NFT Art History: From CryptoPunks to Beeple

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Welcome all, from art buffs to novices! Get set for a thrilling journey into the vibrant NFT Art world. We’re about to enter a unique realm. It’s a place where art meets technology head-on. Here, CryptoPunks sparked a pixelated revolution. There, Beeple transformed the digital into priceless treasures. Are you ready to explore this game-changing era? NFTs have revolutionized our understanding of art’s value, ownership, and provenance. So, hold on tight, because our exciting exploration is just about to begin!

CryptoPunks to Beeple: NFT Art Evolution

  1. The Emergence of NFT Art
  2. CryptoPunks: The Genesis of NFT Art
  3. Beeple: Breaking Barriers
  4. The NFT Market Boom
  5. Future of NFT Art

1. The Emergence of NFT Art

2015: The Birth of Colored Coins and CryptoArt: The first inklings of tokenizing art began with the concept of “Colored Coins” on the Bitcoin blockchain. Artists like Rob Myers started creating early CryptoArt pieces, although not as NFTs.

2017: CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties: Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks emerged in 2017, with 10,000 unique, pixelated characters created as one of the first NFTs. The same year, CryptoKitties, digital cats that could breed and create offspring with unique attributes, became a sensation.

2018: and launched as artist-friendly NFT platforms. Decentraland opened up virtual real estate as NFTs. The first 3D blockchain art, ‘JOY’, emerged. Cryptovoxels displayed NFTs in a virtual world, and CryptoArte narrated Ethereum’s history through an NFT collection.

2019: Larva Labs introduced ‘Autoglyphs’, the first on-chain generative NFT art. ‘Soul In The Machine’, was created live and auctioned at Ethereal Summit. Rendar Gallery pioneered the concept of a virtual street art gallery in the Metaverse, exclusively showcasing NFTs. This year laid the groundwork for the future explosion of NFT art.

2020: Beeple’s First NFT Artworks: Digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, entered the NFT space with artworks that would later make headlines worldwide.

2021: Beeple’s Record-Breaking Sale: Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was sold as an NFT for a record-breaking $69.3 million at a Christie’s auction, marking a historical moment for NFT art.

2022 and Beyond: Numerous NFT projects emerged, including Bored Ape Yacht Club, World of Women, and others, each contributing to the rapid expansion of the NFT ecosystem.

These events reflect the rapid evolution of NFT art, a space that continues to evolve and innovate, marking an exciting era for artists, collectors, and enthusiasts alike.

2. CryptoPunks: The Genesis of NFT Art

CryptoPunks: A Groundbreaking Introduction

In 2017, the creative minds at Larva Labs introduced an art revolution: CryptoPunks. Each of the 10,000 uniquely generated, pixelated characters was available for free. This wasn’t just the launch of a new art series; it was the birth of a new form of art itself. CryptoPunks were not simply digital characters; they were the first-ever NFTs. Each Punk, housed on the Ethereum blockchain, became an irreplaceable digital asset, breaking boundaries in the digital space and placing CryptoPunks as a landmark in the burgeoning NFT landscape.

CryptoPunks: The Unique and The Rare

What sets CryptoPunks apart and contributes to their fame and success are the unique and rare attributes each Punk holds. Algorithmically crafted with distinct features like trendy hairstyles, stylish glasses, or a smoking pipe, each Punk boasted its individual persona. The scarcity of certain attributes, akin to exclusive resources in the physical world, surged the demand and value for specific Punks.

CryptoPunks: A Cultural Phenomenon and Catalyst of the NFT Market

CryptoPunks became more than just pieces of art; they transformed into cultural icons. Owning a Punk was a status symbol, a digital badge of honor signaling an early dive into the exciting world of NFTs. The timing of their launch was pivotal, aligning perfectly with the rising acceptance of digital currencies and an increasing curiosity about digital and decentralized art ownership. Thus, CryptoPunks served as catalysts for the NFT market.

CryptoPunks: Setting Records and Leaving a Legacy

CryptoPunks’ success story is as bold as the Punks themselves. Punks like 7804 and 3100 each sold for an astonishing 4200 Ether, recording a first for digital art. These record-breaking sales not only turned heads but cemented CryptoPunks’ position as a driving force in the NFT art market’s growth. Their influence continues to reverberate through the wave of digital art projects and platforms that have followed, proving the lasting impact of these pioneering pixelated personalities.

3. Beeple: Breaking Barriers

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Beeple: The Revolutionist of Digital Art

Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, is a game-changer in the digital art space. With roots in graphic design and short films, Beeple’s real triumph was in the sphere of NFTs, where his creativity disrupted norms and shattered records.

The Magnum Opus: “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”

Beeple’s monumental piece, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, embodies perseverance and artistic innovation. This enormous collage of 5000 unique images, produced daily over 13 years, marks Beeple’s steadfast commitment to his craft. Garnering global attention, it was the first-ever NFT to be auctioned by Christie’s, a historic moment bridging the traditional and digital art worlds.

Record-Breaking Sales and Beyond

The groundbreaking sale of “Everydays” for a staggering $69.3 million at Christie’s propelled NFTs into the mainstream art market. However, the magic of Beeple extends beyond “Everydays”. His piece, “POLITICS IS BULLSHIT”, another example of his ability to blend art with social commentary, fetched over $27,000 USD. His innovation further shone through in “HUMAN ONE”, an interactive, color-changing 3D NFT, which sold for an impressive $28.9 million. These record-breaking sales underscore the credibility of digital art, demonstrating its potential to rival, even exceed, the value of traditional art.

Beeple’s Influence on the NFT Art Market

Beeple’s influence is woven into the fabric of the NFT art market. His unique style, which often offers satirical societal commentary, resonates with audiences worldwide. His success has propelled NFTs into the spotlight, drawing a wave of artists and investors towards digital art. As he continues his artistic journey, Beeple’s style, success, and innovative spirit shape the dynamic landscape of NFT art, encouraging and inspiring new and seasoned artists alike.

4. The NFT Market Boom

The Exponential Growth of the NFT Market

Apart from Beeple and CryptoPunks, other artists also enjoyed impressive sales. Grimes, a musician and visual artist, sold $6 million worth of digital art within 20 minutes. Digital artist Pak’s artwork, “The Merge,” fetched $91.8 million in a Sotheby’s auction, underscoring the immense potential of NFTs.

The ‘Ringers’ collection by Dmitri Cherniak is a compelling example of NFT success, generating over 30,424 ETH, or roughly $116 million, on the secondary market. Its highest sale was a remarkable 27 ETH.

The market’s exponential growth signifies the high demand and inherent value of NFTs in the digital art landscape, establishing them as key players in the art market.

Impact on Artists and Collectors

The NFT revolution has ushered in new opportunities and challenges for artists and collectors. For artists, NFTs democratize the art market, allowing them to sell work directly to collectors, bypassing traditional gatekeepers. However, they also face challenges, such as the threat of art theft and the need to understand blockchain technology. For collectors, NFTs offer a new form of asset class with potential high returns, but they also present risks like market volatility and issues of provenance.

Influences Shaping Market Trends

CryptoPunks and Beeple have heavily influenced NFT market trends. CryptoPunks introduced the concept of uniqueness and scarcity in digital art, influencing many NFT projects that followed. Beeple’s record-breaking sales highlighted the potential of digital art, propelling the market to new heights. His works also exemplified the growing trend of blending art with social commentary in the NFT space. Their influences continue to guide the direction of the NFT market as it evolves.

5. Future of NFT Art

Given the trajectory from CryptoPunks to Beeple, the NFT market will likely continue its exponential growth. Total NFT sales exceeded $2 billion in the first quarter of 2023 alone, signaling a robust future.

Emerging Trends and Artists to Watch

Innovative trends are emerging, like real-time generative art and metaverse real estate. New artists like Pak, who earned $91 million in a Sotheby’s auction, and Fewocious, with works auctioned for over $3 million, are making waves.

NFTs as a Mainstay

With Beeple’s “Everydays” selling for $69.3 million, and CryptoPunk 7804 fetching 4200 Ether, NFTs have proved they’re not a fleeting trend. They have forever changed how art is created, valued, and sold.

New Horizons

The transformative power of NFTs extends beyond art. NFTs are already starting to revolutionize industries like real estate, gaming, and fashion. The NFT horizon is broad, and its possibilities are boundless.


The remarkable accomplishments of Beeple, CryptoPunks, and others in the NFT art market are indeed awe-inspiring. Their success has illuminated the immense potential of this space. To everyone intrigued by this digital revolution, delve into the world of NFT Art. Its fascinating blend of creativity, technology, and opportunity awaits you. Start exploring, and you’re bound to fall in love.

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