What are CryptoPunks and why is everyone talking about it?

CryptoPunks is a notable project, which is considered one of the most popular and expensive NFT collections, and also occupies the first position in sales.

Initially, CryptoPunks was available for free – buyers only paid the transaction fees in the Ethereum network, which was $0.11 in mid-2017. Today, the cheapest lot can cost about several thousand dollars for fans of digital art. Why is this NFT token in such demand and how does it impact digital art?

What are CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks is the first collection of NFT tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain. If you own at least one of these tokens, you can purchase anything – from a small apartment to a huge mansion. However, it should be noted that the number of these pictures is limited. This collection includes 10,000 eight-bit pictures of punks.

Each of these NFT tokens has its own unique features: skin color, eyes color, race, accessories, etc. The collection consists of 3,840 female and 6,039 male characters. All characters are divided into categories: women, men, zombies, monkeys, aliens. It is worth noting that only punks who are people have gender attributes, while monkeys, aliens, and zombies do not have these ones.

As one of the first and most famous NFT projects, CryptoPunks not only inspired digital artists to be creative but also led to the development of the ERC-721 token standard for digital art collections. The project gained particular popularity in 2021 after several CryptoPunks were sold for millions of dollars, which made them one of the most expensive NFTs.

Who was the CryptoPunks project founded?

CryptoPunks were created by New York-based company Larva Labs in 2017. The founders of this project are Matthew Hall and John Watkins. The CryptoPunks project was launched with the aim of experimenting to combine the possibilities of non-fungible tokens and art. As a result, we got such a concept as crypto art or digital art.

Nevertheless, nobody should forget that NFT is also a type of cryptocurrency. However, it is very different from Bitcoin or BNB.

As we mentioned above, each of the 10,000 punks is unique, and the combination of various attributes guarantees the uniqueness of all NFT tokens. Some attributes are more common, others are less common. The more rare attributes an NFT has, the higher its value is and, accordingly, the cost.

We have provided some examples of attributes:

  • Race: zombie, alien, monkey;
  • Gender: man, woman;
  • Chains, hats, necklaces, caps, earrings, etc.;
  • The eyes, skin, and hair color, hairstyle, lipstick color, etc.

Each NFT can include from 0 to 7 attributes. The name of Genesis punks has carried those punks, which have 0 attributes. There are 8 of them. All these NFTs can be seen on the CryptoPunks’ website. They are in the “Attribute Counts” section at the bottom of the page.

CryptoPunks # 8348 is the only NFT that has all 7 attributes.  Among his attributes are a beard, sharp teeth, a cigarette, a mole, a top hat, and an earring in his ear as well as being dressed in classic style.

The attributes of each NFT are included in the metadata. Thus, a collector wishing to purchase a specific NFT can sort the lots by attributes. For example, he can find lots with glasses, a beard, or a matching set of accessories.

Some attributes may be more common, others are less common. For example, earrings are the most common accessory, and the cost of lots with them is much lower than lots with a beanie, which is the rarest attribute.

However, there are also exceptions to the rule. For example, 286 punks have 3D glasses, and 148 punks have green clown hair. At the same time, the cost of lots with 3D glasses is much higher than that of green clown hair. Therefore, the cost of lots is determined not only by the uniqueness of the attributes but also by the preferences of buyers.

Most NFT collections like Apymon or Artvatars have metrics so-called “rarity level”. Using this metric, you can calculate the total uniqueness of the lot. But CryptoPunks doesn’t have an automatically calculated “rarity level”. The uniqueness of this NFT can only be recognized by the total number of rare attributes that punk has.

Where to buy CryptoPunks?

Since all CryptoPunks have already been purchased, people can acquire them in the secondary market. They are currently available on many trading platforms such as Christie’s and the NFT marketplace OpenSea. CryptoPunks can be bought in two collections CryptoPunks and Wrapped CryptoPunks on OpenSea. NFT Wrapped CryptoPunks cannot be purchased anywhere else, as they are only available on the OpenSea platform. Sellers sometimes offer buyers to purchase CryptoPunks mini-collections that include multiple tokens.

You can also buy CryptoPunks on the official website of the project

Basically, in order to acquire this NFT, you will need Ethereum coins.

The cost of punks from the CryptoPunks collection does not differ on the official website and OpenSea and can vary from 16.5 to 4.2 thousand ETH (from $67 thousand to $17 million). As for the Wrapped CryptoPunks collection, their cost can start from 25 to 66 ETH, or from $102 thousand to $268 thousand.

Most expensive CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks the collection is considered one of the most expensive in the market.

The rise in the value of this NFT occurred amid the growing popularity of non-fungible tokens. Here are some digital arts that were sold at high prices in 2021:

Type of CryptoPunksPriceDate of sale
#2890605 ETH (it was about $762 thousand at the time of the transaction).January 2021
#6965800 ETH (it was about $1.54 million, at the time of the transaction)February 2021
#78044200 ETH (it was about $7.57 million at the time of the transaction).March 2021
#31004,200 ETH (it was about $7.58 million at the time of the transaction).March 2021
#7523$11.8 millionJune 2021

Today, the total sales of CryptoPunks amounted to more than $1.5 billion, the market capitalization of the project is more than $4.26 billion, and the average cost of CryptoPunks is about $81 thousand.

Some large companies and celebrities are also showing interest in CryptoPunks. In August 2021, Visa acquired digital art #7610 in the amount of $150,000. The company explained its decision to purchase by a desire to understand how the technology of non-fungible tokens works. Snoop Dogg also has punks from the CryptoPunks collection. He buys NFT using the pseudonym Cozomo de’ Medici. There are about 10 CryptoPunks in the rapper’s collection.


Today, many people wish to purchase CryptoPunks, since the project’s collection is very highly valued. Some people buy NFT in order to sell it more expensively, others are pursuing the goal of replenishing their collection. There are a number of reasons that make the digital art of this project special and valuable:

  • Historical value. The creators of CryptoPunks are the founders of crypto art. This is one of the first NFT tokens and the first NFT collection in which lots are exclusively digital art.
  • Each NFT is unique and unchanged. CryptoPunks developers have written a code with which everyone has the ability to exchange or sell CryptoPunks without any restrictions. This code is based on the blockchain of the decentralized network and ensures that no one has access to it. In addition, the developers will not be able to change NFT punks, pick them up or delete them.
  • An active community created around CryptoPunks. NFT punks are exhibited in various digital museums and auctions. A huge number of new NFT collections are being developed inspired by CryptoPunks: CryptoBabyPunks, Picasso Punks, XCOPYPUNKS, and many others.
  • CryptoPunks is defined as an art form. This fact bracketed this collection together with the works of art created in the real world. And the ability to buy an original work increases the value of crypto art.

The creation of the CryptoPunks collection influenced the general acceptance of digital art. Previously, collectors purchased originals of works that are only in the real world. However, blockchain and NFT have made digital works of art just as original and unique, which has increased their value.

READ MORE: How to short crypto 2022?

Egor Romanov

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