In June 2017, Larva Labs launched CryptoPunks, which were available for free to anyone with an Ethereum wallet (+ gas). The Punks were quickly claimed and the original contract contained a code error, resulting in buyers being refunded and keeping the Punk. A new version of the contract, V2, was released and Punks were airdropped to it. V1 Punk owners have now wrapped their Punks into an ERC-721 contract to patch the bug. This is a community-led effort involving original claimants, NFT historians, and developers, with decisions being made through community voting. V1 and V2 Punks are both permanent on the blockchain and while the new wrappers slightly modify the image background, the core Punk remains unchanged.
v2s are the official. v1s are the originals
The project gained popularity after a Mashable article, and within a week of launch, all 10,000 CryptoPunks were claimed. The original contract served as the basis for the ERC-721 NFT standard, pioneered by Dieter Shirley and Dapper Labs with CryptoKitties a few months later. Larva Labs kept the first 1,008 CryptoPunks for themselves. CryptoPunk #3100 was sold for $7.6 million on March 11, 2021. It has unique characteristics like a white and blue headband, which only 450 punks have.
Cryptopunk #5822 holds the record. It sold for $23M in February 2022. (8000 ETH)
It's interesting to note that even the V2 contract is not without flaws. For example, if you place a WETH offer on the V2 marketplace and the seller accepts it, bots can quickly jump in and outbid you, ruining any chance you had of snagging a great deal. One solution to this problem is to migrate the punk tokens to a more modern and secure ERC-721 wrapper, which is precisely what the v1punks team has done.
V1 Punks refers to the original Cryptopunks, the ones that were initially claimed for free and which represent Larva Labs' first solidity contract, now wrapped in a safer and more reliable wrapper. It's important to remember that before the wrapper was introduced, the original Cryptopunks were untradeable and largely forgotten. In fact, last year, most market participants didn't even know that Larva Labs had deployed two different Cryptopunk contracts. But Matt and John, the creators of Cryptopunks, were aware of this from the very beginning back in June 2017. In January 2022, a wrapper for V1 Punks was finally introduced. Dune Dashboard V1
It's worth noting that V1 Punks are not a derivative but rather the "original/classic" Cryptopunks, and this can be verified on the Ethereum blockchain, making it an immutable fact. Provenance matters.