The collection originally launched and sold out on July 23, 2021, in 20 minutes. Pudgy Penguins were one of the first NFT collections to gain mainstream media coverage and were covered in the New York Times column. 
The collection is led by Luca "Netz" Schnetzler who acquired Pudgy Penguins after the community lost faith in the original founders to deliver on their promises and several controversies. After the acquisition, the collection began a resurgence with the launch of a media arm, physical toys, a clothing line, social media growth, and SoulBound tokens for holders which all came less than four months after the acquisition. 
The collection of 8,888 Pudgy Penguins launched on July 23, 2021, and sold out in just 20 minutes, with users paying just 0.03 ETH to mint each Pudgy Penguin.Each cartoonish penguin is assembled from an array of randomized traits. Some have hats or glasses; mohawk or bowl cut; a t-shirt or scarf. 
In August 2021, the Pudgy Penguin project went mainstream after Kevin Roose of the New York Times published an article about Pudgy Penguins and the Metaverse. The story came after a Penguin was purchased by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
The same month were airdropped a new NFT of an Egg that would hatch on Christmas day. Nobody knew for sure what was there, including the founding team at the time. When the unrevealed egg NFTs were airdropped, they didn’t have other art behind the metadata but the team had 5 months to figure out what to do with them. On December 25, 2021, the metadata was updated and the eggs hatched only to reveal a new image of a fishing rod, named the "Rod." There were no other plans released about what to do with the rods, so the rods were seen as a rug pull by many holders and fans of the project.
In an attempt to fix the situation, the founders quickly released a new collection of smaller Pudgies known as Lil Pudgys that holders could claim for free with an additional 13,334 available to the public to claim via auction.
Founding Team Ouster
In 2022, after the rods controversy and the founders' failure to build a team to execute on their promises several holders felt that the project needed new leadership. Pudgy Penguins collection. According to @9x9x9eth, the founder of OpenDAO, who owns more than 200 Pudgy Penguins, Pudgy Penguins co-founder Cole Thereum "promised a game, a token, an educational book on NFTs and more" to the community in September 2021. "After a half year, they still have not yet set up the team, they are still in the stage of hiring," 9x9x9 told CoinDesk via Twitter. The team behind Pudgy Penguins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment via Twitter direct message.
Several days later, 9x9x9 published a Twitter thread claiming the Pudgy Penguins founders were looking to abandon the project and offered to sell him the project for 888 ETH, and he turned down the offer. Due to this, the project received buyout offers as high as 750 ETH from other individuals in the NFT market, including Mintable co-founder Zach Burks, NFT collector @beaniemax, and Netz Capital's Luca Netz.
The backlash against the collection founder, ColeThereum, was so severe that he asked Pudgy Penguins holders in the Discord to vote on him leaving the project with the overwhelming majority of holders voting to remove Cole from the team.
In April 2022, the Pudgy Penguins team closed a sale and handed off leadership of the project to Luca "Netz" Schnetzler, who acquired the collection for 750 ETH. He mentioned:
"Pudgy Penguins was my first PFP NFT and I knew when I first bought it that Pudgy Penguins had the highest upside when it came to brand potential. When I saw other people bidding on Pudgy Penguins I knew I had to step in. I’ve built multiple brands to 9 figures in revenue over the last 5 years and I felt like my skill set was the best to succeed at the job."
In the four months that had passed since the acquisition, the project’s new leadership managed to create Pudgy Media, a hub for all things Pudgy, provide social media growth, especially on Instagram, hold Pudgy Yacht Party in Miami with Tory Lanez, deliver truePengu & penguPins, Soulbound Token, and clothing line, and Pudgy Toys got licensed from the community.
In addition to the new team, the brand announced a nine-member advisory board made up of experts and executives from across the tech industry, including names like Nansen CEO Alex Svanevik, COO of Saks Fifth Avenue RJ Cilley, Hasbro’s head of licensing Jess Richardson, and more.
Pudgy Yacht Party
As a part of the F1 Miami Grand Prix, Pudgy Penguins hosted a VIP Yacht Party on May 7, 2022. The attendees for the party were chosen through a raffle using entrees of both Pudgy Penguins as well as Lil’ Pudgy NFT’s from its pre-mint link.
In June 2022, Pudgy Penguins released their own marketplace. This enabled any user to purchase NFTs from all of the Pudgy Penguins sets from any NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, LooksRare, X2Y2, and NFTX on the official website of the Pudgy Penguins marketplace. In addition, the marketplace also offers Lil Pudgys and Pudgys Rods as well.
A Soulbound token was theorized by Vitalik Buterin in his Whitepaper and was talked about as one of the pillars for identity development in Web3. Taking what he said about a Soulbound token, and applying it to Pudgy Penguins, the team behind Pudgy Penguins implemented a Soulbound token, truePengu.
The brand's first Soulbound token was launched on July 22, 2022, the Pudgy Penguin’s first anniversary. The team mentioned:
"Holders were sorted into three different categories based on what they hold and received their respective truePengu soulbound token. Not only did we begin development in quantifying identity in Web3, but we also became one of the first NFT projects to truly implement a Soulbound token."
On August 12, 2022, penguPins, the team's second soulbound token was released. The penguPins are identifiers for one's involvement and digital impact in Pudgy Penguins' initiatives. Sixteen total penguPins were airdropped to each wallet of the individuals who are licensing their Penguins for the physical toy deal with PMI Toys.
On September 30, 2022, the newest PenguPin, honoring the Pudgy Penguineers was airdropped to developers from the community that are working with the Pudgy Develepers team.
On August 10, 2022, the project revealed that some NFTs from the collection will be showcased in collaboration with PMI toys in a physical toy collection, called Pudgy Toys. The NFT collection had 252 ETH (around $466,000) in sales in the 24 hours, a 370% increase from the previous day, after the project announced it would be licensing selected NFTs to be made into physical toy collectibles.
In September 2022, Pudgy Penguins shared its first iteration of the project's storytime vision, Chapter One: The Great Blizzard, a short film created in partnership with Non-Fungible Films. The video shows different Pudgy Penguin characters, officially licensed for the film by the project itself.After the release, the collection was also featured on the homepage of OpenSea below the subheading Storytelling NFTs.
The same month, the team introduced the Penguins that were selected for Pudgy Children’s Book in collaboration with Green Kids Club.
Pudgy Penguins Asia Huddle
In September 2022, the Pudgy Penguins community ambassador, DegenDen, managed the expansion of the Pudgy Penguins' presence in Asia. The community held a top-tier event in Singapore where more than 120 holders were present.
The collection's most expensive sale was Pudgy Penguin #6873 with mirrored body and head and green background, which sold for 400 ETH. Penguin #3950 in a Pineapple Suit, beach background, and navy blue skin was last sold for 130 ETH.