Two of the most popular non-fungible token (NFT) projects have been CryptoPunks and NBA TopShots in recent times. And the sales battle between the two is heating up.
The former is the “earliest” NFT projects to have even been conceived and minted on the Ethereum network (early 2017) by Larva Labs, while the latter is a collaboration between Dapper Labs and the American National Basketball Association (NBA).
And while Top Shot sales volumes eclipsed those of CryptoPunks, the latter has seen bigger volumes in the past week on the back of an upcoming high-profile auction at the legendary auction house Christie’s.
Christie’s in New York will auction $9 million worth of CryptoPunks on 13 May. A total of 9 “punks” will be sold in total, the files being 24 x 24 pixels each. The punks—10,000 in all—can be viewed by anyone and everyone, but only have one unique owner. This is where their value, at least for the potential holders, arises from.
9 rare CryptoPunks from @LarvaLabs own collection to star in our 21st Century Evening Sale this May in NY.
All mint numbers under 1k and yes there is a rare Alien! Punks 2, 532, 58, 30, 635, 602, 768, 603, 757 #CryptoPunks
More at: https://t.co/o41OzqP1UB pic.twitter.com/N0blESQdR1
— Christie’s (@ChristiesInc) April 8, 2021
As tweeted by 1confirmation founder Nick Tomaino, sales of CryptoPunks increased by 97% in the past week with over $21 million worth of punk sold. Top Shots, on the other hand, saw a decrease of 36% but still sold over $19 million worth of their “moments.”
CryptoPunks sales in the past week exceeded NBA Top Shot sales pic.twitter.com/NXOX2BbozJ
— Nick Tomaino (@NTmoney) April 9, 2021
Overall, Top Shots still lead. “Top Shot is still leading all-time volume but this is a small data point in favor of the crypto natives,” said Tomaino, adding that it opened a debate of sorts for crypto founders who would choose between building for crypto natives first or mainstream audiences.
Top Shots vs. CryptoPunks
Top Shots have raked in millions of dollars in revenues for their creators, with basketball teams and athletes launching their own ‘highlights’—a short video of an iconic move or slamdunk.
The most expensive one of the Top Shots is a LeBron James, “Cosmic Series 1, #29” that sold for over $280,000 in February. Two other Top Shots featuring James have sold for $125,000 and $100,000—making him the most in-demand NBA star if sales metrics are considered.
👑ALL HAIL THE KING👑@YoDough scooped up this Legendary LeBron James Moment from our Cosmic Series 1 set for $208,000‼️ This Moment is from our first Legendary set ever minted 💯
The top acquisition for any NBA Top Shot Moment … so far.
Congrats on the nice pickup! 👑 pic.twitter.com/rFLMzbwXN7
— NBA Top Shot (@nbatopshot) February 22, 2021
But while Top Shots are all about glitzy loop shots and tackles, CryptoPunks couldn’t be any different. These are pixelated versions of a punk—slang for an authority-hating, gangster-y, non-conformist person (this was a popular culture in the 1970s—and have similarly sold for millions of dollars.
If brand value drives Top Shot sales, the rarity of and being the earliest narrative drives CryptoPunk sales. Only 6,039 male Punks and 3,840 female Punks exist. A total of 696 wear hot lipstick, while 303 have muttonchops.
There are other quirks that add to the rarity: 286 Punks wear 3-D glasses, 128 are rosy-cheeked Punks, 94 Punks sport pigtails, 78 Punks have buck teeth, and 44 are beanie-wearing Punks. Beauty in the eyes of the beholder indeed.
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