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For the Punks: A Symbol of the Crypto Generation

CryptocurrencySep 19, 2021 08:00AM ET
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For the Punks: A Symbol of the Crypto Generation

  • People who own a CryptoPunk use it to symbolize their affiliation to a select group within the crypto community.
  • Punks gained popularity because every crypto investor who sees a crypto punk finds himself in the image.
  • CryptoPunks kickstarted the “digital ownership” revolution as they empowered new artists to find a liquid marketplace for their creativity.

Without Ethereum, there would be no CryptoPunks. Crypto Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) would not be so secretive, and we wouldn’t be reporting over $1 billion in CryptoPunk sales. But that’s not the case, and this article will explain why CryptoPunks’ ethos aligns with the value brought forth by cryptocurrencies, as digital societies continue to embrace the transcendence towards an ownership economy.

We’re All Punks to Someone!

Society is divided into cultures and more niche subcultures based on their values and personalities. The 70’s punk culture is in antithesis with consumerism and capitalistic culture. Similarly, the culture surrounding crypto developed a subculture built and reinforced in antithesis with centralized governing and financial bodies.

Disruptive and against all normalizing societal norms, punks resembled crypto communities as it was embraced by outcast groups and individuals who opposed a linear order. However, in a 2005 research paper, William Force argues that countercultures like punks formed through their manifestation and beliefs, ultimately refusing to define it.

Identifying with punk culture is a self-constructing concept, which revolves around similar values. Punk culture entered mainstream attention as media discourse deemed it imperative. Thus, punk and cryptocurrency cultures have many similarities when considering how each movement was propagated.

In truth, we are all part of a type of counterculture but CryptoPunks themselves should not be considered a counterculture. Instead, people who interact with CryptoPunks should be considered counter-cultural, since it is through continual digital discourse and reinforcement on social media platforms that counterculture exists.

Simply Blockchain Misfits

Released in 2017, CryptoPunks gained mass recognition as the DeFi sector continued to expand. NFTs and the expansion of the digital cultural sector helped CryptoPunks explode, reaching sales of $7.5 million or being auctioned at Christie’s.

Unlike the NFT market, which, according to Andres Guadamuz, transformed into a speculative bubble where people purchase them as “assets first and art second,” CryptoPunks helped define the NFT market. However, their intention was purely innovative, as Larva Labs’s founders algorithmically programmed the creation of the pixelated artworks.

Ultimately, their resilience and the fact that they were given out almost for free is what conveys intrinsic value to the holders. Beyond their financial merit, CryptoPunks are a staple of association. It is the “ultimate flex” to own a CryptoPunk, firstly because of the high price association and secondly because those who own them display their prescience of the NFT boom. In that regard, CryptoPunks represent an exclusivity label for those who partook in the early stages of the smart contract platform boom.

On The Flipside

  • The high floor price for cryptopunks, is forcing investors to invest in copycats, which have higher associated risks
  • NFTs are still speculative and most of the trades are taking place in an illiquid market.
  • Larva Labs creators kept 1,000 CryptoPunks for themselves when launching the project “just in case.”

The Crypto Art Genesis

As CryptoPunks become pieces of art, they signify the genesis of the digital art movement. They represent the ramifications of our digital dependence, carving their status into the files of online history. CryptoPunks were not created for profit, instead, their development and creation generated a “paradigm-altering model” that opened the discussion for “digital ownership”.

Before, digital artists did not have a thriving marketplace to monetize their creativity. The growth of the NFT sector through CryptoPunks’ extension facilitated more opportunities for digital artists and overlooked cultures to showcase their creative value.

CryptoPunks are becoming a symbol not because of their monetary value and the number of VC/YouTubers/poker players who invest in them, rather, they have become a symbol because they’ve given voice to a subculture that spends their time on Reddit or Twitter, who ultimately help grow and expand a digital ownership sector.

Much like the punk movement, which was anti-governmental, CryptoPunks symbolize the starting epoch of digital ownership. Those who’ve held CryptoPunks will gain social capital and will continue to frame the identity of those belonging to the crypto space.

Why You Should Care?

CryptoPunks are not just digital jpegs that have no meaning. Their value reached exorbitant prices because they helped kickstart a new digital movement. We believe CryptoPunks will become a globally defining IP, because they are a symbol of a new digital generation.


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For the Punks: A Symbol of the Crypto Generation

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