Battle of the Ethereum NFTs: CryptoPunk sales exceed NBA Top Shots Battle of the Ethereum NFTs: CryptoPunk sales exceed NBA Top Shots
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Battle of the Ethereum NFTs: CryptoPunk sales exceed NBA Top Shots

The past week saw an interesting development in the burgeoning NFT space.

Battle of the Ethereum NFTs: CryptoPunk sales exceed NBA Top Shots

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

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.

NFT auctions

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.

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.”

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.

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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