NEW YORK — A collection of 104 CryptoPunks expected to be sold for up to $30 million was put on ice Wednesday during a much-anticipated auction at Sotheby’s.
A Sotheby’s representative said the seller decided to withdraw the lot. The auction was announced on Feb. 8.
In a tweet after the initial publication of this article, the pseudonymous collector said they changed their mind:
Perhaps contributing to 0x650d’s reversal were rumors of a tepid reception for the CryptoPunks mega-lot. Three sources, including one bidder on site at Sotheby’s, told CoinDesk that the highest pre-bid offer was $14 million, which was also the reserve price.
Since the project’s inception in 2017, CryptoPunks, created by Larva Labs, has generated over 683,000 ether (ETH) in sales volume, roughly $2 billion at the time of writing. The project currently boasts a floor price of 67.5 ETH ($207,000).
This was supposed to be the second time Sotheby’s has facilitated the sale of a major non-fungible token (NFT) lot, with the first being a $24.4 million collection of 101 Bored Apes sold in September. Rapper Ja Rule was among those in attendance at the New York auction house.
To say Sotheby’s has leaned into the growing world of digital art and crypto would be an understatement – the famed auction house reported over $100 million in NFT sales in 2021 alone, and on occasion has even accepted bids for non-NFT related artwork in ether, the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain.
UPDATE (Feb. 24, 0:44 UTC): Adds context and tweet from 0x650d.
UPDATE (Feb. 24, 1:50 UTC): Adds information on pre-bid offers.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.