Guide to CryptoPunks: Are They “Digital Antiques”

April 9, 2022

CryptoPunks are collectible ERC-721 tokens hosted on the Ethereum Blockchain and stimulated the "profile picture" NFT movement. CryptoPunks was among the first NFT collections from Larva Labs and laid the groundwork for upcoming NFT projects.

What is a CryptoPunk?

A CryptoPunk is a 24*24 pixel, 8-bit, punky-looking NFT art image. CryptoPunks are algorithmically generated and are unique, unalterable, and have no chance of complete similarity to one another.

The project was officially introduced in June 2017; 10,000 CryptoPunks were created by Larva Labs, and 9,000 CryptoPunks were offered free to claim by early cryptocurrency users.

The remaining 1,000 CryptoPunks, termed DevPunks, are numbered between 1 and 1000. These are rare punks tend to be priced higher than the others. Most CryptoPunks sell between $350,000 and $500,000 while there are some that are being sold for millions.

CryptoPunks are available to be bought and sold on third-party marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarible, etc. Some punks are also auctioned at these marketplaces. 

Why Buy CryptoPunks

The price of the CryptoPunk collection rose exponentially around Aug 2021. With a floor price starting around under $100 and skyrocketing to millions in April 2022. Many view CryptoPunks as "digital antiques" of sorts, the "storage of value" of which is currently being determined by markets throughout the course of history.

How to Recognize a Punk

Punks are divided into five general categories: 6039 male punks, 3840 female punks, 88 Zombie punks, 24 Apes, and 9 Aliens. The rare avatars are naturally more costly.

Further, these punks can have a combination of 87 attributes. You could buy a Beanie, Choker, Pilot Helmet, Tiara, Buck Teeth, Welding Goggles, Pig Tails, Rosy Cheeks, Cowboy hat punk, etc., depending on the type of hat, glasses, hair, race, or the skin color it has.

There are 4501 punks with any of the three attributes mentioned above, 3560 with two attributes, 1420 with four of these attributes, 333 with just one attribute, 166 with five attributes, 11 with six attributes, and eight punks with no attributes at all.

Does the Punk Background Mean Anything?

Yes, it does!

The punks on the blue background have no bids and are not for sale. Punks with a red background are available for purchase, while punks with purple background are auctionable and have an active bid on them. Punks in the green background are wrapped punks sold on different NFT marketplaces.

You can join the Discord chat for live announcements related to the sale and purchase of CryptoPunks, which also has a bot announcing all sales, offers, and bids in real-time.

Learn a Bit About the Statistics

The total lifetime sales volume for Cryptopunks as of March 2022 is $2 Billion, whereas $75.24 million were spent in February 2022. The lowest price of an available punk as of April 2022 is 68 ETH, or approximately US $236,636.60. The highest sale of CryptoPunk in Feb 2022 was that of an alien punk with a blue hat costing $23.7 million.

A person can buy more than one punk, too; the maximum number of punks owned by a single owner as of date is around 400.

How to Buy a Punk

You can check the profile page of each punk on the Larva Labs website to see details on their attributes. You can check the current market status of the punk to see who owns it, if it is on sale, and the owner’s expected price. If current bids are going on the punk, you can check it from the profile page.

The complete transaction history of the punk can be viewed on this page.

Once you decide on which punk to buy, you can follow the following steps to buy a punk:

  • Download a Web-3 wallet such as Metamask
  • Buy Ether from exchanges such as Coinbase
  • Install the wallet plugin on the Metamask website, and you will find options to bid, sell, and buy punks.

Remember, you should have wrapped versions to sell them on third-party marketplaces. For details on how to wrap your CryptoPunks, you can visit here. There are no fees charged on CryptoPunk transactions except for the gas fees charged on every transaction on the Ethereum Blockchain.

Do You Wish to Create your Own CryptoPunk?

The original collection of CryptoPunks is fixed and cannot be minted. 

However, some take to creating "clone" CryptoPunks through any marketplaces that allow creating your own NFTs. All you need is to have the required amount of Ethereum tokens in your wallet.

However, these "clone" punks are essentially worthless, and provably so since the ownership of the authentic punks can be verified on the blockchain.

About the Team

The project is the brainchild of John Watkinson and Matt Hall, co-founders of a creative technology company called Larva Labs. Larva Labs is also behind other popular Blockchain projects: Meebits, an NFT collection of 3D characters, and Autoglyphs, a generative art form.

Besides these, they are also involved in Web and Mobile technology. The only web project from Larva Labs was done with Google and was called Github Data Visualization using Flutter Web. Flutter is a development framework aimed to change the app development process. 

The mobile projects from the team include:

  • Road Trip, an endless driving game
  • Boo, an android app for face detection and animation
  • AppChat, a chatroom for the Android apps
  • FlowHome, an Android launcher that organizes social network notifications and system notifications creatively on the phone
  • BreathPacer, a breathing trainer app for iPhone with sound and animations
  • Androidify, personalizing the Android logo into self or friends’ avatars, etc. 

Final Thoughts: What’s the Latest on CryptoPunks?

US-based Yuga Labs acquired the intellectual property rights of CryptoPunks and Meebits in March 2022. They plan to give commercial rights to both communities. Until now, punk owners could only reproduce, transmit, distribute, and display their punk images. Now, they might be able to modify and sell third-party products with them.  

Yuga Labs is the creator of another popular NFT collection called Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) and the associated collection Mutant Apes Yacht Club (MAYC), launched in 2021. These collections are unique in that they gave full IP rights to the owners. 

Yuga Labs immediately granted all CryptoPunks holders full commercial rights to their Punks.

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