Later this month, Sotheby’s will dedicate a single-lot auction to a collection of “CryptoPunks,” a group of NFT avatars designed by Larva Labs. Set to hit the block during a live sale in New York under the tile “Punk It!,” a grouping of 104 “CryptoPunks” will be offered as a single lot on February 23. That set is expected to fetch $20 million–$30 million.
Each punk in the set is rendered as pixelated cartoon-like character donning a certain hairstyle. If the set reaches its low estimate, it will be among the most expensive NFTs art ever sold. Though it likely won’t outpace The First 5,000 Days (2021), the Beeple NFT that sold for $69.3 million last year during a digital sale at Christie’s, the grouping of “CryptoPunks” seems on track to also become one of the most expensive NFTs sold at an in-person auction.
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Sotheby’s struck gold in the crypto-space in the last year, bringing in $100 million in NFT sales in 2021. A significant chunk of that sum came from the sale of CryptoPunk #7523, also known as the “Covid Alien,” which was auctioned for $11.8 million in June.
The “CryptoPunks” are known as PFPs (profile pictures), which were initially meant to be used as avatars for social media accounts and have since become some of the most popular NFTs. The founders of Larva Labs, the Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson, began developing their “CryptoPunks” in 2017, producing 10,000 algorithmically generated portraits of various punk characters, with their renderings ranging from human caricatures to alien and zombie “types.” Some of these NFTs are now considered highly rare. This present group of CryptoPunks was first acquired in a single transaction by an anonymous buyer identified as “0x650d.”
“CryptoPunks are the original PFP series that created the template for other NFT projects that have followed,” said Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s co-head of digital art.