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‘CryptoPunk’ NFT set to break record at Sotheby’s auction


NFTs take a leap forward towards traditional art with Sotheby's auction.

An auction of 104 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is tipped to fetch as much as US$30 million at the Sotheby auctions, further bridging the gap between traditional and digital art.

Set to hit the block during a live sale in New York under "Punk It!", all 104 CryptoPunks will be offered as a single lot.

As such, a buyer is expected to spend between US$20 million and US$30 million to buy the 104 NFTs.

The auction, which is set to go live on 23 February, is largely predicted to set a new record even if it hits the lower side of estimations.

What is a CryptoPunk?

A CryptoPunk is an NFT of a small cartoon avatar.

Each of the NFTs are a set of rendered pixelated cartoon-like characters, with each having a unique style.

The value comes in the 10,000 unique NFTs. Despite the vastness of them, each are slightly unique with different features including facial hair, different coloured hair and some with a cigarette.

The rise of CryptoPunks

Launched on 23 June 2017 by Studio Larva Labs, the CryptoPunks were actually designed to be free for anyone with an ETH wallet.

The 10,000 Punks each have their own distinct look, with none looking exactly the same.

Fastforward a couple of years and today CryptoPunks are considered some of the most iconic NFTs ever created.

Why are they expected to sell for so much?

The easiest way to think about NFTs is similar to traditional art.

As the story goes in the crypto world when investors are asked to explain NFTs, it is: "Think of the Mona Lisa." Anybody on the Internet can download the famous picture and hang it on the wall, but there's only 1 original that can boast the receipt of ownership.

When it comes to CryptoPunk NFTs, they have all the right characteristics of a rare piece of art.

Like traditional art, their value varies based on the eye of the beholder, but as a collection they have 4 key important features:

  1. Popularity. CryptoPunks are some of the most popular NFTs in existence, adding to their value. In August 2021 alone, they had over $680 million in transactions, proving their popularity in the NFT community
  2. Scarcity. Even though they are digitally created, there are still only 10,000 CryptoPunks creating scarcity when it comes to the NFT.
  3. Age. For any investor looking to buy a bit of NFT history, they can do so through CryptoPunk as it is one of the oldest NFTs in existence.
  4. Importance. When it comes to NFTs, the CryptoPunks are largely caused as the catalyst for the modern crypto art movement. As such, investors are also buying a piece of history.

What does it mean for the NFTs?

The success of the CryptoPunk auction will ultimately help bridge the gap between the traditional art world and the NFT community.

While NFTs are still in their infancy, selling at a fine art auction will largely help the legitimacy of the asset class.

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