Here’s Why a CryptoPunk Sold for $530M

A half-billion-dollar NFT “sale”? On-chain analysts say it may have just been an elaborate publicity stunt.

AccessTimeIconOct 29, 2021 at 7:20 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:17 p.m. UTC

Crypto Twitter was briefly ablaze Thursday night as a CryptoPunk non-fungible token (NFT) was purchased for a staggering half-billion dollars – a figure that would have made the sale one of the largest ever not just in NFT-land, but in all of art history.

However, on-chain analysts were quick to point out the sale may have just been an elaborate publicity stunt.

A Twitter bot that tracks the sales of CryptoPunks first flagged the transaction shortly before 8 p.m. ET (00:00 UTC Friday). If real, the 124,457.07 ETH sale worth over $530 million would have easily eclipsed the 4,200 ETH sale of an ultra-rare alien punk in March.

CryptoPunks have a floor price – a term referring to the lowest price at which a piece from a particular NFT collection can be bought – of 100 ETH, and the punk in question, #9998, lacks desirable features from a collector’s perspective, leading some to believe the purchase was a “fat finger,” a term referring to the immutable, irreversible errors endemic in blockchain.

A look at the chain, however, reveals that the purchase was just a clever bit of smart contract magic.

The purchase was made by a flash loan contract deployed by an address flagged by wallet profiler Nansen as a prolific decentralized finance (DeFi) user, NFT collector and smart contract deployer who also owns the blurr.eth Ethereum Name Service NFT.

Banterlytics, a contributor to on-chain analysis publication OurNetwork, told CoinDesk that the transaction was likely conducted solely “for the bantz.”

The transaction cost 0.19 ETH, or roughly $800, and the address included a message in the metadata of the transaction, saying “looks rare.”

A similar flash loan transaction was conducted in February to purchase a HashMask NFT for 139,000 ETH, currently the largest NFT sale on record – even if on a technicality.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Andrew Thurman

Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about