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What are CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks can be considered collectible pieces in crypto art. They are represented by NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. There are 10,000 8-bit-sized punks with their own unique features. They were one of the most well-known NFT projects and inspired many crypto artists. The ERC-721 token standard was also developed for digital collectibles. After some CryptoPunks were purchased for millions of dollars, they became one of the most popular NFTs.


These small, pixelated faces aren’t very special at first glance. Some people smoke pipes. Some wear hats. Some even consider themselves aliens. However, NFTs can look very different from what they seem.

One of these punks can buy you anything, from an apartment to a large mansion. These CryptoPunks, which are 8-bit-style and limited to 10,000 each, are an exclusive collection of NFTs. They aren’t fighters, stakers, or do anything else than being the punks that they are. CryptoPunks is also one of the earliest NFT projects.

Who invented CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks was created by John Watkinson and Matt Hall, founders of Larva Labs in New York. The project was started in 2017 as an experiment to determine the value of art and NFTs, eventually leading to crypto art becoming more popular.

They are a form of cryptocurrency, but they are very different from Bitcoin and BNB. Each of the 10,000 punks is a unique NFT on the Ethereum blockchain. 3840 are female and 6039 are men. There are also a few aliens, apes, and zombies.

The 10,000 punks are a combination of many different attributes that make each one unique. To get one, you only had to pay an Ethereum transaction fee.

These artworks have seen a huge increase in popularity since then. Christie’s auction house even sells collections that have estimates in the millions.

The record for highest-selling CryptoPunk is currently held by this pale-looking alien punk wearing a headband, which was worth approximately $7.58million at the time of its sale in March 2021. CryptoPunk #7804 is in second place. It was sold for approximately $7.57million at the time. This is due to the rising ETH price. These two tokens are the third and fourth most expensive NFTs sold. Beeple’s EVERYDAYS – THE FIRST 5000 DAYS is currently at number one and sells for $69,346,250.

What is the working principle of CryptoPunks?

The ERC-721 token protocol used for NFTs was not even available at the time of project launch. Larva Labs was limited to what they had, ERC-20.

The team modified the ERC-20 code in a punk style to make non-fungible items. This was a great inspiration for the ERC-721 design.

The Max Total Supply is 10,000 if we look at the Etherscan token. Although they appear as ERC-20 tokens, the punks are not identical.

CryptoPunks can be authenticated by hashing their reference image and comparing it with a specific image hash within the token’s contract.

Larva Labs created an image that combines all the 10,000 punks, as the images were too large to be saved on the blockchain. This hash is available in the CryptoPunks token agreement.

But how do you find out which one? Each punk’s token has metadata that identifies its place in the composite image. CryptoPunk #7804, for example, is the 7804th member of the large composite image.

Where can I purchase CryptoPunks products?

Larva Labs created their own marketplace for CryptoPunks. This is where you can bid, buy, or sell CryptoPunks. Installing and connecting your MetaMask allows you to interact with the market.

CryptoPunks also found their way onto OpenSea which is a major NFT marketplace for Ethereum. However, these pixel punks look a bit different. These pixel punks have been wrapped in ERC-721 tokens to make them tradable on NFT markets.

It is easy to convert an ERC-721 CryptoPunk back into its original ERC-20 format. Wrapped PUNKS are used for the wrapping and unwrapping of CryptoPunks.

Closing thoughts

Although they are no longer the only ones who use NFTs, CryptoPunks were once pioneers in artistic value on the blockchain. Each punk, unlike CryptoKitties which includes gamification, is a simple image. Their popularity can still be seen in the many projects that were inspired by CryptoPunks.

Henry Hicks
Henry Hicks
NFT and Crypto Enthusiast. Loves Travelling and Exploring the Metaverse!


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