Part 2: The Rise of CryptoPunks Clones

In Part 1 of our two-part series on CryptoPunks and the effect of whale takeovers we discussed the history of CryptoPunks and how crypto whales are affecting the CryptoPunks market. In this second part we take a look at the ripple effect of how crypto whales taking over OG CryptoPunks has resulted in a whole new sub-genre of CryptoPunk clones, or also known as ‘unofficial Punks.’  

Even though CryptoPunks are not the first NFT, as some NFT archaeologists have revealed, they are still the most widely praised and are considered the gurus of NFTs. They were made even before ERC 721 was invented, and for many collectors they represent a type of rarity and “must-have” if you’re looking to build a serious digital art collection. They are also considered by many as the “Mother and Father” of all digital collectibles.

OG CryptoPunks and the Punkverse

The Punkverse trend has had an enormous impact on the NFT scene. The Punkverse world started emerging following the rise in ETH and the success of the OG Punks. There are even agencies and self-starters looking for creators and developers on the freelance employment website Upwork, to help them create CryptoPunk clone projects. An example of this is a recent advert that was looking for a developer to help bring 10,000 PNGs of pixelated characters similar to CryptoPunks to the blockchain. With projects such as these, one has to ask – are clones, or unofficial Punks, really worth buying?

Until recently not more than ten CryptoPunks clone projects existed, but in the past three months alone many clone projects have emerged. Perhaps it’s too simplistic to say these projects are just “clones” and “copies,” and to view them in the way we view copies of designer handbags and shoes in real life.


Many of them have their own following and community, and the floor price for many of these unofficial Punks is also pretty high, higher than what the average buyer can afford. It feels more accurate to say that unofficial Punks have turned into a trend, a sub-art genre/art movement and cultural zeitgeist. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many unofficial Punk projects there are right now, but there must be over 100 alternative Punks circulating around the NFT market. 

If you search the hashtag “#AltPunks” on Twitter, you will find that there is a whole Punkverse with hundreds of posts by Punk clone projects. There are auctions for anything from BeeplePunks, ModernPunks, and SketchyPunks, to RagePunks, RomanPunks, and RockLegendPunks. 


There are now so many unofficial Punk projects that an article was recently released to serve as a guide for the best 21 unofficial Punk projects that collectors can look into. The primary factors for the selection of these projects are based on “Homage to the OG CryptoPunks,” “Artistic Quality,” and “Originality of Style and Theme.” Even Jonathan Mann, also known as “The Song a Day Man,” released a parody video listing 50 Punk projects, based on Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” 

To Invest or Not?

So, even though Punks have become an art movement, is it a good idea to collect and invest in alternative Punks? At the time of writing the original CryptoPunks are selling at an average of 25 ETH, so the only way for small fish to get their piece of the pie too is to get a CryptoPunk clone. But buying a Punk clone is a gamble really, in the NFT space there are no rules or guide books as to what will be successful and what won’t, today’s beggar might be tomorrow’s prince.


The most prominent reason for this peculiar art movement is what it symbolises – OG NFT status in the community. We’ve all seen it before, as soon as a new and anonymous whale buys something, their Twitter page instantly has a few thousand followers and people are eager to take their advice and listen to what they have to say. Owning an original CryptoPunk is of course as OG as one can get, but buying an unofficial Punk also gives owners the “flex” sensation and makes them feel like they are part of something valuable. 

Here are what some Crypto NFT people think about the importance of unofficial Punk projects. 

Do you agree, are “AltPunks” here to stay?


Would these clone projects exist if the OG CryptoPunks were not so successful? Probably not. The flex factor is a big driving force for the market, and many people want to invest in the same thing or something similar to what crypto whales are investing in. 

The Punkverse will probably keep growing, and some unofficial Punks will retain their value while most will become worthless. At the end of the day, it’s the buyers that decide on the value.

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