CryptoPunks: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research June 20, 2023

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  • CryptoPunks are a collection of 10,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs), each of which is a unique character in 8-bit art style
  • Each CryptoPunk has a distinct design and attributes - such as hairstyle, facial hair and other features
  • CryptoPunks are stored on the Ethereum blockchain
  • Rare CryptoPunks have sold for millions of dollars at auction


CryptoPunks are a collection of 10,000 non-fungible token (NFT) characters stored on Ethereum. The set of 8-bit art characters were created by software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson, who were inspired by the punk rock movement of the 1970s. The CryptoPunks project was one of the first NFT projects on the Ethereum blockchain. It quickly gained a following within the cryptocurrency community.

A Brief History

Larva Labs, a small software development studio based in New York City, launched the CryptoPunks project in June 2017. The project was an experiment to see if people would be interested in buying and trading unique digital assets on the blockchain. At the time, the concept of NFTs was still relatively new. Few projects had gained mainstream attention.

Despite this, CryptoPunks quickly gained a following within the cryptocurrency community. Within a few months of launching, some CryptoPunks were selling for thousands of dollars each. By early 2018, the project had gained enough attention that it was featured in an article in The New York Times. This helped further increase the popularity of the NFTs.

Over the years, the value of CryptoPunks has continued to rise. Some NFTs have sold for millions of dollars at auction.

What are CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks are unique, 8-bit characters stored on the Ethereum blockchain as NFTs. Each CryptoPunk has its own distinct design and attributes, such as accessories. Some CryptoPunks

are more rare than others. CryptoPunks are some of the most valuable and sought-after digital assets in the cryptocurrency space.

The CryptoPunk project was created without any specific purpose in mind. Unlike some other NFT projects that are tied to a specific game or platform, CryptoPunks are simply digital collectibles. They can be bought, sold and traded just like any other crypto asset.

CryptoPunks were created using a generative algorithm. This means that each CryptoPunk was randomly generated using a special computer program. No two designs are exactly the same. The algorithm used to create CryptoPunks was designed to ensure that each NFT is completely unique, with no duplicates or copies.

Getting Started

  • Buy and sell. Purchasing a CryptoPunk requires having an Ethereum wallet and some ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. The easiest way to get started is to purchase ether on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase. The user should then transfer the ether to an Ethereum wallet. Once the user has ether in a wallet, they can visit the official CryptoPunks website to browse available characters and purchase one.
  • Display. CryptoPunks are a unique form of digital art. Many collectors enjoy displaying their CryptoPunks in online galleries, on large displays or on social media platforms.
  • Estimate their value. The price of CryptoPunks varies depending on a character's rarity and desirability. The most sought-after characters can sell for millions of dollars. Others can be purchased for a few thousand dollars.

Unique Aspects

  • 8-bit design. The CryptoPunks characters were intentionally created with a retro aesthetic to pay homage to the early days of video games, which used 8-bit graphics. Each character has its own unique combination of traits like hats. Some characters have rare attributes, such as alien or zombie traits. These can significantly increase their value.
  • Scarcity. There are only 10,000 CryptoPunks characters in existence. Each one is unique. The rarity of certain characters has made them highly sought after by collectors and investors. Since CryptoPunks are stored on the Ethereum blockchain, they are immutable and cannot be replicated or duplicated.
  • Significant impact on the broader NFT market. The success of CryptoPunks has inspired numerous other NFT projects. Many of these have gone on to achieve their own levels of success. CryptoPunks has also helped to legitimize the concept of digital ownership. It has paved the way for the development of new use cases for NFTs, including in-game items, virtual real estate and personal identity verification.


  • Unique Characters. Each CryptoPunk is unique and cannot be replicated. This makes every character a one-of-a-kind asset. The uniqueness is a significant advantage in the NFT market, in which collectors value exclusive ownership of digital assets.
  • Rarity. Only 10,000 CryptoPunks were created. They are a rare and sought-after asset. Rarity is a significant factor in determining the value of an NFT. The limited supply of CryptoPunks has contributed to the high valuation of these items.
  • Historical Significance. CryptoPunks are considered to be one of the first NFT projects. This makes it historically significant in the development of the NFT market. Owning a CryptoPunk is owning a piece of NFT history.
  • High Demand. CryptoPunks have a high demand in the NFT market. They are a valuable asset for investors and collectors. The high demand for CryptoPunks has led to record-breaking sales in the millions of dollars.
  • Community. CryptoPunks have a vibrant and active community of collectors and enthusiasts. The community provides a platform for discussion, trading and collaboration. CryptoPunks characters can be an attractive asset for individuals interested in the NFT market.


  • High Cost. CryptoPunks are among the most expensive NFTs in the market. Some sell for millions of dollars. The high cost of CryptoPunks can be a significant barrier to entry for many investors and collectors.
  • Limited Supply. Only 10,000 CryptoPunks were created. The limited supply makes it difficult for new investors and collectors to acquire a CryptoPunk.
  • Market Volatility. The NFT market is still relatively new and volatile. The value of CryptoPunks can fluctuate significantly. This volatility can make it difficult for investors to accurately predict the future value of their CryptoPunk investments.
  • Technical Challenges. NFTs are stored on the blockchain. This can be a technically challenging concept for some investors and collectors to understand. The technical nature of NFTs are a barrier to entry for some potential investors and collectors.