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The Hype and Controversy Surrounding CryptoPunks: An Overview

Introduction to CryptoPunks

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is gradually gaining popularity, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are among the most sensational developments in the cryptocurrency market. NFTs are digital assets that utilize blockchain technology to track and record ownership and exchange.

One of the most talked-about NFTs in the market is CryptoPunks, which are 8-bit characters that have been sold for millions. In this article, we will examine the history, increasing popularity, and business model of CryptoPunks.

We will also highlight the criticism that CryptoPunks has faced in regards to their terms of service.

History of CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks was created by two software developers, Matt Hall and John Watkinson, who co-founded Larva Labs in Brooklyn. Larva Labs is an innovation studio that works on various projects involving software development, design, and strategy.

In 2017, Hall and Watkinson were inspired by the Androidify project, which allowed users to create an Android version of themselves. They started designing the 8-bit characters, which were made possible by the Ethereum blockchain.

Solidity, a high-level object-oriented programming language, was used to develop the smart contracts that enabled ownership and exchange of these 8-bit characters. CryptoPunks were essentially the earliest blockchain-based artwork that could be owned and traded using smart contracts.

This development led to the creation of other art pieces like the Autoglyphs.

Increasing Popularity of CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks were initially sold for 0.01 Ethereum, which, at the time, was worth approximately $6. However, the hype around NFTs and CryptoPunks increased the value of each punk exponentially.

Today, CryptoPunks are among the most expensive NFTs in the market, with some selling for millions. The hype around CryptoPunks was primarily driven by social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where influencers and celebrities showcased their holdings.

In particular, the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) utilized CryptoPunks for their members’ avatars, further increasing demand.

Business Model of CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks generates revenue primarily through royalties from secondary sales transactions that occur after the initial purchase. For instance, if an individual buys a CryptoPunk for 10 Ethereum and sells it later for 30 Ethereum, then the original creators of CryptoPunks receive a 2.5% royalty fee on the sale.

This guarantees lifetime earning for the creators, regardless of the number of successive trades. The secondary sales of CryptoPunks have generated millions of dollars, making it one of the most lucrative business models in the NFTs market.

Criticism of CryptoPunks’ Terms of Service

CryptoPunk’s terms of service state that for commercial use of the 8-bit characters, one must seek permission from Larva Labs and pay a licensing fee. Furthermore, the terms of service state that any resemblance

to CryptoPunks in commercial artwork is prohibited, seemingly restricting the public’s access to this innovation.

Some critics have raised concerns that these terms of service create an unnecessary monopoly that hinders creativity and disrupts the concept of NFTs in a broader sense. The argument is that blockchain art, including CryptoPunks, should be accessible to everyone without legal hurdles.


The hype around CryptoPunks has raised many questions about NFTs and their position in the art and cryptocurrency industry. This article provided insight into the birth, development, and success of CryptoPunks.

Additionally, it delved into their business model and concern raised about the limitations of their terms of service. As the NFT market continues to grow, it is essential to consider how different business models impact the development and adoption of new technologies and innovations.

Ownership of CryptoPunks

One of the significant benefits of the blockchain technology that CryptoPunks is built on is the transparency of ownership. Anyone can easily view the ownership of all 10,000 CryptoPunks by browsing the Ethereum blockchain.

The CryptoPunks belong to the digital wallet addresses from which they were purchased. The wallet holders have the right to sell, trade, or gift their CryptoPunks to others.

The original creators of CryptoPunks, Matt Hall and John Watkinson of Larva Labs, do not own any of the characters; they only collect royalty fees from secondary sales. CryptoPunks have become quite popular with collectors, fans, and investors alike, which has led to some CryptoPunks rising to the top of a so-called “leaderboard.” The leaderboard is essentially a ranking of CryptoPunks based on their sale price.

The highest-ranking CryptoPunks are the ones that have sold for the most significant amount of Ethereum. The CryptoPunks were initially sold for 0.01 Ethereum each, which is worth around $20 today.

However, the rise in demand and hype around CryptoPunks have led to their value increasing significantly. Some of the more coveted CryptoPunks have sold for millions of dollars.

Acquisition of CryptoPunks by Yuga Labs

Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs, acquired the CryptoPunks copyright from Larva Labs for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was surprising, mainly because Yuga Labs had generated a significant amount of revenue from BAYC, which was already among the most popular NFT creations.

Although the sale price is unclear, some sources suggest it was between $40 million and $50 million. The Yuga Labs acquisition of CryptoPunks has been considered a bold move, considering that the CryptoPunks are more established than the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

The acquisition shows that Yuga Labs sees CryptoPunks as an asset that can complement BAYC and further increase their brand’s value. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has already used CryptoPunks’ 8-bit characters as avatars for their members.

This use of CryptoPunks made it clear that Yuga Labs saw the value that CryptoPunks could bring to their NFT ecosystem. Since the acquisition, the value of CryptoPunks has continued to rise, with some of the characters going for millions of dollars.


The ownership of CryptoPunks is entirely transparent and is available to anyone through the Ethereum blockchain. The acquisition of CryptoPunks by Yuga Labs has further increased the visibility and value of the digital assets.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s use of CryptoPunks for their members’ avatars highlights the potential of combining different NFTs to create a more extensive and interconnected ecosystem. As NFTs continue to gain popularity, it will be exciting to see how CryptoPunks and other similar digital assets evolve and develop.

In conclusion, CryptoPunks is among the most talked-about NFTs in the market with a transparent ownership system that allows anyone to view their ownership history. The rise in popularity and demand for CryptoPunks has led to a significant increase in value, with some selling for millions of dollars.

Additionally, the recent acquisition of CryptoPunks by Yuga Labs, the creator of Bored Ape Yacht Club, highlights the potential for combining different NFTs to create a more extensive and interconnected ecosystem. It is clear that digital assets like CryptoPunks and NFTs, in general, are beginning to shape the future of the art and cryptocurrency industry significantly.

As the industry continues to develop and evolve, we can expect to see more innovative and disruptive ideas emerge.

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