When it comes to crypto art projects, there are few NFTs that are more popular and desirable than the CryptoPunks. When it comes to making investments, it’s not necessary for every investor to love them as if they are fine art. In fact, many people don’t like them at all, artistically. They seem to be among the exceptions, though. As of August of this year, CryptoPunks is third in sales among NFTs.
Put simply, CryptoPunks are cryptocurrency tokens that can easily be sent between wallets, like virtually every other type of cryptocurrency. Practically speaking, CryptoPunks is an enormously large collection of 8-bit avatars, and it happens to rank among the most popular and desirable crypto art projects around.
Overall, it's possible to purchase CryptoPunks from many places, including the Larva Labs’ website, which refers to the Brooklyn art studio where CryptoPunks originated in 2017. They can even be purchased at highly reputable art auction houses, like Christie's and Sotheby's, and they can also be purchased from places like OpenSea, considered to be among the most prominent cryptocurrency art exchanges in the entire world.
CryptoPunks are no more than cryptocurrency tokens, which means it is possible to send them from one cryptocurrency wallet to another. That means there are many ways or places to buy CryptoPunks. The only thing you will need is ETH, or Ethereum, which serves as the “native” cryptocurrency of that particular blockchain. That means you will have to buy ETH from a source that will allow you to transfer cryptocurrencies between wallets. You will not be able to purchase ETH from a generic brokerage that merely allows you to buy cryptocurrencies.
What exactly are CryptoPunks?
The CryptoPunks popped up back in 2017. These NFTs were created when Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the founders of Larva Labs, created a piece of computer code that managed to automatically generate 10,000 separate and distinct characters. While they originally planned to use them to build a computer game, that idea was doomed. It was especially clear that a computer game was history when they decided to release them as NFTs instead.
Each of the Punks has as many as seven different facial attributes. For example, some wear fedoras, whereas others wore tassel hats. Other Punks smoke cigarettes, while still others wear makeup. They also tend to be culturally diverse, meaning they may be of a different race, ethnicity, sex, or gender. In all, only eight punks have no attributes, and only one has as many as seven.
The founders created two additional NFT projects to complement the CryptoPunks NFTs, including one that created 20,000 separate and distinct 3D characters, called Meebits, and a generative art NFT Project called Autoglyphs. Whereas neither of those projects has been as successful as the CryptoPunks, they are beginning to gather steam and could be competitive with them, especially after a Christie's auction of Meebits adds a patina of legitimacy.
As of August 2021, there are more than 6,000 males and more than 3,800 females. There are also about 88 zombies, 24 apes, and 9 interspace aliens. Without question, zombies have become the most expensive of the Punks, with the average sale being more than 1,900 Ethereum, which comes to more than $6.2 million as of August 2021.
That means, even though CryptoPunks are actually no more than just 8-bit avatars, the right Punk can sell for millions of dollars. That means anyone who snapped them up for free when they were created could very well be filthy rich today. In one case, an investor bought a CryptoPunk for $443 in November 2018, and re-sold it in August 2021 for $4.4 million. That comes to a return of nearly a million percent, which would make anyone happy.
What makes CryptoPunks so valuable?
Among the most appealing features of the NFT tokens market is that every single one is unique and one-of-a-kind. Because of that, it is easy to presume they will increase in value over time. For example, while the CryptoPunks seem like they're multiplying like rabbits, the reality is, there are only 10,000 of them, and each one is quite unique. And because of the Ethereum blockchain and its tendency to track owners, they tend to hold their prices and, in most cases, the CryptoPunks gain in value.
Of course, there is another reason why these tokens gain in value, and that is their popularity. One reason for that is because they tend to be understated and easily recognizable. Plus many prestigious auction houses have taken up their cause, owning a CryptoPunk carries a lot of pride with it these days. Apparently, replacing social media profile pictures with pictures of your Punk proves you’re rich somehow, or that you were able to get hold of one for a really cheap price. The CryptoPunks brands of NFT tokens have become status symbols of sorts for many people, and they have become valuable investment guidance for many others.
It is quite significant that CryptoPunks manage to show up in many trendy places, as well as among people seen as important. It almost doesn't matter why certain people pay out large amounts of money to get one or more of these items. Even one of the largest stockholders of one of the biggest and most recognizable online sportsbooks in the world paid nearly $12 million for an alien CryptoPunk in April of this year. In that case, he openly admitted that he purchased the Punk because the aliens are the rarest of the CryptoPunks, and because it was the only alien with a mask. The mask reminded him of COVID-19 and the growing popularity of NFTs.
Always keep in mind, however, not all CryptoPunks are always available for sale at a given time. In fact, this is when it is a good idea to think of these types of art the same way a collector thinks of fine art. Not everyone can get the latest Chagall painting just because they want it, and it’s not always possible to get the alien CryptoPunk you want just because you've decided it should be part of your collection. And you may not want it then, anyway, since it’s possible to be drawn into a bidding war with other blockchain users who just want the latest thing, anyway. That's not always the best idea, especially given that the least expensive Punk is worth more than $100,000, and many can cost millions of dollars.
What can a CryptoPunk owner do with it?
Regardless of your exact purpose of investing in NFTs, it can be a bold move to make your first investment in CryptoPunks. This year, 2021, has marked a sea change in the NFT market, since the year marked the first bull market for them, backed by the rising market prices of certain cryptocurrencies, which you'll see on any crypto trading platform. The rise in price is especially Bitcoin, but also Ethereum. CryptoPunks was not the only cryptocurrency token that exploded last year; NBA Top Shot tokens saw nearly $700 million in sales last year alone, and that seems to be just the beginning.
There is one very interesting reason why CryptoPunks NFT tokens have become so valuable for investors in the crypto field. While the NFT market only really picked up some steam in 2021, CryptoPunks have been around since 2017, so they had a bit of a head start in a market that is almost completely oriented to the buyer's ego. When they were released, it was clear that the rich were not a target audience, given that the CryptoPunks were first released for free. Of course, since the creators claimed ownership of 1,000 Punks at the time.
Depending on your position on your NFT purchases, what you can do with one will depend on you, as a CryptoPunk owner. They are not unlike traditional works of art. For many, they are merely an investment, and are stored away, either for protection from theft or the elements. CryptoPunks, really, are little more than cryptocurrency tokens. The fact that they contain a link to an image of a digital avatar makes them small pieces of art that effectively live on the blockchain.
The blockchain is a modern decentralized payments network, which means it's possible to simply copy and paste a picture of your most prized CryptoPunk and do whatever you want with it. After all, the primary purpose for owning any crypto is to do whatever you want with it. Ownership is quite often the point the owner is trying to make.
The reality is, there are many uses for cryptocurrency tokens and other NFTs, and more are being created almost every day. For instance, it is often possible to use NFTs of any kind as collateral for loans or insurance, if local rules allow it, and more are allowing it every year. In some jurisdictions, it is possible to rent or lease your NFT to someone who perhaps just wants to impress other people.