CryptoPunks, the popular NFT collection created by Larva Labs, are a huge hit. What’s not so well documented is the fact that the first batch of CryptoPunks were shelved due to buggy code and replaced with the V2 versions released on Ethereum.
However, on the internet nothing dies and in 2021 a “wrapper” program was built by CryptoPunks fans, which retrieved the V1 CryptoPunks from the blockchain and minted them as new NFTs.
This didn’t sit well with Larva Labs founders John Watkinson and Matt Hall, who tweeted that the V1 versions (which effectively existed alongside the V2 versions completely disproving NFTs golden rule of non-fungible, one-off originality) were not authentic. A claim that no-one took seriously when the pair began selling V1 CryptoPunks of their own…
Ultimately, Larva Labs took legal action against OpenSea on claims of copyright infringement and demanded the V1 NFTs be taken down from the marketplace, but this legal action was ended when Larva Labs sold the CryptoPunks IP to Bored Ape creators Yuga Labs in March 2022. Now the V1 Punks project is teaming up with Rarible with hopes of unifying the CryptoPunks community.
Through Rarible, the V1 CryptoPunks project has a customizable marketplace allowing them to stand out amidst the many NFTs available on more significant blockchain marketplaces.
The NFT trade stumbles… but rumbles on
The NFT market, which surged in 2021, continues to attract attention from established brands and creators. Instagram is adding NFT integration to its platform. Recently Tracy Spaight released the episodic puzzle game graphic novel Quantum Noesis, which essentially uses NFTs as entry tickets. Additionally, Nike and RTFKT’s NFTs are selling for upwards of $100,000 on OpenSea.
Larva Labs was criticized for its hands-off approach to the CryptoPunks Community. The company did not offer perks or guidance on the commercialization of IP rights as Bored Apes Yacht club did. Yuga, however, is likely to be more hands-on and promises to offer owners full IP commercialization rights.
Whether V2 CryptoPunks owners will embrace the V1 community is yet to be seen. As of now, many view V1 Punks as fraudulent despite originating from Larva Labs, similar to CryptoPhunks, a parody of CryptoPunks for which Larva Labs issued a DMCA.
“Phunks are stolen IP that directly impacted the legit punks market, just like v1 punks,” tweeted entrepreneur Jimmy McNelis” “Both v1 and phunks were bad for OG punks collectors, the collection, and Larva Labs who collapsed under the pressure.”
Only time will tell how the whole confusing tale will play out and if values (and owner’s confidence) hold up.