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CryptoPunks NFTs Review

CryptoPunks were the first major NFT collectible set to be released on Ethereum back in 2017.

There are 10,000 different CryptoPunks characters to collect, and the proof-of-ownership over these characters is tracked on the Ethereum blockchain. There is only one copy of each CryptoPunk issued on Ethereum, which makes this collectible set particularly unique.

The CryptoPunks NFT collectible platform attempts to stay true to the decentralized ethos of blockchain technology, so these collectibles cannot be purchased with credit cards or PayPal. Instead, buyers must make their purchase in ETH and store their CryptoPunks on their own in an Ethereum-compatible wallet such as MetaMask. While this setup is attractive to hardcore cryptocurrency enthusiasts, it may limit the platform’s potential in terms of attracting a mainstream userbase. That said, CryptoPunks is second only to NBA Top Shots in terms of terms of all-time sales of NFT collectibles, and multiple CryptoPunks have sold more millions of dollars.

CryptoPunks Top Shot Pros & Cons


  • First NFT collectibles project on Ethereum

  • 10,000 unique CryptoPunk characters and several have sold for more than $1 million

  • Compatible with the popular MetaMask wallet

  • Second most successful NFT collectible set of all-time in terms of sales


  • Higher on-chain fees due to using Ethereum

  • Each CryptoPunk is generated by a computer rather than a human

  • Cannot be purchased via traditional payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal

  • Requirement to collect in non-custodial wallets weakens user friendliness

How to Buy CryptoPunks NFTs

The first step you’ll need to take if you want to purchase your very own CryptoPunk NFT is to get yourself an Ethereum wallet.

One of the most popular wallets for interacting with Ethereum-based applications is MetaMask, and that is usually the recommended wallet when it comes to buying and selling CryptoPunks. You can choose to either install the MetaMask Chrome extension or download the mobile wallet app.

The next step will be to get some ETH to put into your MetaMask wallet. You need a bit of ETH to pay for any kind of transaction on the Ethereum network, which means sending a CryptoPunk to someone else requires you to have some ETH in your wallet.

Additionally, those who want to buy CryptoPunks on the base platform from Larva Labs will need to make their payment denominated in ETH. There are a variety of options for purchasing ETH, and you can even get your ETH from within the MetaMask wallet via a credit card or debit card purchase. Once you have some ETH, you can head to the official CryptoPunks market from Larva Labs and begin shopping. Remember, you will need enough ETH to both pay for the CryptoPunk you want to buy in addition to some ETH for the gas fee associated with making the ETH-denominated payment.

It should be noted that wrapped versions of CryptoPunks are also available for purchase on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea. If you buy your CryptoPunks on OpenSea, you will have more options in terms of cryptocurrencies that can be used to make your purchase, but you’ll still need some ETH to pay for gas.

History of CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks was launched in June 2017 by Larva Labs. This was amid the first major crypto asset bubble that involved Ethereum. While most of the attention was paid to initial coin offerings (ICOs) at the time, the concept of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was also gaining some traction, perhaps most notably via the Cryptokitties collectibles.

Despite was is commonly believed, CryptoPunks launched prior to Cryptokitties, and CryptoPunks were so early to the game that a standard for NFTs did not even exist at the time of inception. Instead of using the now common ERC-721 standard, CryptoPunks was launched via the same ERC-20 standard that was being used to launch ICOs at the time. 10,000 unique CryptoPunks were generated via artifical intelligence, and the CryptoPunks collectible set was born. In the beginning, 9,000 CryptoPunks were given away for free. The remaining 1,000 were kept by the developers behind the project.

As of June 2021, more than $350 million worth of CryptoPunks sales have happened in the history of the NFT collectible. This is second only to NBA Top Shot in terms of NFT collectible sales, and it makes CryptoPunks by far the most successful collectible issued on Ethereum (NBA Top Shot uses the Flow blockchain). Two of the largest NFT sales of all time happened on March 11, 2021 when two separate CryptoPunks were sold for roughly $7.5 million worth of ETH each. And these are not the only CryptoPunks that have sold for north of $1 million worth of ETH. For many, the 10,000 CryptoPunk limit is viewed as similar to the 21 million bitcoin supply cap, which could help explain the high level of interest in this particular NFT collectible set.

While CryptoPunks are sometimes referred to as the first-ever NFT collectible set, the reality is that they are predated by other NFTs such as Rare Pepes on Counterparty.

Advantages of CryptoPunks

One of the key advantages of CryptoPunks is the 10,000 limit on the number of CryptoPunks that will ever be created. This is somewhat similar to bitcoin’s limit of 21 million coins; however, the reality is that these two limits are implemented very differently. At the end of the day, CryptoPunks users have to trust the developers of the NFT collectible set that they will not issue any new CryptoPunks in the future. Of course, issuing more CryptoPunks could also lead to a crash in the market, so it’s possible there is an incentive for the developers to keep their promise. This promised limit in the supply of CryptoPunks combined with the fact that the collectible set was the first major NFT issued on Ethereum is what has drawn a large amount of attention to it over the past three or four years.

Another advantage of CryptoPunks is the large amount of success it has enjoyed, especially starting in the years after it was originally launched. In terms of all-time NFT collectible sales, only NBA Top Shot has moved more NFT volume than CryptoPunks. This is a rather huge accomplishment when you consider that NBA Top Shots has an official license from the National Basketball Association. Multiple CryptoPunks have sold for millions of dollars, and even Jay-Z has changed his Twitter profile picture to a CryptoPunk.

A final advantage of CryptoPunks worth considering is that this NFT collectible platform stays true to the decentralization ethos around cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The Larva Labs platform that is used to buy and sell NFTs is completely non-custodial, and it works well with the well-known Ethereum wallet MetaMask.

Disadvantages of CryptoPunks

Most of the disadvantages of CryptoPunks have to do with issues that can arise due to the collectible set’s dedication to decentralization. In short, interacting with a blockchain directly is still rather difficult for the average person on the street.

CryptoPunks’s use of Ethereum has turned out to be particularly problematic in 2021, as the blockchain network tends to have higher fees than other platforms that are used for handling NFTs. That said, CryptoPunks are so expensive that the transaction fees associated with buying them will end up being a rounding error in many cases. Still, there are plenty of people who would rather use a custodial NFT platform, as is the case with NBA Top Shot, instead of having to worry about handling their own wallet and securely storing their private key.

Additionally, there is currently not an easy method of buying and selling CryptoPunks through the use of traditional payment rails such as a credit card or PayPal. That said, the creation of Wrapped CryptoPunks has made the NFT collectible set compatible with large NFT marketplaces like OpenSea. However, the need to have some ETH to pay for gas on the Ethereum blockchain when buying a CryptoPunk is still a bit of a nuisance.

It should also be noted that the NFT market as a whole is extremely new and it’s unclear if it will be sustainable. When it’s all said and done, CryptoPunks may turn out to be more similar to Beanie Babies than any kind of collectible that has held value over the long term.

CryptoPunks Frequently Asked Questions

The two main locations where CryptoPunks are currently available for sale are the official Larva Labs website and OpenSea. You will only be able to purchase CryptoPunks with ETH on the Larva Labs website, but you can use a variety of crypto assets, including stablecoins, to make your purchase on OpenSea.

Yes, CryptoPunks are a set of NFT collectibles. NFT stands for non-fungible tokens. However, it should be noted that CryptoPunks were originally issued as ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum, which is not the NFT standard that is used today.

The two most expensive CryptoPunks ever sold were purchased on March 11, 2021. These were CryptoPunks #7804 and #3100. Each of these CryptoPunks sold for roughly $7.5 million worth of ETH. Larva Labs lists the twelve most expensive CryptoPunks ever sold on their website.

Christie’s is an auction house that was founded all the way back in 1766. They’re known for a number of notable auctions, including the most expensive work of art ever sold. In March of 2021, Christie’s held an auction for the sale of nine CryptoPunks from the project’s creators, which sold for $16.9 million.

Yes, CryptoPunks are available on OpenSea via the Wrapped CryptoPunks project, which makes CryptoPunks compatible with Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces.

No, there is no coin or token associated with the CryptoPunks platform. The best way to invest in the increased adoption of CryptoPunks would be to purchase one of the 10,000 unique NFTs in the set.

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