Larva Labs (2005), CryptoPunks, 2017. Non-fungible token (jpg). 24 x 24 pixels each, 9 'CryptoPunk | Image: Christie's
With a group of nine so-called CryptoPunks, the alpha and omega of cryptocurrency, auction house Christie's is attempting a new coup during its 21st Century Evening Sale on May 13, 2021. After the successful and, for the art world, irritating auction of the first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) artwork "EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS" by the American digital artist Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) in march 2021, Christie's is now trying to build on the success. The estimated price of 7 to 9 million US dollars also reflects the strong fluctuations in the market value of crypto art:
Although the value of NFT works has fallen significantly since the high in March, demand remains steady for the time being. Thus, the business magazine Bloomberg reports a monetary loss of almost 70% whereas Nonfungible.com - the largest trans-shipment center for NFT works - says it has recorded a total turnover of 20.5 million US dollars in recent weeks. Also in the context of the auction, it must be noted that Christie's was still able to achieve nearly $70 million with a single NFT work in March, whereas CryptoPunks is a collection of nine works offered for only $7 million by comparison.
The CryptoPunks were created in 2017 by Larva Labs developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson and up to 1000 copies were initially given away or even offered free of charge.
The computer-generated portraits with 24 x 24 pixels will be auctioned for the first time in a live auction alongside artist such as Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat. Another novelty in this auction is the payment: For the first time, cryptocurrencies are also accepted as payment methods.