70. CyberPunks – the story of the most popular NFT collection in the crypto industry!

This is one of the earliest collections of non-transferable tokens (NFTs) on Ethereum. A collection that consists of 10,000 thousand tokens. Each token represents a unique pixelated punk character measuring 24×24. The characters have their own unique characteristics.

The tokens have the portrait appearance of punks. The token is 8 bits long and is great for representing identity. Not surprisingly, CryptoPunks are often referred to as ‘profile pictures’ (PFPs).

Due to their long history, rarity and role in the cryptocurrency and NFT sector, they are some of the most valuable NFTs on the market. Trading them is typically equated to trading works of art!

CryptoPunks – History

The Punks’ collection was founded in 2017. Its creators are Larva Labs, which was founded by Matt Hall and John Watkinson. They are two Canadian developers who were heavily involved in creative technology solutions at the time.

How did they come to design the CyberPunks collection? They are both fascinated by the London punk scene and the cyberpunk movement. They created the collection to explore the idea of digital ownership and to showcase this subculture. Larva Labs did not stop at this NFT collection. In the following years, other projects were released, including Meebits and Autoglyphs. In 2022, the company sold the intellectual property of Punks and Meebits to Yuga Labs, the company that developed Bored Ape Yacht Club.

You know what else is fascinating about this collection? The fact that each token was generated by an algorithm that selects attributes from a predetermined pool. This random generation system is called generative art. It has revolutionised the concept of creating digital art and non-interchangeable tokens. Many of the equally valuable NFT collections have adopted these methods.

How was the collection created and designed?

As we mentioned earlier, the CryptoPunks were created using generative art. This term is used for non-exchangeable tokens whose creation depends on an algorithm that randomly selects predefined characteristics. This process ultimately leads to the differentiation of individual units and features.

It is easy to explain. The Intelligent Contract was to take out 10,000 punks. He chose pseudo-randomly from 5 predetermined types of punks: alien, ape, zombie, female and male. He also had up to 87 attributes to decide from: hair types, beard, eyes, nose and more. As a result of this draw, most tokens received between 2 and 4 of these attributes. Interestingly, the intelligent contract also excluded nine foreign tokens and only one with seven attributes. As a result, they are rarer on the market and their price is consequently higher.

By introducing generative art to the cryptocurrency industry, the CryptoPunks have been a guide and inspiration for other developers and artists. Since then, it has even become standard practise to introduce a collection of non-exchangeable PFP-type tokens. It was the Punks who paved the way for other collections.

It will also not surprise you to learn that CryptoPunks was created on Ethereum. At the time, unfortunately, there was no other way to supplant NFT. Punks has a standard ERC-721.

In June 2017, a smart contract was published on the Ethereum blockchain. In the following 8 days, users collected up to 9,000 punks, while developers kept the remaining 1,000. What did you have to do to get your CryptoPunk? Go to the relevant website and knock it out for free. Those who wanted to own a CryptoPunk simply paid a gas fee.

At the time, each NFT representing a CryptoPunk was a token that was also part of an image representing all 10,000 Punks. The entire image was stored outside the blockchain, and the developers compared the encrypted code in the contract with the downloaded image. The authenticity of a particular Punk was then determined based on its position in the grid.

In 2021, the collection was fully transferred to the Blockchain. CryptoPunks v2 was then created. All images were ported directly to the Ethereum ecosystem. Scalable vector graphics (SVG) were used for this.

Is it worth owning CryptoPunk?

There is no clear answer to this question, even though the most expensive CryptoPunk was sold for 24 million US dollars. Of course, the collection has also attracted many investors and collectors over time. But – was it all about the monetary value? For many collectors, the punks have a historical and nostalgic value. There are investors who have held their CryptoPunks since 2017.


CryptoPunks is the first collection of NFTs ever to hit the market. It consists of 10,000 unique Punks, created with generative art. The collection has paved the way for other projects and is often an inspiration to other creatives and artists.

Complete today’s lesson!

  1. What is Ethereum? [BASIC LEVEL]
  2. What is a smart contract? [BASIC LEVEL].
  3. What is an NFT token? [BASIC LEVEL]
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