Beeple Goes Punk With $208K NFT Purchase

The artist behind the most expensive NFT ever sold bought his first-ever PFP, CryptoPunk #4593.

AccessTimeIconAug 2, 2023 at 3:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 2, 2023 at 5:51 p.m. UTC
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The artist who created the most expensive non-fungible token (NFT) ever sold has finally made his first profile-picture (PFP) NFT purchase.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, bought CryptoPunk #4953 for 113.7 ETH, which cost him $208,000, according to data from Etherscan.

Last week, Beeple posted a tweet sharing he was “in the market for a punk,” claiming he had “never actually purchased a single PFP.” Several days later, he asked his followers what the best traits were for his punk purchase.

While Beeple didn’t immediately confirm he purchased the punk, CryptoPunks Brand Lead Noah Davis posted a tweet sharing a text conversation he had with Beeple about the NFT purchase. It’s somewhat of a full circle moment for Davis, who previously worked in digital art sales at auction house Christie’s and helped facilitate the record-breaking $69 million sale of Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5,000 Days in March 2021.

Late Tuesday evening, Beeple shared an original digital artwork titled “A Punk Is Born,” featuring himself made up as his new punk, with CryptoPunk #4953 in the upper right corner of the image as well as on the tiny computer screen.

On Wednesday afternoon, he posted about his new purchase, writing that CryptoPunks have "changed the way we think about identity and ownership. i believe this is a historic work from both a technological and artistic perspective and it's influence on NFTs and this space is already undeniable." He concluded the post by saying "can't wait to connect and learn from more members of this incredible community, more on that very soons. ;)"

Beeple chose one of the rarer punks in the collection, making his purchase the most expensive NFT sold in the past 24 hours according to data from CryptoSlam.

The punk’s rarity traits include a mohawk, clown green eyes and a red clown nose. The nose, which the rarest punk trait of #4953, is only present in 2% of Punks according to marketplace OpenSea. Data from analytics tool Deep Value NFT shows that only one other Punk with this trait is currently listed at about 91.7 ETH, or $169,800.

Additional on-chain data shows that Beeple’s newly acquired Punk was previously purchased on February 4 2022 for 109 ETH by collector Twill – who still uses the PFP on his OpenSea account as of writing. However, the price of ether at the time was $3,000, which means Twill purchased it for $327,000 and took a sizable loss on the sale.

While Beeple may be new to the collector scene, he’s long been in the business of creating digital art. In March, he opened up a studio in Charleston, South Carolina to host in-person experiences bringing digital art creators and collectors together. This week, his Human One sculpture, which sold for $29 million in 2021, is on exhibit for the first time in the U.S. in the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas.

Update (Aug 2 17:50 UTC): Added post from Beeple discussing his CryptoPunk.

Edited by Toby Leah Bochan.


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Cam Thompson

Cam Thompson was a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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