What Are Larva Labs' CryptoPunks?

What Are Larva Labs' CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks are a notable example of collectible crypto art represented as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. This collection consists of 10,000 unique 8-bit-style characters, which have had a significant impact on the crypto art space. The success of CryptoPunks has inspired numerous crypto artists and contributed to the development of the ERC-721 token standard for digital collectibles. Notably, certain CryptoPunks have fetched multimillion-dollar prices, highlighting their status as highly valuable NFTs.


CryptoPunks may appear unremarkable at first glance, with their small pixelated faces confined within tiny squares. Some wear hats, smoke pipes, or even assume alien forms. However, the true value of these NFTs lies beneath their seemingly simple exterior.

Owning one of these peculiar-looking punks could potentially grant you the means to acquire anything from a modest apartment to an expansive mansion. With only 10,000 of these 8-bit-style CryptoPunks in existence, they have become highly sought-after collectibles. Their appeal lies not in their ability to fight or stake tokens but in their unique identities as mischievous punks.

Notably, CryptoPunks holds the distinction of being one of the pioneering projects in the NFT space. Its influence has paved the way for the development of the digital art market as we know it today.

Who Is Behind the Creation of CryptoPunks?

CryptoPunks, created by Larva Labs, is a significant project that helped popularize the concept of crypto art and NFTs. These unique NFTs, built on the Ethereum blockchain, consist of 10,000 punks with a mix of attributes, including various genders and even unconventional characters like apes, aliens, and zombies.

Originally distributed for free, the popularity of CryptoPunks has soared over time, along with the broader NFT trend. Notably, the prestigious auction house Christie's has begun selling collections of these artworks, with some estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

Among the CryptoPunks, the highest-selling punk achieved a remarkable price of 4,200 ETH (approximately $7.58 million at the time of sale). This punk, a pale-looking alien with a headband, holds the record for the highest CryptoPunk sale to date. Additionally, the second-place punk, CryptoPunk #7804, was sold for a similar amount of ETH, showcasing the increasing value of these digital collectibles.

While CryptoPunks holds an esteemed position in the NFT market, it is important to note that other NFTs, like Beeple's "EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS," have achieved even higher prices, with one sale reaching a staggering $69,346,250.

How Do CryptoPunks Work?

During the inception of the project, the ERC-721 token standard, now commonly utilized for NFTs, had not yet been established. As a result, Larva Labs had to work with the existing ERC-20 protocol. In an innovative move, the team made necessary modifications to the ERC-20 code, enabling the creation of non-fungible items. This pioneering approach catalyzed the subsequent development of the ERC-721 standard.

If we examine the token on Etherscan, we can observe that the Max Total Supply is set at 10,000. Although the punks may appear as ERC-20 tokens, they possess unique characteristics that distinguish them from identical tokens.

To ensure the authenticity of each CryptoPunk, a verification process is employed. This involves hashing the reference image of the punk and comparing it to a specific image hash stored in the token's contract. Since the images themselves cannot be stored on the blockchain due to their size, Larva Labs devised a solution. They created a composite image that encompasses all 10,000 punks, and a corresponding hash of this composite image is included in the CryptoPunks token contract.

Now, how does one determine which specific punk they own? Each CryptoPunk's token contains metadata that indicates its position within the composite image. For example, CryptoPunk #7804 signifies that it is the 7,804th punk in the comprehensive composite image.

Where Can I Buy CryptoPunks?

Larva Labs not only created the CryptoPunks themselves but also developed a dedicated marketplace on the CryptoPunks website. This marketplace serves as a platform where users can place bids, purchase, and sell CryptoPunks. To participate in the marketplace, users need to install MetaMask and connect it to the website.

In addition to the CryptoPunks website, these pixelated punks have also gained a presence on OpenSea, a prominent NFT marketplace on the Ethereum network. However, there is a slight difference. CryptoPunks have been wrapped into ERC-721 tokens, allowing them to be traded on various NFT marketplaces.

Converting an ERC-721 CryptoPunk back into its original ERC-20 form is a straightforward process. This conversion occurs through Wrapped PUNKS and requires the use of a MetaMask wallet that contains the specific CryptoPunk being unwrapped or wrapped.


CryptoPunks, although no longer unique in the realm of NFTs, were once trailblazers in terms of their artistic significance on the blockchain. Unlike CryptoKitties, which incorporated gamification elements, each CryptoPunk is essentially a standalone image devoid of additional functionalities. However, the enduring popularity of CryptoPunks is evident through the multitude of projects directly influenced by their concept.

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