CryptoPunks volume surges 1,000% after Christie’s sets auction

This is a digital auction for CryptoPunks, kinda like how Christie's will auction a set on May.

World’s largest auction house Christie’s is prepping its second NFT auction: a set of nine CryptoPunks direct from their creators.

Christie’s says it’s accepting bids for the collection during the house’s “21st Century Evening Sale,” to be held in New York on May 13.

CryptoPunks could initially be claimed effectively for free by anyone with an Ethereum wallet. The story goes that in 2017, two-person unit Larva Labs kept 1,000 for themselves “just in case it becomes a thing.”

Four years later and CryptoPunks are some of the highest selling NFTs on the market, reportedly boasting around $200 million in official sales to date.

News of the Christie’s sale has already had an impact, with trade volumes surging 1,000% in the past day to reach $13 million, according to CryptoSlam

CryptoPunks started as an experiment 

CryptoPunks lore says the project started as an experiment in which devs embedded the hash of each image into a smart contract so they could be bought and sold.

Larva Labs used an algorithm to give each CryptoPunk different attributes like hats, hair, and lipstick. Some attributes appear less frequently — those are considered more valuable. 

CryptoPunks sales chart courtesy of DeGenData.

This would later inspire the creation of the ERC-721 token standard and copy-cats like CryptoKitties — the other other generative collectible that almost broke the Ethereum blockchain.

A wonderland for speculators

Unlike Christie’s auction for Beeple’s $69 million collage, the firm hasn’t bothered to estimate how much Larva Labs’ set of nine CryptoPunks might fetch. But, some sell for small fortunes.

  • The top CryptoPunk (#3100), a pale blue alien with a headband, recently sold for 4,200 ETH ($7.58 million). 
  • Its previous owner bought it for 8 ETH in 2017, worth about $2,000 at the time.
  • That works out to be over $7.5 million profit for ‘holding’ a PNG for four years.

[Read more: Christie’s pegged a Beeple NFT at $200 — but bidders say over $2M]

There’s no doubt speculators are comfortable in the current NFT market, but the craze is showing signs of slowing down.

Bloomberg reported last week that average NFT prices had fallen nearly 70% since February’s peak. 

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