CryptoPunks ‘have changed the history of art,’ says panel at Sotheby’s auction

CryptoPunks enthusiasts and hopeful bidders gathered Wednesday night at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City for what tuned out to be a non-event after the consignor of 104 CryptoPunks decided to hodl.

In the wake of this announcement, however, a live panel discussion on the history of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and CryptoPunks took place. The panel consisted of Sherone Rabinovitz, technologist and CryptoPunk expert, and Kenny Schachter, art critic and curator. Colborn Bell, founder of the Museum of Crypto Art, moderated.

“Should we just tell everyone that there are actually 100,000 Punks?”

Pre-panel shenanigans with Colborn Bell, ahead of tonight’s “PUNK-IT!” #CryptoPunks auction at @sothebys

Super curious to see what transpires over the next several hours…@co1born @MuseumofCrypto

— sherone.eth (@Sherone33) February 23, 2022

When asked about the early history of Larva Labs and CryptoPunks, Rabinovitz, who produced a documentary about the team in 2018, began by lauding CryptoPunks as the first project “to get everything right.” From the aesthetics to its marketplace, Larva Labs “sprinkled their magic” on an experiment to test digital ownership. He added that the beauty of CryptoPunks goes “beyond the pixels and the cultural payload,” and that the code is “gorgeous” enough to print, frame and hang on the wall.

In 2017, Larva Labs heralded blockchain-based generative art on Ethereum with its algorithm that randomly generated pixelated punk characters. Since then, Punks have gained mainstream recognition to become one of the world’s most valuable NFTs. It is currently the most traded collection in terms of volume of all time on OpenSea. 

Schachter, on the other hand, discovered NFTs and CryptoPunks much later in 2020, admitting he didn’t like it at first. “I think one of the most important things in life is to relate and try to understand why you don’t like what you don’t like,” he said, adding that he eventually learned to fall in love with CryptoPunks. He explained:

“They’ve become…..

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