Made popular by celebrities like Jay-Z, profile pic non fungible tokens (PFP NFTs) can be used as a buyer’s profile picture or avatar on social media platforms such as Twitter. Christie’s will be the first to auction PFP NFTs in an online-only sale from September 17th to 28th. During the sale, titled “With No Time Like Present,” buyers will be able to bid on different types of PFP NFTs from multiple series such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), and Meebits.
CryptoPunks are a collection of 10,000 pixelated faces including humans, zombies, apes, and aliens. LarvaLabs, the developers of CryptoPunks, introduced Meebits as a follow up to the punks. The Meebits are also pixel-based NFTs, but they are rendered in 3D with a full body. An additional asset pack allows owners to drop their Meebits into standard animation software, which makes it possible to use them as avatars in the metaverse, a virtual shared space. Christie’s will be offering a particularly rare Meebit, which depicts a skull wearing a black suit.
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CryptoPunks has broken through to the mainstream art market, but Bored Apes and Meebits have had a limited following, primarily among crypto insiders. As labs and creators attempt to distinguish their digital art projects from one another, Bored Apes come with extra perks for buyers including access to a private community of active PFP NFT buyers via Discord and Telegram messaging platforms.
Bored Ape NFTs are unique, created through an algorithm designed by Yugo Labs, which mashes together traits and characteristics like accessories and fur color. Rare traits, such as illustrated lasers coming out of an Ape’s eyes, attract particularly high prices. A party hat–wearing Ape with lasers shooting out of its eyes sold for $653,344 on OpenSea just this week. Christie’s will be offering an Ape with a variety of other rare traits including cheetah print skin, a black suit, and a halo.
The auction house’s expansion of its NFT-only sales is driven by a desire to cultivate a new generation of buyers. According to a recent press release, 73% of NFT sales registrants are new to Christie’s and skew much younger than the average age of clients in other sales.
Noah Davis, senior digital art specialist at Christie’s, is particularly excited to see how well a Zombie Punk does at the auction. “A Zombie traded last Friday for 1500 ETH [nearly $4.7 million],” Davis wrote in an email. “Christie’s Zombie could beat that price.”
Since Apes and Meebits NFTs are still quite new, Christie’s is labelling them as “estimate unknown.” CryptoPunks, on the other hand, comes to the sale with a more established auction record and will have estimates available closer to the auction date.