Cryptopunks Review: What Is It and Should You Invest?

Are you wondering what exactly Cryptopunks is? Click here to find out what Cryptopunks is and decide if it is the right investment for you.

NFTs took the internet by storm in 2021. During the infamous NFT summer, we saw projects like BAYC gain huge traction, with prices jumping through the roof, and big names buying into NFTs left and right.

And while it's great to see NFTs finally taking off, they actually got their start years ago. CryptoPunks is one of the original NFT projects, released back in 2017.

Today they are the most valuable NFT project on the market. And it's extremely difficult to get your hands on one of these pixelated punks.

But what exactly is a CryptoPunk, and how did they become an icon in the growing NFT industry? Read our CryptoPunks review to get educated on this foundational NFT project.

What Is CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks is an NFT collection containing 10,000 unique images of pixelated people. Each 24x24 pixel image contains traits that are algorithmically generated.

The art itself is very simple. At a glance, you wouldn't guess that one of these images is worth more than $150,000. But if you're into NFTs, you know that these JPEG images might be one of the best crypto investing decisions you ever make.

Punks vary based on skin color, hairstyle, eye color, and accessories like cigarettes or earrings.

The project was launched before anyone knew what NFTs were. No one anticipated that digital collectibles on the blockchain would become what they are today.

CryptoPunks had a modest launch back in 2017. But today they have a cult-like following. Every NFT collector aspires to own a CryptoPunk, even if there are countless new projects launching all the time, at a fraction of the price.

Had you bought one or two punks back then, and held them until now, you'd be sitting on some serious gains.

CryptoPunks Rarity

As of January 2022, the lowest you can pay to get your hands on a CrpytoPunk is about 60 ETH or $190,000. But sales of CryptoPunks often stretch into the millions.

Why is that? The collection has a built-in rarity factor. Certain traits within the collection only occur a handful of times, making them rare.

With a smaller supply and increasing demand, the price of those naturally increases.

For example, most punks are humans. But there are a handful of zombies, apes, and aliens, which are the rarest, and thus, the most valuable.

Other examples of rare rates include a gold chain around the neck, a medical mask, virtual reality goggles, and a tassel hat.

The least rare punks in the collection generally don't have any accessories other than an earring. They have basic hairstyles or a cap. These "common" punks are the ones you can get for the floor price (currently 60 ETH).

One of the rarest punks, an ape (of which there are nine) recently sold for $10 million, setting quite a few records.

Benefits of Holding CryptoPunks NFTs

Most of the NFT projects that came out in 2021, and many that are bursting onto the scene in 2022, come with ownership benefits. For example, holders of BAYC get access to digital, collaborative art canvas, along with an online community to connect with other holders (which includes many celebrities and high-profile investors).

They also get intellectual property rights over any NFT image that they own. So BAYC holders can print their ape on shirts or other merchandise and sell it.

So what does CryptoPunks offer? None of that. CryptoPunks was launched at a time when NFT utility wasn't a huge concern. It's a collector's item through and through.

If you owned the Mona Lisa, all you would do is display it. There's nothing else you would do with such a valuable work of art.

CryptoPunks is similar. It's the ownership, the holding of one of the original NFT projects that matter.

You do get bragging rights, however. And in the online world, bragging rights are worth a lot.

History of the Punks

The CryptoPunks NFT project came out in the summer of 2017. It was created by a two-person team that ran Larva Labs studio.

Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson took inspiration from things like the punk scene in London as well as the science-fiction genre, cyberpunk.

The two developers behind the project have a long history when it comes to software development, having launched countless projects in the past, and working with high-profile clients like Google and Microsoft.

The team also went on to launch the project Meebits in 2021, an NFT collection of 20,000 3D, pixelated characters.

But back to CryptoPunks, the punks were made available for free. All you had to do to collect your punk(s) was pay the Ethereum gas fees.

In 2022, gas fees on Ethereum are often above $100 for a single transaction. But back in 2017, with little network activity on Ethereum, gas fees were almost non-existent.

The team held onto 1,000 CryptoPunks while releasing 9,000 to the public. Contrary to what you might think, the 9,000 NFTs were not picked up right away.

But then the website Mashable published a story about the project and the remaining punks were snatched within 24 hours.

The rest, they say, is history, as eventually the project went viral. Auctions at Christie's, celebrities using punks as their profile picture, and even major corporations purchasing punks have been common in recent months.

NFTs that Pre-Date ERC-721

While most NFTs minted today are based on the ERC-721 token standard, CryptoPunks came out before it existed. So CryptoPunk is one of the few NFT projects you can buy that isn't an ERC-721 token.

If you're a digital collector, that alone might be a selling point for you. It's kind of like buying the original sketches of a painting.

CryptoPunks, however, was a huge milestone and inspiration for the creation of the ERC-721 token standard, which all of us NFT collectors utilize on a daily basis today.

CryptoPunks Price History

CryptoPunks prices

As mentioned earlier, you could claim a CryptoPunk for free at the time of launch. Gas costs were minimal, so it was easy for interested collectors to gather up quite a few punks.

But today, with a floor price of 60 ETH, the entire collection boasts a market cap of more than $5 billion. For a collection of pixelated JPEGS.

It took years for CryptoPunks to become what it is today, though. In June 2017, when the project was launched, the average secondary sales price was about $60.

July and August 2017 saw a boost in average sales price, hitting $140, before dropping into a slump that lasted until 2020.

Throughout the majority of 2020, you could've purchased a punk for between $200 and $500. In September 2020, the price started to take off, causing past an average sales price of $1,000.

By February 2021, the average sale was almost $40,000. Then, as NFT summer took the internet by storm, the average sale of CryptoPunks reach almost $500,000 before calming down to a manageable $200,000.

Needless to say, anyone who purchased a CryptoPunk in 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020 is doing very well today if they're still holding onto it.

CryptoPunks Hype

In recent months, the hype surrounding the CryptoPunks project has drawn many high-profile buyers. While there are many unknown investors that hold dozens, and in some cases hundreds of CrpytoPunks, there are also many public faces sporting a CrpytoPunk.

Famous entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuck, believes in the long-term future of NFTs and owns at least one CryptoPunk.

Jay-Z bought in during the pre-punk rally of 2021 and used his NFT as his online profile picture. Snoop Dogg owns at least nine CryptoPunks, two of which are zombies. Others in the music industry who also own punks include Jason Derulo, Marshmello, 3LAU, and Steve Aoki.

Athletes Odell Beckham Jr., Serena Williams, and Logan Paul also own some punks. Even companies like Visa are jumping on the bandwagon, having bought a CryptoPunk for about $150,000.

CryptoPunks has also become synonymous with fine art collecting.

The Larva Labs team auctioned off some CryptoPunks at the famed Christie's auction house. A total of nine punks were purchased for $16.9 million in May 2021.

In June 2021, CryptoPunk 7523 was listed for auction at Sotheby's, one of the highest-profile art marketplaces in the world.

This particular punk was dubbed the "COVID Punk" thanks to the fact that it's an alien wearing a medical mask. This individual punk was sold for $11.7 million.

The Future of CryptoPunks

So what about the future of CryptoPunks? Where is the project going? No one really knows.

It's common for new NFT projects to include roadmaps, future utility, and plans to carry the brand forward into the future. But CryptoPunks was built before this became the norm.

At the time of writing, the team hasn't announced any future developments of the CryptoPunks project or brand. However, as the original NFT project, this doesn't mean CryptoPunks will ever fade away.

It has a loyal collector base and its legacy will last a long time.

Can we expect more from Larva Labs? They're probably cooking something special up right now. And anything that this team produces is going to be very valuable, so make sure to stay up to date via social media. You can also join their discord server for direct interaction with the team.

Alternatives to Buying CryptoPunks

Due to explosive growth in the last two years, most people will never be able to purchase a CryptoPunk. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the action. There are plenty of other projects worthy of investment and collection.

CryptoPunks Derivatives

Derivative projects are those that are heavily influenced by a previous project. CryptoPunks has spawned many punk-related derivative projects. Some may be worth collecting, while many aren't. None are affiliated with CryptoPunks.

One of the most promising is 3D FrankenPunks. Released in January 2022, this is a 3D art project based on CryptoPunks. 10,000 NFTs make up the collection, with more than 90 unique traits.

And the best part? With the funds generated from the NFT sales, the team behind the project is purchasing actual CryptoPunk NFTs and storing them in community wallets.

Purchasing a 3D FrankenPunk provides indirect access to the CryptoPunk legacy.

Dead Fellaz

Dead Fellaz NFTs Credit Dead Fellaz

A collection of 10,000 undead NFTs, Dead Fellaz has built up a strong community. The floor price on the project has been rising steadily, but it's still very affordable to buy into compared to CryptoPunks.


Robotos NFTs Credit Robotos

A newer project, Robotos has become very popular thanks to its fresh, yet cute art style. When you buy a Roboto NFT, you get the original GIF files, as well as a PNG file to use as your profile picture.

Alien Frens

Alien Frens Credit Alien Frens

Launched in December 2021, Alien Frens has become one of the most popular NFT projects in just a matter of weeks. The project was released for a 0.02 ETH mint price and hit a 3.5 ETH floor price less than four weeks later.

The project has a strong road map ahead, which includes future releases, in-real-life events, and much more. Getting into this project now could be a great opportunity.

Should You Buy a CryptoPunk?

We don't give financial or investment advice. Any decision to buy into an NFT project, whether it's CryptoPunks or another project, is ultimately up to you.

It's important not to rush your buying decision or to give in to FOMO. Always do your own research (DYOR).

That being said, CryptoPunks is the original blue-chip NFT project. It has solidified itself as the original NFT project, and we believe that it will always retain in value, and also continue increasing as the masses start entering the NFT space.

CryptoPunks is kind of like bitcoin. It's the original collector's item. Even though newer projects will come along, with advanced art techniques, unmatched utility, and intellectual property rights, the greater NFT space, and fine art community, will hold CryptoPunks in high regard.

If you have the cash to invest in a CryptoPunk, it wouldn't be a bad decision. The value is likely to increase over time, making your investment worthwhile.

If you do, make sure to use it as your profile picture to establish yourself as a true legend, and to make all the NFT newbies jealous. Most people purchase their punk on OpenSea, but the newer NFT platform, LooksRare, might be a better option, as you earn rewards from buying and selling.

Long Live CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks was not the first NFT ever launched. But everyone agrees that this is the first notable NFT collection launched, which has helped spawn an entire industry of generative NFT projects.

Buying one now is a serious investment. But as a blue-chip NFT, it's likely your investment will retain its value over the long term, and possibly be worth much more in the coming years.

While we don't give investing advice, we do provide news and updates for important projects and companies in the NFT space.