Sotheby’s is planning to auction a rare Cryptopunk NFT as part of a new collection event called “Natively Digital“. Cryptopunk #7523, or “Covid Alien”, which was most recently acquired in an off-chain purchase arrangement. The last recorded alien Cryptopunk sale, #3100, was for just over $10M USD.
The “Natively Digital” event also includes a series of pieces from the earliest days of the NFT movement. Kevin McCoy’s “Quantum”, considered the first NFT, is also included in the sale. The auction begins June 10 at Sotheby’s website.
Vintage Cryptopunks fetching big numbers
Sotheby’s auction of a low-digit CryptoPunk is part of a trend of recognizing vintage NFT properties. A different set of nine Cryptopunks sold for $17M at Christie’s earlier this year. This shows the secondary market is still remarkably strong. Listing Covid Alien at a reputable auction house such as Sotheby’s proves its value outside the crypto world.
The current owner of Covid Alien, @sillytuna, insists the sale is not about money, but milestones. “I’m keen on gradually educating the wider world on [NFT’s] potential,” he told Coin Telegraph. “To do that, we need to lay down markers like this”.
Cryptopunk part of an elite set
Larva Labs’ Cryptopunk series is one of the first major collections in the NFT world. There are nine aliens in the collection, making them the rarest punk type. Beyond that, there are 6,039 males, 3,840 females, 88 zombies and 24 apes. Each punk has unique identifying features. There are eight “Genesis Punks” with no features at all, and one, #8348, which has eight features at once.
Now commonly used to mark OG collectors than anything, Cryptopunks are used as avatars on Twitter and beyond. They have inspired countless imitations and spin-offs, and are still viewed as the gold standard for success in the NFT world.
Viability of the secondary market
The secondary market for NFTs isn’t as dramatic as chasing new drops as they happen. But as classic NFTs become relatively “retro”, the resale opportunities are starting to boom. This evolution of the crypto market will help encourage new collectors to experiment more, as they see past gambles pay off.
It’s always easier to follow trends, instead of setting them. Up-and-coming artists without huge follower counts can be left behind as a market grows. Investors will buy what’s already hot and ignore the rest. But if the secondary market takes off with auctions like this, it could make a real difference.
Many NFT platforms already promise artists a cut of future sales, unlike traditional sales. This already gives new artists a reason to mint NFTs. But the more we see big secondary sales like with Cryptopunk, the more likely it is that collectors will get involved sooner. A fresh NFT may pay off in the future, if you guess right.
The real question is whether there is an upper limit to the amount secondary market NFTs will command. Traditional buyers are more comfortable with Sotheby’s than OpenSea, but at what point are NFTs simply a novelty, instead of individual pieces? With any luck, milestones such as Covid Alien will help educate as well as enrich. And with that, help move the crypto world forward.