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Christie’s to Auction Off 9 CryptoPunks for an estimated $7–9 Million Tonight

Nine CryptoPunks being offered at Christie’s 21st Century Evening sale

Nine CryptoPunks being offered at Christie’s 21st Century Evening sale on May 13, 2021. Courtesy of Christie’s

The 255-year-old auction house is set to sell this set of nine of these popular NFTs at 8 PM EST tonight, as part of their 21st Century Evening Sale. It is estimated by Christie’s that these will sell for a record-breaking sum of between $7 million and $9 million.

Christie’s, aside from being an internationally renowned venue with offices in New York and London, is also famous for bringing NFTs onto the world stage like never before. Digital artist Beeple sold his digital art collage, “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS,” at a Christie’s auction for a record $69 million on March 11, 2021.

To help you understand what the heck is going on here, let’s break down a few concepts:

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. Fungible means it can be easily replaced or exchanged with others like it. Non-fungible means it can’t be, in other words, it is unique.

Cryptocurrencies are essentially fungible tokens on a blockchain — they can be exchanged or replaced by other cryptocurrencies of the same amount. Regular money is fungible too — a $20 bill can be traded for another $20 bill anywhere.

Non-fungible, or unique, tokens can also be created on a blockchain, for things that you don’t want to have easily swapped out by someone else. A college degree, your driver’s license, the deed to your house or a proof of ownership of a valuable piece of digital art are all perfect examples. Since individual tokens can be built on the blockchain, they are transparent and indestructible.

The first NFT was created on a blockchain in 2014. By 2017, when NFTs became widely known, Ethereum had become the dominant blockchain where these unique tokens were being created. The process of creating an NFT is called “minting.” In 2020, the worldwide NFT market was worth $250 Million, and it has grown exponentially in 2021.

What is a CryptoPunk?

The Crypto Punks were created by Larva Labs, an American company composed of two Canadian software developers named Matt Hall and John Watkinson. Launched as an experiment, these were the first NFTs ever created on the Ethereum blockchain, and they inspired the current tokenization standard software developers use to mint NFTs on Ethereum.

There are 10,000 uniquely generated characters, and no new ones are being created. They are 24×24 pixel art images, generated algorithmically. Most are punky-looking guys and girls, but there are a few rarer types mixed in: apes, zombies and aliens.

No two are exactly alike, and each one of them can be officially owned by a single person on the Ethereum blockchain. Originally, they could be claimed for free by anybody with an Ethereum wallet, but all 10,000 were quickly claimed. Now they must be purchased from someone via the marketplace that’s also embedded in the blockchain.

Via this market someone can buy, bid on, and offer punks for sale. At the time of this writing, 1,193 individual sales had taken place in the last month, generating a total of $105 million, according to DappRadar data. Based on these figures, the average sale for an individual CryptoPunk is over $88,000. CryptoPunk 7804, one of nine alien punks, sold for $7.5 million on March 11, 2021.

Today’s Auction

This evening, Christie’s will auction off a set of nine CryptoPunks, specifically: 2, 532, 58, 30, 635, 602, 768, 603 and 757.

Some say the NFT art market was a bubble that burst. While the eye-popping prices have subsided a little from their all-time highs two months, ago, to me it looks like things are just getting started.

Will the nine CryptoPunks fetch the high price expected by Christie’s or will they disappoint? As the NFT analyst for Quantum Economics, I’ll be watching and keeping you up to date!

This content is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute trading advice. Past performance does not indicate future results. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose. The author of this article may hold assets mentioned in the piece.

If you found this content engaging, and have an interest in commissioning content of your own, check out Quantum Economics’ Analysis on Demand service.

Author

Alexandre Lores is a personal finance writer from Tampa Bay, Florida, with the goal to help one million people achieve financial freedom. He has spent over five years studying markets and economics, finding Bitcoin in 2017 and never turning back. He frequently appears on TV and in online news articles and is a regular Twitter spaces host.

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