What Is CryptoPunks: A Simple Explanation

CryptoPunks NFT Complete Guide

Learn all about million-dollar pixelated faces

CryptoPunks remains one of the most recognized NFT collections that significantly contributed to the widespread innovation of NFTs. In addition, these distinct NFTs showcase a unique and nostalgic aesthetic charm, attracting enthusiasts and collectors alike. Since its inception, the value of CryptoPunks has seen remarkable exponential growth, but what factors have fueled this phenomenon?


What is CryptoPunks?

In order to fully understand the story, it’s vital to first understand what a CryptoPunk is. A CryptoPunk is a non-fungible token or NFT. They are unique digital items issued on a blockchain which, in many ways, hold similar qualities to items in the real world. Think about physical goods like limited-edition trainers or clothing, collectible baseball cards, or original artwork.

Before we go further, it’s important to reiterate that CryptoPunks were the first NFT collection, and so should be considered the ‘cave paintings’ of the NFT world. 

CryptoPunks NFT
Track CryptoPunks with the DappRadar NFT Collection Explorer

Some artworks are more valuable than others due to who created them, their scarcity, and also their qualities. In the real world, these items can be put in safe boxes or simply displayed with pride. In the case of NFTs, the owners of a CryptoPunk can hold them inside their blockchain wallet or display them in their virtual art gallery or DappRadar Portfolio

How did CryptoPunks begin?

From small beginnings come great things. The beginning of the CryptoPunks story is fascinating as it appears what occurred was a mass experiment to gauge people’s interest in NFT ownership.

CryptoPunks were the first non-fungible tokens on Ethereum and arguably the inspiration for the ERC-721 standard that powers most digital art, collectibles, virtual worlds, and blockchain game items today. 

When creators Larva Labs launched CryptoPunks in June 2017, they released 10,000 NFTs with proof of ownership tied to the Ethereum blockchain for free. Anybody could claim one for free, as long as they had an Ethereum wallet and paid the gas fees.

That’s right, free! Each one was algorithmically generated, meaning no two characters could be alike, with some having traits rarer than others. More importantly, there will never be more than the original 10,000 CryptoPunks. 

Instantly, two things should spring to mind: Scarcity – The fact that only 10,000 punks have been and will ever be created. Furthermore, the traits given to each punk define their market value. Not all that dissimilar to the physical examples given previously.

Thinking about the value of bitcoin is also a good precursor for understanding CryptoPunks further as bitcoin has been set to a finite amount, therefore, justifying its value increase over time. 

Yuga Labs acquired CryptoPunks

Before Yuga Labs’ acquisition, CryptoPunk copyrights were a topic of debate within the NFT community. Various stakeholders, including Punk collectors, influencers, and investors, expressed their opinions on this matter. While Larva Labs had drafted a license agreement that granted certain rights to Punk owners, the specific rules and guidelines still needed to be clarified.

In March 2022, Yuga Labs, the team behind Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) project, bought both CryptoPunks and Meebits. Yuga Labs also announced their plan to transfer intellectual property (IP), commercial rights, and exclusive licensing privileges to punk owners.

The acquisition was met with widespread support from the NFT community, as it effectively resolved the longstanding issue surrounding the rights of CryptoPunk owners. Additionally, given Yuga Labs’ proven track record of success with Bored Apes, there was the belief that the acquisition would unlock even greater potential for CryptoPunks. 

With the innovative spirit of creators, the community eagerly anticipates the emergence of exciting derivative projects and further advancements in the CryptoPunks ecosystem.

Experimenting with commercializing CryptoPunks

Luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co was among the first brands to ride this wave with the Punks. So-called NFTiffs are special passes for CryptoPunk NFT holders that allow them to transform their NFT into a personalized jewel-encrusted necklace. Fabulous, isn’t it?

NFTffis necklaces for CryptoPunk holders

Why are CryptoPunks NFTs worth millions of dollars? 

At DappRadar, we offer data-driven insights on various dapps and NFT projects and provide valuable information for analyzing CryptoPunks. By utilizing DappRadar PRO, users can delve even deeper into the data for more comprehensive analysis. 

The charts below showcase the floor price of CryptoPunks over the past year, and the average daily floor price during this period amounts to $93,400. To gain further insights, let’s compare this with the average trading price in the last 30 days, which stands at $96,720. 

DappRadar Pro
cryptopunks stats

This comparison highlights the strong recognition and consensus regarding the value of CryptoPunks, signifying the widespread appeal it holds among both existing collectors and newcomers to the market.

Why do people invest substantial sums of money in these digital images? Firstly, CryptoPunks hold symbolic meaning within the crypto community, where they are revered as pioneers and visionaries who accurately foresaw the rise of NFTs. This symbolic value attached to CryptoPunks elevates their appeal and justifies the substantial investments made in them.

Secondly, owning a CryptoPunk serves as an explicit endorsement of the significance of NFTs and the Ethereum blockchain. Today, CryptoPunks has also become a symbol of social status, further fueling the desire to invest in these digital images.

If you are still curious about CryptoPunks value estimation, there are some useful tools below:

Where to buy CryptoPunks?

If you’re interested in acquiring CryptoPunks, the most straightforward method is to visit the official CryptoPunks website. You can browse through the available Punks there and make a purchase.

For those seeking rare and highly coveted CryptoPunks, prestigious auction houses have become significant platforms. For example, in March 2021, Christie’s hosted a remarkable sale featuring a collection of nine CryptoPunks, which collected an astounding $16.9 million. More recently, Sotheby’s joined the fray, auctioning off CryptoPunk #1326, which sold for an impressive $165,100. 

Wrapped versions of the CryptoPunks are also available on ERC-721 supported marketplaces, such as OpenSea and Blur

Tracking the journey of famous punks

CryptoPunk #7523

The most expensive CryptoPunk NFT sold is CryptoPunk #7523, or the ‘Covid Punk’, which fetched a staggering $11.75 million at Sotheby’s auction house.

This particular CryptoPunk stands out as an ultra-rare alien punk. The NFT was ultimately purchased by Israeli entrepreneur Shalom Meckenzie, a prominent figure in the digital sports industry and the largest shareholder of DraftKings. 

CryptoPunk #2000

CryptoPunk #2000 was sold for over $266,000 on 13 April 2021. This specific punk stands out due to its unique traits, including the rare big shades and tiara, along with being female and wearing an earring. 

The history of this CryptoPunk reveals a journey of the increasing value of this collection. Initially ignored, various bids were made over the years, starting with influencer Pranksy’s bid of 1.5 ETH, followed by subsequent offers. After a period of no activity, the owner finally listed the CryptoPunk for 120 ETH, ultimately selling it for that amount. 

Celebrity CryptoPunks

​CryptoPunks have gained significant attention and popularity, not only within the NFT community but also among various prominent figures and celebrities. From musicians and artists to athletes and entrepreneurs, a growing number of notable personalities have joined the CryptoPunks craze. 

Let’s explore some of the well-known celebrities who are proud owners of CryptoPunks:

The future of CryptoPunks

While the future utility of CryptoPunks may not be a major concern given its established status in the NFT space, the introduction of commercial rights holds the potential for further innovation and development within the community. 

Also, led by Yuga Labs, CryptoPunks is expected to evolve and synergize with other collections in The Yuga Labs universe. These approaches suggest that there could be exciting opportunities for collaboration and growth for CryptoPunks. For example, CryptoPunks could arguably find their way into The Otherside, a metaverse project by Yuga Labs. 

Despite the uncertainties of the ever-changing NFT market, the enduring legacy of CryptoPunks as a pioneering project remains unshakable.

Discover more NFTs with DappRadar

If you’re interested in the world of NFTs, DappRadar is your one-stop platform for discovering top decentralized applications. With its suite of tools, such as Top Games Ranking, NFT Explorer, and Token Explorer, you can research and stay up-to-date with the Web3 industry. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or new to the world of NFTs, DappRadar can help you navigate the exciting world of decentralized applications.

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The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your own research.

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