CryptoPunks: Betting on Community?

Some thoughts on the recent CryptoPunks boom and what it means to Ethereum’s community

Hey DEFI TIMES community,

NFTs are back again! Have you noticed?

We don’t talk a lot about NFTs in this newsletter, but it seems like we have no other choice!

Nobody can ignore what’s going on anymore! NFTs are exploding right now!

Particularly, one NFT community stands out here: CryptoPunks!

I know many of you are skeptical about the recent hype. From the outside, it looks like another craze that’s going to pop soon.

But don’t judge it too fast - there’s something going on behind the scenes that’s not so easy to grasp: It’s all about community!

CryptoPunks are part of Ethereum’s culture. Every Ethereum community member wants one. But there’s one problem: Only 10,000 CryptoPunks exist! They are rare and very valuable! Right now, they are selling for over $100,000 per NFT. Crazy stuff!

Today, I will give you some thoughts on the recent CryptoPunks boom and what it means to Ethereum’s community!

Let’s explore where CryptoPunks come from and what it means to Ethereum’s culture right now!

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CryptoPunks: Betting on Community?

History of CryptoPunks

CryptoPunks are one of the first non-fungible-tokens (NFTs) in Ethereum’s history. They were released in June 2017 - during the famous crypto bubble!

CryptoPunks as a project was developed by Larva Labs, which is a two-person software developer team:

The idea of CryptoPunks is very simple: They are unique digital art pieces of only 24×24 pixel size. Think about that! The pictures could be even stored on the blockchain itself because they don’t consume too much data storage.

There are only 10,000 of them. Most punks have human characteristics (6039 are males and 3840 are females). 

However, there are also some special categories like Zombies, Apes, and Aliens. Among the 10,000 punks, only 88 Zombies and 24 Apes exist. The alien category is the rarest - only 9 exist.

Each of these punks has its own page. Each page has details about the specific punk’s features, availability status, transaction history, and owner.

In June 2017, punks were distributed for free and many Ethereum users were happy to claim them. Of course, they have significantly risen in value ever since. Today, each punk’s value heavily depends on its characteristics:

CryptoPunks Characteristics

The Ethereum community ranks punks based on various characteristics:

CryptoPunks Attributes

Punks are also ranked based on their attributes. Here are some examples.

There are so many variations of CryptoPunks, it’s very hard to keep track of them. In the end, there are 10,000 unique pieces of them!

Now that we know what CryptoPunks are and their origin story, let’s dive deeper and explore what they mean to Ethereum’s culture and community.

CryptoPunks: What They Mean to Ethereum

The success of CryptoPunks wasn’t all that clear from the very beginning. But they turned out to be an essential part of Ethereum’s community. Why is that so?

CryptoPunks play a big role in how we identify ourselves on the internet. Have you seen some people changing their Twitter profiles to punks lately? Many people did that, especially in the past few weeks.

That’s no coincidence - it’s about community!

People buy CryptoPunks and start to identify themselves with them. Because punks are NFTs, you can be sure that your punks are unique. Only you own it!

By changing your Twitter profile picture, you prove that you are part of the CryptoPunks movement. Punks are the faces of Ethereum early adopters because they were literally the first NFTs! If you own them, you are a true crypto OG. That makes CryptoPunks even more than worthless NFTs. They are a status symbol!

If you are part of the punks community, you show the world that you have high status inside the Ethereum ecosystem. Why? Because you either get some for free at the very beginning or you bought them for a lot of money. Either way, your CryptoPunks are super expensive right now and that’s why they represent a status symbol. In the real world, you buy a Rolex; in Ethereum, you buy CryptoPunks!

Pseudonymous Economy and NFTs

Things get even crazier when you start to realize that CryptoPunks are much more than just a status symbol - They are digital identities!

A person could potentially use CryptoPunks as their identity on the internet. Imagine someone running a Twitter account, who puts out valuable content and gains a big following over time. This person hides his true identity behind his CryptoPunk.

The person wouldn’t need to get their name out there. His or her reputation would strictly be tied to their avatar (in that case the CryptoPunk).

That’s what we call the pseudonymous economy.


CryptoPunks are more than just collectibles. They are part of the Ethereum culture/community; they can be used as status symbols or digital identities.

Whatever you use them for, remember that they are still very speculative and their ultimate use case is yet to be determined!

However, it’s great to see that NFTs are on the rise again; but this time, it’s about more than just JPEGs and useless celebrity hypes.

It’s about community!

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DISCLAIMER: All information presented above is meant for informational purposes only and should not be treated as financial, legal, or tax advice. This article's content solely reflects the opinion of the writer, who is not a financial advisor.

Do your own research before you purchase cryptocurrencies. Any cryptocurrency can go down in value. Holding cryptocurrencies is risky.