CryptoPunks are considered to be the beginning of the NFT movement. While they were originally given away for free, some punks are now worth over a million dollars! But how did the CryptoPunk venture begin?

CryptoPunks were first created in 2017 at Larva Labs. They were initially intended as characters in a mobile game but soon became a digital art venture that begged the question, “Can you truly own a digital work of art?” Today, the CryptoPunk model is widely considered as the beginning of the NFT movement. 

Below, we’ll discuss more information on the creation of CryptoPunks, as well as their place in the NFT world today. Keep reading to learn how these funky little characters inspired a movement!

What Are CryptoPunks and How Were They Made?

CryptoPunks are a type of collectible crypto art. The CryptoPunk collection is composed of 10,000 unique characters, known as “Punks,” all of which have their own characteristics and are drawn in an 8-bit game style using design generator software that eventually implemented an algorithm to transform each character into a unique “Punk.”

If you want to learn how to make your own collection of algorithm-based NFTs, check out this article: How to Auto Generate an NFT: 7 Methods. As soon as your collection is ready to be minted, you will want to learn how to save money on the gas fess, so I’m recommending these 2 guides.

  1. How To Sell NFTs Without Gas Fees (or less) | Complete Guide
  2. How To Mint an NFT for Free | Rarible Style

In the beginning, punks were distributed for free, except for the cost of the Ethereum transaction fee. Boy, do I feel like I missed out.

You can check out the CryptoPunks collection on the popular NFT platform called OpenSea.

The CryptoPunks first came into being in 2017. They were developed by Matt Hall and John Watkinson at Larva Labs and originally intended to be part of a mobile app or game. As the project progressed, however, CryptoPunks became a test for the question, “Can digital art hold true value, not just intrinsic?”

The short answer is yes! CryptoPunks are now regarded as one of the first NFT ventures and are often considered the inspiration for the entire ERC-721 token standard for digital collectibles.

As of 2021, CryptoPunks are some of the most valuable NFTs on the market. Certain punks start at around 67 ETH (low end), an amount equivalent to over $200,000. 

Please note the NFT market and Crypto market is volatile, so values can rise and drop quickly, so the numbers in this article may not be accurate over time.

Each punk is 24×24 pixels in size and drawn in an 8-bit video game style. Their style choices reflect the punk scene in 1970s London.

All 10,000 characters have pre-determined personalities and characteristics, or “attributes.” They are all unique, and no two are the same!


Get “Punky With It.” What Types of Punks Are Available?

Each of the 10,000 punks has a different appearance. In addition to traditional male and female punks, the following variations are available:

  • Apes
  • Aliens
  • Zombies

Punks can have up to seven different attributes, some of the most popular including:

  • Earrings
  • Nerd glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Eye patches
  • Knitted caps
  • VR glasses

Although seven is the maximum number of attributes a punk can have, only one actually has seven. Eight have none at all!

On average, you can expect a punk to have 2-4 unique attributes. While punks with all seven or no attributes are rarer, it’s not actually the number of attributes that drive up the price. Instead, individual punks are valued by rarity.

How Do CryptoPunk NFTs Work?

Each CryptoPunk is a unique NFT on the Ethereum blockchain. Anyone can view each of the CryptoPunks, as well as visit an individual website that lists a specific punk’s characteristics and transaction history. However, only one person can own each punk at one time. 

Official ownership of each CryptoPunk, as well as their ownership history, is listed on the Ethereum blockchain. Some people compare this model to owning a physical work of art but having it on loan indefinitely to an art museum where everyone can see it. 

If you are looking for the easiest ways to check ownership and sales history of a CryptoPunk or other NFT, then read this guide: How to Check the Ownership of an NFT (7 Methods)

Are CryptoPunks ERC-721 Tokens?

ERC-721, or “Ethereum Request for Comments 721,” tokens are the standard NFT on Ethereum. While most NFTs today are ERC-721 tokens, CryptoPunks actually predate this standard. 

Since punks are considered the beginning of the crypto art movement, they don’t comply with the traditional NFT standards.

Because of this, they’re not considered ERC-721 and come with their own custom contract. However, their digital assets and unique identity are still stored on and authenticated by the Ethereum blockchain. 


How Much Do CryptoPunks Cost?

CryptoPunks vary in price based on rarity and user bids. As of February 2022, the least expensive CryptoPunk is CryptoPunk 8381, available for 66.91 ETH or $207,910.

At the time of writing this article, the highest-selling punk was Punk #5822, and it sold on February 12th, 2022, for 8K ETH or about $23,700,000.

If you really want to flex, buy yourself a punk and drop it in as a profile pic for all your social media accounts or have it displayed in real life using a special NFT Token Frame.

How Do You Purchase a CryptoPunk?

CryptoPunks are available for purchase on the Larva Labs website and OpenSea. When you go to buy a punk or check out those sites, you’ll be able to see all 10,000 images. 

CryptoPunks with a blue background are not for sale, while those with a red background are currently up for bids. If you see a punk with a purple background, that means someone has placed an active bid on the punk that you will need to outbid in order to purchase. 

You might also see some punks with a green background. This means that they have been “wrapped.” Crypto expert kaigani defines “wrapping” as “exchanging one set of standards for token interaction with another set of standards.” As far as CryptoPunks go, this means they can be sold as ERC-721 tokens on platforms other than their original marketplace. 

Super Easy Steps to Buy

If your Ethereum balance is high enough, you too can be the proud owner of a unique CryptoPunk! To purchase your CryptoPunk, you’ll need to follow the steps listed below:

  1. Download and install a Crypto Wallet like MetaMask. After your apply and set up your wallet you can then download a Chrome extension and when you vist Larva Labs or OpenSea your wallet will be ready for transactions.
  2. Open an account on a Crypto Exchange like Coinbase then exchange fiat currency from a bank account or credit card for crypto like Ethereum. Transfer your Ethereum aka ETH to your Wallet and you will now be ready to make an NFT purchase.
  3. After installing the plugin and updating your Ethereum balance, navigate to the Larva Labs website or OpenSea. With the plugin activated, buttons that allow you to bid on or purchase punks will appear. 

Final Thoughts

CryptoPunks were a turning point in the world of cryptocurrency. While they began as a digital art project by two developers in New York City, these punks soon became something thought by many to be the beginning of the digital crypto art movement. If you have got a ton of ETH, you can easily buy a Punk for your NFT collection and show that bad boy off!

CryptoPunks range in cost significantly, but if your Ethereum balance is high enough, purchasing one from the Larva Labs or on OpenSea can mean a place in crypto history. Punks start at around $200,000 (2020) and go up from there. 

The other thing that is going up is the NFT and DeFi movement. Get up to speed with these viral articles:

  1. NFT Vs DeFi: The Differences Explained
  2. How To Get Your NFT Art Noticed: Complete Guide
  3. When Will NFTs Crash? 3 Possible Scenarios


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