CryptoPunks NFT Sales Spiked by 1,200% Last Week. What’s Going On?

CryptoPunks NFT Sales Spiked by 1,200% Last Week. What’s Going On?

 Published: March 16th, 2022

New data from market analytics firm CryptoSlam suggests that sales of the Ethereum NFT collection on secondary markets have totaled nearly USD 19 million since Friday, 11th March, posting a 1,200 per cent jump in a matter of days.

What happened? On Thursday, 10th March, leading NFT house Larva Labs surprised crypto investors by announcing that Yuga Labs, makers of the phenomenally successful Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, had agreed to buy the IP for its popular CryptoPunks project. Once the news hit the interwebs, CryptoPunks NFT sales skyrocketed.

Analysts believe that newbie NFT buyers are rushing in to the market in hopes of realising additional gains for the CryptoPunks project. Yuga Labs turned the Bored Ape Yacht Club into a crypto-driven phenomenon in less than a year. Maybe they can do the same for CryptoPunks.

In a press release, Yuga Labs said it will handover IP rights for individual CryptoPunks images to their respective holders, similar to how it approaches ownership for its own Bored Ape images. It's an important detail given CryptoPunks’ previous record. Some past owners have complained the company gave them conflicting guidance about their ability to monetise their NFT images in the past (more on that below).

On top of surging sales volumes, the price of the least expensive NFT in the project has risen by 12 per cent since the announcement, for a price of over 76 ETH (circa USD 194,000) at time of writing.

Also part of the deal is Larva Labs’ Meebits NFT project IP. CryptoSlam says sales of Meebits NFTs have also spiked since last Friday, rising to USD 19 million in total. That represents a 500 per cent increase. The lowest-priced Meebits NFT has also risen in value by 30 per cent to nearly 6 ETH (ca. USD 14,800).

While that’s been happening, the controversial ‘V1 CryptoPunks Wrapped’ collection, a range of user-generated Ethereum NFTs that used a faulty (and now discarded) version of the CryptoPunks smart contract, has also seen surging demand. Sales have risen by an eye-watering 6,693 per cent since the sale to Yuga Labs was announced. Larva Labs had already disavowed the flawed project. Despite that its taken in more than USD 1.7 million in secondary sales since last Friday (11th March).

Yuga's Bored Ape Yacht Club project is basking in the attention. The project has seen a spike of its own with USD seven million in NFT sales changing hands, a 300 per cent increase over the same period. The lowest price Ape price has jumped by 11 per cent, currently selling at 81 ETH (ca. USD 209,000).

Yuga’s newer ‘Mutant’ Ape Yacht Club has notched up USD 4.6 million in sales, marking a close-to 80 per cent increase. The Mutant Apes minimum price is up nine per cent to 18 ETH (close to USD 45,000).

The full tally for CryptoPunks is a secondary trading volume of USD 2.1 billion across its relatively short lifespan. The more recent Meebits collection has garnered about USD 420 million. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has raked in more than USD 1.3 billion in secondary sales, while Mutant Ape Yacht Club accounting for USD 986 million.

Why did Larva Labs sell?

Before the announcement, Larva Labs and Yuga Labs were the two main contenders in the NFT space. Now with their two marquee collections under one owner, a new NFT giant may be in the making.

That’s marks a significant change from a week ago, when the two companies were known for taking very different approaches to their collections. Larva was one of the first movers in the Ethereum NFT space, but project’s leaders took a hands-off approach when the overall market surged in 2021.

In response to rising demand, Yuga changed tack and re-structured as a sort of members-only club, offering buyers not just hot NFT products but the benefits of celebrity cachet as well.

Those differences have only become starker in recent months. With Larva selling the IP for its main collections to Yuga, the Bored Ape creators are in pole position to shake things up and possibly address some of the historic complaints from past CryptoPunks NFT holders.

Giants join forces

Larva began as a two-man team, John Watkinson and Matt Hall. They created the initial CryptoPunks collection in 2017, offering 90 per cent of its 10,000 total Ethereum NFTs for free to anyone who wanted to mint one. Over time, the collection gained value in what was a very young NFT space. The NFTs exploded in price and popularity when the market achieved liftoff in early 2021.

CryptoPunks ownership became a status symbol in the NFT space when the average sale price crossed the five figures mark in January 2021. By August it had risen to six figures on the back of a full-scale NFT craze. Some USD 670 million worth of CryptoPunks were sold on the secondary market in August 2021 alone.

Bored Ape Yacht Club came after CryptoPunks, launching in March 2021. It used a similar market penetration tactic, launching 10,000 NFT avatars but each with randomized characteristics. The project then took the concept in a different direction by positioning the 'Yacht Club’ as an exclusive membership group, with additional benefits for users who bought into its approach.

In the months after the launch, Ape NFT owners received two additional NFTs for free, the Bored Ape Kennel Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club. Both have gone on to increase in value.

For many Ape holders, however, the main value proposition has been the ability to monetise their Ape JPEGs. Bored Apes can be used for merchandise, packaging or other marketing applications. They can even be used to create virtual musicians and digital bands. Universal Music reportedly has an NFT supergroup in the works already.

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