CryptoPunks are the earliest NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on the Ethereum blockchain. They are a collection of randomly generated 24×24 8-bit-style pixel images of misfits and eccentrics.
There are 10,000 unique CryptoPunks, each generated from an algorithm of computer code that uses blockchain technology. This gives each character its presumed personality and ensures that no two characters are alike.
There are 6,039 male and 3,840 female punk characters – 696 wear hot lipstick, 303 have muttonchops, 286 wear 3D glasses, 128 have rosy cheeks, 94 have pigtails, 78 have buck teeth, and 44 wear a beanie.
However, certain characters are rarer than others. Although most of the 10,000 punks are humans, there are also 88 zombies, 24 apes, and nine aliens.
There are also eight punks with no distinctive features, often referred to as Genesis Punks.Aside from the character type, there are 87 possible qualities.
Initially, CryptoPunks were free, and anybody with an Ethereum wallet could claim them. The only cost was the Ethereum gas fees, which were low at the time because not many people used Ethereum.
Who created CryptoPunks?
Matt Hall and John Watkinson, Founders of New York-based software company Larva Labs, created CryptoPunks in 2017. The project started as a way to create digital collectables with proven ownership using the Ethereum network.
They created a software program that generated thousands of different, weird-looking characters. A generator randomly assigns each pixelated character a unique set of traits, such as headwear, hair colour, pipes, and masks.
Initially, Hall and Watkinson felt they had the makings of a smartphone app or game. Instead, they had come up with a paradigm-shifting strategy for the digital art market that would challenge the idea of digital ownership.
The developers have said that the early days of the blockchain movement had a loud, anti-establishment tone which they sought to convey with their Punks. So, they made the Punks a group of outcasts and nonconformists.
They drew inspiration from the 1970s London punk movement and the dystopian roughness of cyberpunk exemplified by the film Blade Runner and William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer.
Why are CryptoPunks unique?
The collection of CryptoPunks is one of the earliest NFT projects and the first set of randomly generated profile images accepted within the crypto community. This is one of the reasons why it is a unique project.
Also, there will only ever be 10,000 CryptoPunks. True to the nature of blockchain, the creators, Larva Labs, cannot change the existing series, even if they wanted to.
In addition, there is a composite image of all 10,000 CryptoPunks on Larva Lab’s website. Anyone with a memory stick or hard drive can store a copy of the picture file.
Each Punk also gets its website containing information about its unique qualities and comprehensive transaction history. According to Larva Labs, a contract on the Ethereum blockchain states the official ownership of each piece.
How to buy CryptoPunks
Anyone with an Ethereum wallet could get CryptoPunks for free. But, early adopters quickly claimed the entire set of 10,000 characters, and people can now only buy them from a seller on a blockchain marketplace.
In addition to developing the Crypto Pinks, Larva Labs built its marketplace on the CryptoPunks website, where users can place bids and buy and sell CryptoPunks. Buyers can interact with the platform by installing and connecting MetaMask.
To buy a CryptoPunk:
- Download and install the MetaMask Chrome browser plugin to access your Ethereum account.
- Fund your wallet with enough Ether (the native token on Ethereum).
- Bid for and buy CryptoPunks directly from the interface.
When you bid for, buy, and sell CryptoPunks on the blockchain marketplace, the background colour of each Punk indicates its status.
- Punks with a blue background are not for sale and have no current bids.
- The ones with a red background are available for sale by their owner.
- The ones with a purple background have an active bid on them.
You may verify the authenticity of each CryptoPunk by hashing its reference picture and comparing it to a specific image hash in the token’s contract.
How much does a CryptoPunk cost?
The cost of a CryptoPunk depends a lot on the rarity of its qualities: type, attribute and attribute count.
A Punk with multiple rare qualities can be quite valuable. For instance, in March 2021, CryptoPunk #7804 (an alien wearing sunglasses, a cap and smoking a pipe) sold for about $7.5 million.
Celebrities who own CryptoPunks
Some celebrities and influencers who own CryptoPunks are:
- Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) – The American rapper, songwriter, and producer bought his first Punk in April 2021. He uses it as his Twitter profile picture, raising awareness of NFTs and CryptoPunks.
- Snoop Dogg – The rapper and entrepreneur recently unveiled his NFT collection on Twitter, showing that he owns nine CryptoPunks, including two Zombie-Punks, each worth $2 million.
- Gary Vee – The American entrepreneur owns at least 59 CryptoPunks, including an ape and a zombie. Vee paid a record-breaking $3.7 million for his Ape Punk, making it the most expensive ever sold.
- Logan Paul – The mega influencer and professional boxer owns a collection of six Punks.
- FaZe Banks – The pro esports team owner has a collection of nine Punks. He uses one of them as his Twitter profile picture and recently sold a hoodie punk with rare attributes for nearly $500,000 in profits.
- Serena Williams – The world-famous tennis player also owns a CryptoPunk. She received it as a gift from her husband, Alexis Ohanian, who wore a pin of the image to the 2021 Met Gala.
- Steve Aoki – The artist bought his first Punk in 2021 for 65 ETH.
- Odell Beckham Jr. – The NFL player recently bought his first Punk, showing it off on his Twitter story.