Cryptopunks is one of the earliest  (NFT) collections created on  (ETH) and inspiration for the ERC-721 standard that powers most digital art and collectibles. The collection was founded by software developers  and  in 2017. [1][27]

The CryptoPunks are 24x24 pixel art images that were generated algorithmically. Most are punky-looking guys and girls, but there include a few rarer types mixed in apes, zombies, and even the Alien CryptoPunk. Every punk has its own profile page that shows its attributes as well as its ownership/for-sale status. [2]

On August 19, 2021, Visa bought a female CryptoPunk 7610 for around $150,000.[10][21]

In September, Christie's sold a batch of NFTs from CryptoPunks, , and Meebits for a combined total of $12 million.[15]

In October 2021, the owner of CryptoPunk #6046, Richerd (@richerd), turned down a 2,500 ETH (around $9.5 million) offer for his NFT from Patricio Worthalter, the founder of POAP. The reason for the owner’s refusal is that he feels that his online personality and brand are tied to #6046, hence dispensing with it would sever that tie and dilute his online presence and identity. "My identity, along with [the] identity of other iconic Punks, have value beyond the NFT itself. We have our own brands similar to any other brand and that has value. Because I value my personal brand and identity, this was an easy rejection for me."[17][18][19]

In October 2021, crypto billionaire Mike Novogratz purchased Punk #8466 for 98.5 ETH ($421,543). He revealed that he now owns a CryptoPunk on Twitter and stated he would be starting a "$GLXY NFT collection".[24]

In March 2022, acquired Cryptopunks and from . [28][29]


Cryptopunks was launched on June 23, 2017, as one of the first non-fungible tokens on the blockchain. The project was developed by American studio Larva Labs, a two-person team consisting of Canadian software developers  and [1]

It began as an experiment, in 2017, Matt and John, founders of New York-based software company Larva Labs, created a software program that generated thousands of different, strange-looking characters.

Initially, they thought they might end up developing a smartphone app or game but what they ended up with was a paradigm-altering model for the digital art market and a challenge to the concept of ‘ownership’ itself.[2]

They launched from a small community of enthusiasts who just paid a few pennies in “gas” transaction fees to own their personal punk. [1]

It was a new idea, pre-dating the NFT platform  by months and NBA Top Shot by years, but it arrived at the crypto’s 2017 wave where scams were plentiful and attention was hard to come by. Hall said that around 20-30 punks were claimed in the days following launch. [2]

Today, all 10,000 punks are scattered across some 1,889 wallets, according to crypto tracker Etherscan. Some of those accounts are inactive and feared dead, with the punks inside them which are lost on the forever.

The largest single wallet of punks today belongs to the platform’s creators, holding some 488 punks. It’s their only ownership in a blockchain-based marketplace where most mechanics are already set in stone. [2]


The CryptoPunks are 10,000 uniquely generated characters. No two are exactly the same, and each one of them can be officially owned by a single person on the  blockchain. Originally, they could be claimed for free by anybody with an Ethereum wallet, but all 10,000 were quickly claimed. [1]

Currently, to own any punk they must be purchased from someone via the marketplace that's also embedded in the blockchain. Through this market, one can buy, bid on, and offer punks for sale. [1]

Punks with a blue background are not for sale and have no current bids, punks with a red background are available for sale by their owner, and punks with a purple background have an active bid on them. [1]

There are 6,039 male punks and 3,840 female punks. A total of 696 wear hot lipstick, while 303 have muttonchops. There are 286 Punks with 3-D glasses, 128 rosy-cheeked Punks, 94 Punks with pigtails, 78 Punks with buck teeth, and 44 beanie-wearing Punks. [2]

There are also eight Punks with no distinctive features at all, they are sometimes referred to as Genesis Punks and only one with seven attributes: CryptoPunk 8348 a big bearded, bucktoothed, cigarette-smoking Punk with an earring and a mole, wearing classic shades and a top hat.

Cryptopunks make use of Ethereum which allows arbitrary computer code to be executed on the blockchain and the results of the execution to be stored forever. Normally code is run on a server somewhere and one basically need sto trust the person running the server. Ethereum lets everyone execute the code, show each other what result they got, and agree that the code was executed properly and fairly. [1]

They have written code that lives on the blockchain that anyone can use to buy and sell Punks with anyone else in the world. An interesting aspect of this system is that they no longer have any control over the code running CryptoPunks. Once it was released onto the blockchain it became permanently embedded there and can no longer be modified by anyone. This was scary for them as developers because they worry about bugs, but it was also a very powerful feature of the system. It allows a user to verify that there are indeed only 10,000 punks, and check that they can't be stolen from the users. [1]

The Punks


There are 4 species of punk, the Alien, Ape, Zombie, and Humans. The attributes can further be broken down into the non-searchable trait of skin tone.

Some traits tend to command a premium despite being less rare than others. These include hoodies and 3D glasses. Other traits have less appeal despite their rarity such as Spots. [5]

Trait Combinations

The rarest combinations are 7 trait punk (1) and zero trait punk (8) the latter making up 2/6 of the largest sales ever at the time this was written:

The 6 trait punks (11) and then single trait punks (333) are the most desirable. However, this depends on the trait for single traits. Certainly, some 5 traits are more valued than some single traits. There is a max of 8 single traits per punk, sometimes much less (some traits are sex-specific). “Floor punks” (the least valued punks occupying the first row of the for sale section) tend to be 2–4 trait. An added mole or earring may make what would have been a clean 1 or 2 trait punk less desirable. However other traits can be hidden, and some people find these to be more valuable. For example, punk #998 has hidden buckteeth. 1 punk has 3 hidden traits.

Sex-Specific Traits

Certain traits are male-only, like Hoodie or Beanie. Others are female-only like Orange side or red mohawk. Others are shared and identical (medical mask and clown nose for example) while some are different between males and females. A striking example being clown hair green male and female:

Others have more subtle differences like gold chains.

How to get a Punk

Download and install a Google Chrome plugin called . This will allow websites (that are authorized) access to Ethereum account.

Once a new account has been created, buy some Ether. The MetaMask plugin has a button that allows buying of Ether from .

Once the plugin has been installed, the website will recognize it and add buttons that allow users to bid on, buy and sell punks directly in the interface.

The actual images of the punks are too large to store on the blockchain, so a hash of the composite image of all the punks was taken and embedded into the contract. It can be verified as the punks are being managed by the Ethereum contract of the True Official Genuine CryptoPunks™ by calculating a SHA256 hash on the crypto punks image and comparing it to the hash stored in the contract.

CryptoPunks have also made their way onto , a leading marketplace on Ethereum. These pixel punks are a little different, however. They have been into ERC-721 tokens so that they are tradable on marketplaces. [4]

An ERC-721 CryptoPunk can be easily converted back into its original ERC-20 form. The wrapping and unwrapping processes take place on PUNKS and can be done with a MetaMask wallet containing a CryptoPunk.[4]

Rarible also has wrapped crypto punks but is not policed well and you are likely to buy a fake punk so best to avoid trading there. [5]

Notable Sales

CryptoPunk #3100 was purchased on March 11, 2021 for 4,200 ETH, approximately $7,584,485.82 USD, breaking the record set by Punk 7804. CryptoPunk #7804 was sold on March 10th, 2021 for 4,200 ETH, the same as Punk 3100, but the ETH was valued at approximately $7,566,173.88 USD at the time of sale.[9]  On September 24, 2021, CryptoPunk #9513 sold for 350 ETH ($1.07M). [14]

On October 3, 2021, Punk #4220 sold for 450 ETH ($1.53M). [16]

On October 23, 2021, CryptoPunk #4992 wearing a hoodie and classic shades sold for 450 ETH ($1.81M). [20]

In October 2021, crypto billionaire Mike Novogratz purchased Punk #8466 for 98.5 ETH ($421,543). He revealed that he now owns a CryptoPunk on Twitter and stated he would be starting a "$GLXY NFT collection". [24]

In November 2021, female CryptoPunk #4222 with pigtails, earring, and green eye shadow, which initially sold for about $5,000, fetched more than 200 ETH (~$885,716).[25][26]


On May 11, 2021, a huge NFT sale was made at Christie's, a collection of nine CryptoPunks was purchased for $16.9 million. It is the second-largest NFT purchase ever made, behind Beeple’s $69 million sales in March. [6]

The bundle of nine includes one CryptoPunk with a particularly rare trait: CryptoPunk 635, the one with the blue face and sunglasses, is one of just nine “alien” punks in the entire series. Another of the nine sold, CryptoPunk 2, the one with wild black hair that looks a bit like a heart, has the distinction of being number two out of a 10,000-work series. [3]

CryptoPunks have soared in popularity since NFTs started blowing up in February. Two alien punks sold in March for more than $7.5 million each. Another seven have sold for more than $1 million, all just in the past few months.

In September 2021, Christie's sold a batch of NFTs from CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Meebits for a combined total of $12 million. Of the 14 NFTs sold, a zombie CryptoPunk 9997, of which only 88 exist, took the top spot, selling for $4.3 million.[15]


A rare CryptoPunk sold at Sotheby's for over $11.7 million, called "Covid Alien," CryptoPunk 7523 is considered to be a rare NFT, or nonfungible token, collectible. It is one of nine “alien punks” in the entire series and is the only one with a mask.
CryptoPunk #7523 was sold for $11,754,000 as part of Sotheby's online auction "Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale", which fetched a total of $17.1 million across works by 27 digital artists.

It was bought by the Israeli entrepreneur Shalom Mackenzie, who is the largest shareholder of digital sports company Draftkings (DKNG.O), Sotheby's said. [7]

3D Glass-Wearing CryptoPunk

In August 2021, a 3D glass-wearing CryptoPunk #561 was sold for 375 ETH ($1,041,344.97 USD). The traits that make this Punk special is that only 115 of the 10,000 collections have top hats and this is one of them and only 286 have 3D glasses.[8]


On August 19, 2021, Visa bought a female CryptoPunk 7610 for around $150,000.CryptoPunk 7610 is one of 3,840 "female" punks. Visa's head of crypto, Cuy Sheffield, said in a blog post that the main purpose behind Visa's purchase was to learn more about the growing market. "We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment and commerce," Sheffield wrote. "To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT." [10]

Mask Network

On August 29, 2021, Mask Network purchased a CryptoPunk #6128 in a police cap for 159 ETH ($512,822). Saying that CryptoPunk #6128 "shows off the spirit" of Web 3.0, it will be an asset placed in its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, the MaskDAO. Mask Network also hinted at NFT-related features in the tweet. The team suggested that more could be achieved with NFTs on the Mask extension, but no further details were given.  [11][12]

Declined Bid

In October 2021, the owner of , Richerd (@richerd), turned down a 2,500 ETH (around $9.5 million) offer for his NFT from Patricio Worthalter, the founder of POAP. The reason for the owner’s refusal is that he feels that his online personality and brand are tied to #6046, hence dispensing with it would sever that tie and dilute his online presence and identity. "My identity, along with [the] identity of other iconic Punks, have value beyond the NFT itself. We have our own brands similar to any other brand and that has value. Because I value my personal brand and identity, this was an easy rejection for me." [17][18]  [19]

$500M Stunt

In October 2021, CryptoPunk #9998 sold for more than $500 million in a sale that is not legitimate. It appeared that the token's original holder moved the item between two of their own accounts for unclear reasons. Explanations for the questionable sale include money laundering, attention-seeking, and metric inflation. The CryptoPunks NFT sold for 124,457.07 ETH, an amount worth $532,414,877.01 at the time of sale. [22]

While this was supposed to be celebrated as the highest Cryptopunks sale ever, the crypto community met the transaction with doubt, speculating that there could be a kind of manipulation in the sale. Members of the community pointed out that the new buyer and the previous holder could be the same individual because the CryptoPunk NFT was sold back to the original address that was holding it previously. [23]

The Twitter user called Nanexcool explained the sale as a flash loan that is used to perform some function and repaid, all in the same transaction in the same block. In this case, the owner of the CryptoPunk took out a flash loan for more than $532 million, used the funds to purchase the CryptoPunk, and then sent the money back to the lender — all within the same transaction. This meant they made the sale happen without needing to stump up the funds. [23]

CryptoPunks Attributes

There are specific attributes of every CryptoPunk. These CryptoPunks attributes are also responsible for making a CryptoPunk rare and increase its value depending on that. For example, only 44 punks have a beanie out of 10,000 punks. So, a punk with a beanie will have more value compared to other attributes.

Some of the rarest attributes can determine the value of the CryptoPunks NFT. For example, CryptoPunk 2964 is a male punk, which is not a rare gender. However, the fact that it only had a beanie, it was sold at a price of $660,121.

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