What Are CryptoPunks and How to Buy Them

Above Larva Labs: CryptoPunks (Copyright © Larva Labs)

What are CryptoPunks? (Niftyzone has also made 4 exclusive CryptoPunks available on our NFT marketplace)

In 2017, Matt Hall and John Watkinson, Canadian software developers and founders of software company Larva Labs, created a software program that would generate thousands of different characters. What initially began as an experiment that they thought could be developed into an app or game produced the groundbreaking CryptoPunks.

The CryptoPunks are a collection of 24×24, 8-bit-style pixel art images of 10,000 avatars. Each has its own unique, randomly generated features that distinguish them. Their eccentric looks were inspired by the London punk scene in the 1970s and the anti-establishment early days of the blockchain movement to which Hall and Watkinson belonged. They wanted to reflect this spirit in their CryptoPunks.

“They needed to be a collection of misfits and non-conformists,” the duo explained. “The London punk movement of the 1970s felt like the right aesthetic.”

They were also influenced by the dystopian grit of cyberpunk as popularized by the movie Blade Runner and the William Gibson novel Neuromancer.

The Cryptopunks are one of the first examples of an NFT on Ethereum, inspiring the ERC-721 standard that powers most NFT collectibles. They are thought to be the beginning of today’s insanely popular crypto art movement.

Above Larva Labs: CryptoPunks (Copyright © Larva Labs)

Investing in CryptoPunks

Although highly valuable now, CryptoPunks were offered for free when they were first launched and there was very little interest. They were claimed and were being sold for prices between $1 to about $30 in 2017. A vibrant NFT community around the punks has developed in the years since.

In early 2021, as part of the broader NFT boom, CryptoPunk NFT prices exploded. Over the last 12 months, they have been sold for an average price of 22 ETH ($54,000 USD) with some being far more expensive than others. Some punks are worth tens of thousands of dollars while others are worth millions.

Users in the active CryptoPunks Discord group chat explain this difference in prices with a combination of the rarity of certain design characteristics and an impression of punk aesthetics. The rare non-human CryptoPunks (aliens, zombies, and apes) tend to go for the highest prices, being sold for millions of dollars each.

cryptopunks zombies
Above Larva Labs: Five of 88 Zombie Punks (Copyright © Larva Labs)

CryptoPunks in 2021

cryptopunk #7523
Above Larva Labs: CyptoPunk 7523 (Copyright © Larva Labs)

In early June, an alien punk NFT sold for over 11.7$ million dollars at Sotheby’s.

Dubbed ‘Covid Alien’, it is the only alien punk with a mask in the collection. Two other alien punks sold for more than $7.5 million each in March, and seven other CryptoPunks sold for over $1 million in the first half of 2021. In May, a collection of nine CryptoPunks was auctioned off at Christie’s for $16.9 million.

The ​​CryptoPunk NFT market is once again revitalized after this weekend’s Ethereum whale purchasing frenzy. A wallet purchased over 100 CryptoPunk NFTs on Friday evening at prices ranging from 24 to 29 ETH ($66,947.04461 – $72,525.965 USD), spending over $6 million dollars.

The purchasing spree started last Thursday, July 29, and continued through to the weekend. Sunday’s volume of sales hit $22 million USD. The mysterious whale caused a 53% price increase on the marketplace for CryptoPunks with its purchase frenzy. Nothing is known about the whale as the NFTs were all force-funded, meaning the wallet used to purchase the punks was specifically created for these transactions and not linked to any previous history.

And on Monday, right after the purchasing spree, CryptoPunk 3100 — a rare alien — was placed for sale for $90.5 million. If accepted it would become the largest NFT sale ever.

cryptopunk #3100
Above Larva Labs: CryptoPunk 3100 (Copyright © Larva Labs)

How to buy CryptoPunks

Although now it’s more difficult than ever to buy CryptoPunks for a reasonable price, the instructions on purchasing one are quite simple.

As explained on the Larva Labs website, here are some easy steps:

1. Download and install a Chrome browser plugin called MetaMask (follow Niftyzone’s steps to do so: How to set up Metamask for xDai). This will allow websites (that you authorize) access to your Ethereum account.

2. If you made a new account, buy some Ether. The MetaMask plugin has a button that will allow you to buy Ether from Coinbase.

3. Once you have the plugin installed, this website will recognize it and add buttons that allow you to bid on, buy and sell punks directly in the interface. 

A list of the punks for sale is also available on the website with the current lowest price punk going for 34.49 ETH ($92,697.05 USD).

Some of the punks for sale:

Cryptopunks For Sale
Above Larva Labs: CryptoPunks for sale (Copyright © Larva Labs)

Buying CryptoPunks on Niftyzone’s own NFT marketplace

Niftyzone is making 4 of these elusive CryptoPunks available for sale right here on our NFT marketplace! Read more about this in the Niftyzone editorial: CryptoPunks for sale