What are CryptoPunks?

What are CryptoPunks?

What are CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks, a set of low-res graphic images inspired by Daft Punk, is often credited with launching both the NFT craze and much of the technology that made it possible. Here, we’ll take a deep dive into this groundbreaking project.


    CryptoPunks explained

    CryptoPunks is an NFT collection launched on the Ethereum blockchain way back in June 2017 by Larva Labs. It’s generally considered to have inspired both the Ethereum ERC-721 NFT standard and the modern crypto art movement, as well as fueling the 2021 “NFT Rush.”

    Larva Labs was actually just a pair of Canadian software developers, Matt Hall and John Watkinson. The duo was particularly inspired by the cyberpunk movement and the electronic music of Daft Punk. They also cited the film Blade Runner and William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel Neuromancer as influences for the 24x24 pixel, 8-bit images.

    Cryptopunks OpenSea
    CryptoPunks on OpenSea

    Originally, Larva Labs considered using the punk icons as elements in a smartphone game; ironically CPG Labs did just that in 2022 with the unrelated CryptoPunksGames.

    There are 10,000 real CryptoPunks (see below), algorithmically generated so each one is unique. Most CryptoPunks are humans, but there are also 88 Zombie, 24 Ape and 9 Alien characters, of which 6,039 are male and 3,840 female.

    They also include different possible combinations of attributes, such as “mouth prop” (smoking or wearing a mask), earrings, hats, sunglasses, etc. Some are rarer than others. Eight Punks, sometimes called Genesis Punks, have no special attributes at all, and one has seven. Traits combine to provide an overall rarity score. Rarity.tools lists all CryptoPunks in order of rarity.


    Groundbreaking technology

    The CryptoPunks NFT collection was a programming experiment, minted using a customized smart contract (that refers to tokens as “punks”), since the ERC-721 standard that would define a protocol for collections of unique non-fungible tokens was still a year away.

    There were actually two NFT releases. The original launch, now known as “Wrapped CryptoPunks V1,” minted about 1,000 NFTs before being “unauthenticated,” when Larva Labs discovered that a buyer could immediately withdraw their own funds. The smart contract bug was fixed and 10,000 V2 CryptoPunks were minted.

    Soon after this launch, an Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP-721) was introduced, defining non-fungible tokens and citing CryptoPunks as a proto-example. This opened the floodgates for virtually every NFT project that has followed.

    When they were originally released, the actual CryptoPunks images were too large to store on the Ethereum blockchain, so the developers worked some crypto mathemagic on all 10,000 NFTs and embedded the result directly into the smart contract. Some time and serious data compression later, the images and attributes were eventually stored on the blockchain.


    How much is a CryptoPunk worth?

    CryptoPunks NFTs were originally released for free—except for gas fees, which were negligible at the time—to anyone with an Ethereum wallet.

    CryptoPunks #6965 (rarity rank #35), provides an interesting sales history. First sold July 3, 2017 for 4 ETH and resold the next day for 7.9 ETH, in February 2021 it went for an astounding 800 ETH, about $1.5 million.

    But that was just the beginning. In March, CryptoPunks #7804 fetched a record 4,200 ETH ($7.5 million. Then in April, Christie’s auctioned a lot of nine CryptoPunks NFTs for $16.9 million, double the expected price.

    Cryptopunks NFT
    Most expensive CryptoPunk sale - IMG SRC

    In March, 2022, an anonymous owner donated CryptoPunks #5364 to the Ukraine government’s Ethereum wallet address. In June, it sold for 90 ETH ($102,640).

    Throughout 2022, the floor price—the cost of the least expensive Punk in the collection—has remained steady by NFT standards at around 65 ETH, placing CryptoPunks squarely in the blue-chip camp. As with any NFT, the main factors that determine the value of a specific Punk are demand and rarity.

    To buy CryptoPunks NFTs, the official (V2) versions can be found on OpenSea and LooksRare, as well as on Yuga Labs’ Punks For Sale web page. For a long time, Wrapped V1 CryptoPunks didn’t have a marketplace that would list them, though they’re now also available on OpenSea and LooksRare.

    Cryptopunks price prediction
    CryptoPunks price floor - IMG SRC

    The future of Cryptopunks

    In March 2022, all CryptoPunks intellectual property was acquired by Yuga Labs, creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project. Soon after, Yuga Labs granted full commercial rights for CryptoPunks to their owners.

    As for Larva Labs, they’re still around creating new and interesting projects. Among these are Meebits, an NFT collection of 20,000 unique 3D voxel characters.on the Ethereum blockchain; and Autoglyphs, an NFT experiment in on-chan generative art.

    Whether or not there’s a CryptoPunks NFT in your collection, you should thank a couple of rebellious cyberpunks who decided to try something different, accidentally creating a new art form.


    Where to buy CryptoPunks?

    No matter the size or value of your collection, its easier to manage with the Exodus NFT Gallery, where you can:

    • Receive, store, and view your NFTs from different chains (currently supporting Ethereum, Solana and Algorand NFTs) all in one application
    • Easily connect to the OpenSea and MagicEden NFT marketplaces to purchase the hottest NFT collections from the safety and comfort of Exodus

    With Exodus, you can also use the Web3 wallet to connect to DeFi and Web3 applications on multiple chains (Ethereum, Solana, Algorand etc), from the safety of your non-custodial wallet, and with the full support of our friendly, human support team.

    Click here for our easy, step-by-step guide on how to buy an NFT on OpenSea!

    This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.

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