In brief

  • Christie’s is auctioning off nine CryptoPunks—the NFTs tied to tiny, pixelated portraits.
  • The auction house has been involved with NFTs since last fall.
  • It was responsible for the $69 million sale of Beeple’s 'Everydays' NFT.

Fresh from its $69 million sale of a Beeple NFT, auction house giant Christie’s is planning to sell nine CryptoPunks—the notoriously pricey NFTs tied to tiny digital portraits.

CryptoPunks is a series of 10,000 unique images from the development studio Larva Labs, each of which is tied to an NFT, or non-fungible token.

NFTs are cryptographically secured collectibles that can be attached to a file and sold as proof of ownership. Christie’s sold its first NFT (along with an associated physical artwork) back in October of last year. The Beeple auction last month holds the record for the most expensive NFT ever sold, though CryptoPunks collectively have generated more money in sales.

Some CryptoPunks have already gone for upwards of $7 million.

NFTs are a polarizing new development in the art world: some think they’re a progressive force, with the power to put secondary market revenue back in the hands of artists. Others think they’re just a gimmick—an ecological nightmare, and a medium for cloying, sensationalist images.

According to promotional materials, nine CryptoPunks are being auctioned together in a single lot at the 21st Century Evening Sale on May 11.

And if you’re not quite ready to put up millions of dollars at auction, you can check out other CryptoPunks on Miami billboards in the near future, as part of a public art project called Pixelated.

Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to correct the date of the auction. The sale takes place May 11, not May 13.