CryptoPunks is a non-fungible token (NFT) collection on the Ethereum blockchain. The project was launched in June 2017 by the Larva Labs studio,[1] a two-person team consisting of Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson. The experimental project was inspired by the London punk scenes, the cyberpunk movement,[2] and electronic music artists Daft Punk. The crypto art blockchain project was an inspiration for the ERC-721 standard for NFTs and the modern crypto art movement, which has since become a part of the cryptocurrency and decentralized finance ecosystems on multiple blockchains.

Six examples of the 10,000 randomly generated CryptoPunks
Developer(s)Larva Labs, now owned by Yuga Labs
Designer(s)John Watkinson & Matt Hall
ReleaseJune 2017

CryptoPunks are commonly credited with starting the NFT craze of 2021, along with other early projects including CryptoKitties, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and the sale of Beeple's Everydays: The First 5000 Days. There are 10,000 CryptoPunk tokens total.[3][4][5] On March 2, 2022, an anonymous user donated CryptoPunk #5364 to Ukraine's government Ethereum wallet public address to help fund the Ukrainian government against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[6]

On March 11, 2022 it was announced that all of the CryptoPunks IP was acquired by Yuga Labs (parent company and creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club project) for an undisclosed sum. Immediately, Yuga Labs announced they were giving full commercial rights to CryptoPunks owners.[7][8] On 7th May 2022 the transfer was completed, and the whole CryptoPunks marketplace was moved to the new Yuga Labs owned website.[9]


There are 10,000 unique CryptoPunks (6,039 male and 3,840 female[clarification needed]). Each one was algorithmically generated through computer code and thus no two characters are exactly alike, with some traits being rarer than others. They were originally released for free and could be claimed by anyone with an Ethereum wallet by paying only "gas fees", which were low at the time.[10]

Most of the 10,000 CryptoPunks represent humans, but there are also three special types: Zombie (88), Ape (24), and Alien (9).[11][12]


Flash loan

In October 2021, a single NFT transaction was made for 124,457 Ether (US$532 million at the time of the sale) regarding CryptoPunk #9998, much higher than all previous NFT sales, leading to speculation on social media that this could have been some kind of scam, a security exploit or money laundering. Larva Labs said that the purchase was made with a flash loan where the NFT's owner bought the item from themselves with borrowed money, taking out and repaying the loan within a single blockchain transaction,[13] subsequently invalidating the sale from the asset's historic and from all the related statistics.[14]

Sotheby's 104 CryptoPunks auction

In early 2022, a Sotheby's auction for a single lot of 104 CryptoPunks was announced.[15] The auction took place on 23 February 2022, but its seller (0x650d) changed their mind 23 minutes after the auction began and decided to withdraw the auction to keep the whole lot.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Larva Labs
  2. ^ "10 things to know about CryptoPunks, the original NFTS | Christie's".
  3. ^ "Will Cryptocurrencies Be the Art Market's Next Big Thing?". The New York Times. 2019-04-16. Archived from the original on 2020-12-15. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  4. ^ "CryptoPunks | Fortune NFTy 50". Fortune. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  5. ^ Locke, Taylor (10 June 2021). "'Covid Alien' CryptoPunk NFT sells for over $11.7 million to billionaire buyer in Sotheby's auction". CNBC. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  6. ^ Milmo, Dan (3 March 2022). "Ukraine to issue non-fungible tokens to fund armed forces". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Bored Ape Yacht Club creator buys CryptoPunks and Meebits". TheVerge. 11 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Yuga Labs Statement About CryptoPunks Commercial Rights". Twitter.
  9. ^ "CryptoPunks".
  10. ^ Abbruzzese, Jason (2017-06-16). "This ethereum-based project could change how we think about digital art". Mashable. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  11. ^ Cornish, Chloe (June 6, 2018). "CryptoKitties, CryptoPunks and the birth of a cottage industry". Financial Times. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  12. ^ "How blockchain technology could revolutionize the art market". PBS NewsHour. September 11, 2019. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  13. ^ Islam, Foyjul (29 October 2021). "A CryptoPunks NFT sells for an eye-popping $532 million - but the purchase isn't all it seems". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2021-10-29.
  14. ^ "CryptoPunks: Details for Punk #9998". LarvaLabs.
  15. ^ Block, Fang (8 February 2022). "Single Lot of 104 CryptoPunks Could Net More Than $20 Million". Barron's. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  16. ^ Schultz, Abby (23 February 2022). "Sotheby's Withdraws Sale of 104 CryptoPunks at Seller's Request". Barron's. Retrieved 23 March 2022.

External links