CryptoPunks NFT "Sells" for Over $500M

The record-breaking sale may have been an attempt at attention-seeking.

CryptoPunks NFT "Sells" for Over $500M
Shutterstock photo by FocusStocker

Key Takeaways

  • CryptoPunks #9998 has sold for more than half a billion dollars in a sale that may not be legitimate.
  • It appears that the token's original holder moved the item between two of their own accounts for unclear reasons.
  • Explanations for the questionable sale include money laundering, attention-seeking, and metric inflation.

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In a questionably large sale, CryptoPunk #9998 has sold for more than $532M, according to the project’s sales feed.

CryptoPunks Token Sells for $500 Million

The CryptoPunks NFT sold for 124,457.07 ETH, an amount worth $532,414,877.01 at the time of sale.

Given the unusually large transaction size, the crypto community is speculating on the nature of the purchase. One suspicious element is the fact that the CryptoPunk was sold back to the original address that held it within a matter of hours. This means that the buyer and the original holder were most likely one and the same.

Some have speculated that the funds for the purchase could have been obtained through a flash loan or a flash loan exploit. A related event took place in February when a flash loan used to buy a CryptoPunk was reversed, leaving the original holder with just a fraction of the final sales price.

However, in this case, the loan would have been used by the holder to send the token to themselves, not to steal the token. A flash loan may have helped to avoid transaction fees.

What Possible Motives Are There?

Given the lack of clear motives, it is possible that the owner is moving the NFT for their own amusement. “Just someone having some fun getting attention, and boy did it work,” Twitter user Sola wrote.

Others have suggested more concrete motives. The high sale price could have been used to inflate activity metrics in the owner’s OpenSea storefront, and doing so might give the owner greater visibility and attract more potential buyers.

Some have suggested that today’s transaction could be an attempt at money laundering, though it is unclear how effective this strategy would be in preventing funds from being traced.

Regardless of the legitimacy of the sale, it now holds a record for sale size. Until now, the largest CryptoPunks sale involved punk #7523, which sold for $11.8 million at Sotheby’s this June.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned less than $100 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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