Sotheby’s, one of the largest art brokers in the world, is set to hold a historic auction later this month – the sale of 104 CryptoPunk NFTs.
The single-lot sale is expected to amass around $20-30 million and has the highest valued estimate for an NFT or digital art ever offered at auction. The event, called Punk It!, will be held at the Sotheby’s auction house in New York on February 23. It will also be available to watch live for viewers around the world.
“The live evening auction will bring together the physical and digital in an unprecedented showcase for NFTs and digital art with a presentation on par with the most significant and high-profile sales for Contemporary and Modern art,” Sotheby’s said in a recent press release.
What is a Crypto Punk?
CryptoPunks burst onto the Ethereum blockchain in 2017, becoming one of the first NFT collections. The group of 10,000 unique characters was also the inspiration for the ERC-721 Standard now used in most digital art.
Each “punk” is a 24×24 pixel image created by an algorithm. The images are one-of-kind and encoded with a unique digital signature that enables owners to prove its authenticity. Most images are pixelated representations of classic punks, with mohawks, colored hair, and piercings. Many have cigarettes or pipes hanging from their mouths. Some, however, are apes or aliens, and the rarer images are, the more value they hold.
Fewer Pixels=Bigger Bucks
Since the creation of the characters, their value has skyrocketed. In 2021, Sotheby’s sold a single CryptoPunk for $11.8 million.
Currently, the lowest-priced Punk Available costs 67.4 ETH, or around $216,000.
Purchase Your Own Punk
During the initial mad dash to own an NFT, CrytptoPunks were available for anyone with an Ethereum wallet to buy. However, they now have to be purchased through the marketplace from someone who is embedded in the blockchain, according to Larva Labs. Still, the number of buyers continues to rise, with sales topping nearly12,000 in the last 12 months. Sites where individual Punks can be purchased include Rarible, OpenSea, NFT Showroom, SuperRare, and Marketplace Dashboard (axieinfinity.com), among others.