The story of million-dollar pixels: CryptoPunks

We are in an era where assets, the production, and storage of which are based on NFT technology, are gaining popularity day by day. Developing different applications in various fields such as art, games, sports and fashion increases the interest in the sector. In parallel with this, it is inevitable that the collections in the process of emergence of NFT turn into legends. It is one of these collectibles and is the first glimpse of the NFT ecosystem. So what is the story of the pixel star CryptoPunks collection?


The CryptoPunks collection is known as the first NFT collection to be mined on the Ethereum blockchain. In addition to playing an important role in the development of the ERC-721 protocol, which is the basis of NFTs, it has inspired many artists. The collection, which includes 10,000 different faces, is one of the first NFT projects.

Larva Labs

Larva Labs, known for producing the CryptoPunks NFT collection; Founded by Matt Hall and John Watkinson. We can say that the duo, who started the project in 2017, started the “crypto art” movement that we know today or spread it to a wider audience. Larva Labs started to serve in New York City, USA, and became known all over the world.

The movement started by Matt and John; It attracted the attention of important organizations, especially MIT Media Lab, Harvard Business School, Google and Microsoft. In addition, world-renowned auction houses – Christie’s and Sotheby’s – hosted and continue to host CryptoPunks auctions.

How does CryptoPunks work?

When the CryptoPunks series was launched, the ERC-721 protocol had not yet been discovered. Therefore, the algorithm that the CryptoPunks stream worked on was different from the algorithm used by the NFT projects we know. The ERC-20 protocol, which is used by many blockchain applications running on Ethereum, has been very effective in the work of CryptoPunks.

In parallel, you can view the CryptoPunks collection with its total supply on Etherscan as if it were an ERC-20 token.

So, how to detect the uniqueness of CryptoPunks avatars? I think the answer to this question is quite valuable. Because the ERC-721 algorithm is not included in CryptoPunks, which may cause confusion.

There is a reference image for each CryptoPunks avatar and the “hash” of the desired avatar is generated within the token contract. Hashes are random combinations of numbers and letters used to ensure uniqueness.

The storage space required to store images, namely IPFS technology, had not yet developed in its current form. Therefore, sorting takes place over the image containing all of the avatars.

In the image with 10,000 avatars, each CryptoPunks has a number. Additionally, these numbers are calculated according to the order in the image by Larva Labs. For example, “CryptoPunk #8200” is used to denote avatar number 8200.

CryptoPunks market

Earlier in our article, we stated that CryptoPunks avatars were developed using the ERC-20 protocol. Punks must be “wrapped” in order to be sold on NFT marketplaces. This is done with the help of the Metamask digital wallet.

The proliferation of the Wrapped transaction has resulted in CryptoPunks avatars appearing in many different NFT marketplaces.

We can say that there are 10,000 avatars in total and these avatars are differentiated among themselves according to their rarity levels. For example, the number of avatars wearing berets is 44. So, 44 ​​out of 10,000 makes bruised CryptoPunks avatars rare. Although male avatars are common, we can say that the price of a male avatar with a beret is higher than that of a male avatar without a beret.

A similar NFT explosion seen at the beginning of this year has started to occur again in the past months. With the increasing interest in the NFT industry, the prices of CryptoPunks avatars started to increase. From world-famous auction houses to crypto ecosystem investors, many art lovers follow the CryptoPunks trend closely. A bot has even been created to keep track of the current pricing of punk avatars.

SEE ALSO; What are fragmented NFTs? What does F-NFT mean?

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