 25 CryptoPunks collectors to get a better idea of why they value the project so much and what they expect to see from CryptoPunks in the future.

Q: Why did you start investing in CryptoPunks in the first place?

A: There are only 10,000 of them. Absolute scarcity. There are 21 million Bitcoins. There are millions of Cryptokitties. There are nearly 100 million of ETH and their supply is still increasing. There are only 10,000 CryptoPunks. That’s it.

Q: Is there anything else you find appealing?

A: CryptoPunks is basically the mother of all NFTs, it’s the Mother & Father of all digital collectibles in my opinion. CryptoPunks was there first in 2017 and has obviously inspired Cryptokitties and all other copycats thereafter. Long before all the rest and it’s easy to prove. All transactions on the blockchain can be tracked. Additionally, they just look cool. Their aesthetics are unrivaled.

Q: Why do you see CryptoPunks as such an iconic series?

A: I mean, you tell me, which serious digital art collector doesn’t want to have at least one item of the very first NFTs in his/her collection? Most digital art NFTs are from 2020 or 2019, some from 2018. This is 2017, even before ERC 721 was even invented. It’s an absolute rarity and a must-have for everyone ever contemplating to build a serious digital art collection.

Q: What is the value of your collection?

A: I have 100 CryptoPunks in my wallet. if you take today’s floor price of around $160 per Punk, you could value my current collection at around $16k. Though you will find some extremely rare Punks among the 100. Some of these rare Punks will easily go for several thousand dollars. Meaning a total value of around $25k might be more realistic.

Q: When did you start your collection?

A: Back in early 2018. The entire concept resonated with me straight away. When I saw the Financial Times picking up the story, it became clear to me this was becoming big, really big. In 2019 I got serious about my collection and purchased most of the Punks. Today I only acquire some missing Punks for completing my collections.

Q: Have you made any money with CryptoPunks collection?

A: I have not sold any of my Punks till today and I do not plan to do so anytime soon. I am in for the long haul and bid for rare Punks, but I do not sell them off once acquired. Friends of mine do, but I HODL Punks.

Q: Do you have any favorite Punk?

A: I love all my little Punks the same. Besides this, Punks with masks have obviously become en vogue since COVID-19 started showing up.

Q: Do you believe COVID-19 will change how CryptoPunks evolve.

A: It already has. COVID-19 is speeding up a process, which might have otherwise taken years. CryptoPunks will become mainstream much quicker than initially anticipated in my opinion.

Q: Today’s floor price sits at around $160 for the cheapest Punk. Don’t you think single CryptoPunks will become just too expensive at some point in time?

A: Yes and No. Yes, single (entire) Punks might become too expensive for the newly interested collector. Already today several of the rarer Punks cost $1,000 and way above. That is hard to swallow for somebody who is about to get his feet wet for the very first time.

On the other side, we are seeing the introduction of fractional ownership. Projects like $WHALE are showing the way. Rare collectibles get split up into a larger pool of tokens. This allows interested collectors to participate in projects otherwise prohibitively expensive.

Another way is to purchase limited derivatives like MarbleCards. Every MarbleCard can just be created once. Meaning it is a limited one-off copy of the original. Keep in mind it is clearly not the original and can never be seen as such. Still, it might be a nice alternative in case the original is out of reach.

Watch this space

It remains to be seen if this might be the start of a sustained upward trend in the CryptoPunks universe. We at will certainly continue monitoring the level of activity on this most promising project.

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