In brief

  • The cheapest-available (or floor price) Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT topped the floor CryptoPunks NFT for the first time this morning.
  • The two largest Ethereum profile picture projects have varying approaches to community engagement and commercialization rights.

For the first time, the cheapest-available (or floor price) Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT now costs more than the lowest-priced CryptoPunks NFT on the market—an event that underscores a shift in sentiment when it comes to the two leading profile picture projects on Ethereum.

As of 10am ET on Wednesday, the lowest-price CryptoPunk listed for sale on creator Larva Labs’ own marketplace was priced at 52.69 ETH, or just over $210,000. At the same moment, the cheapest-available Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT on leading NFT marketplace OpenSea was 53.9 ETH, or about $217,000.

It’s a flip that some might have thought impossible only months ago, as the upstart Bored Apes—which launched in April—were trailing well behind the long-established CryptoPunks, which were minted back in 2017.

CryptoPunks prices surged in late summer, with the floor price topping $100,000 for the first time in early August. By the end of the month, the floor was above 100 ETH (about $340,000 then), following the project’s best single day of secondary trading volume (over $143.5 million on August 28) and major news, such as Visa buying a CryptoPunk.

At the time, the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s floor price was less than half that of CryptoPunks. But over the last few months, the Bored Apes have caught fire thanks to a number of splashy events, including the launch of a related Mutant Ape Yacht Club series (given free to existing Bored Ape holders) plus a star-studded exclusive concert in New York City in November.

Celebrities have increasingly flocked to the Bored Ape Yacht Club, as well, with Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Curry, and Post Malone amongst the well-known buyers in recent months. And since Yuga Labs lets Bored Ape owners commercialize their NFT images, Ape holders are being tapped for initiatives such as virtual bands backed by Timbaland and Universal Music.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club will also develop a play-to-earn crypto game in partnership with Animoca Brands, and plans to launch an Ethereum token in Q1 2022. It just launched an official partnership with apparel brand Adidas, as well.

By contrast, the CryptoPunks creators have not actively engaged their community of late, and the rules for who can commercialize the NFTs is still unclear. Some holders have complained about the lack of communication from Larva Labs, particularly in contrast to the Bored Apes approach, in which membership offers a growing number of tangible benefits.

Earlier this month, one well-known owner sold all of his CryptoPunks, most notably #4156 for more than $10.25 million worth of ETH. Speaking as his pseudonymous namesake Punk4156, the owner told Decrypt that he had become frustrated over Larva’s unclear commercialization guidance, plus the team’s aggressive copyright actions against derivative projects.

While Bored Apes have steadily risen in value in recent weeks, the CryptoPunks price floor has steadily sunk. It was down to 68 ETH (about $271,000) on December 10, and has fallen significantly over the last week-plus, while the Bored Ape Yacht Club floor price has risen slightly (from 52 ETH) since then.

CryptoPunks are still considered the O.G. of Ethereum NFT profile pictures, and they’ve sold for much higher sums than any Bored Ape. The top CryptoPunks sale price is $11.8 million, from back in June, while the top Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT sold for $3.4 million in October.

All told, CryptoPunks have generated more than $1.8 billion in secondary market trading volume since June 2017. Meanwhile, the core Bored Ape Yacht Club collection has yielded $900 million in secondary trading volume since April, with the entire franchise—including the Bored Ape Kennel club and Mutant Ape drops—boosting that sum to nearly $1.5 billion, per CryptoSlam.

On the high end, the Punks still reign supreme. But amid growing discontent from holders and declining entry-level prices, the rival Bored Ape Yacht Club—with its larger focus on perks and privileges—could be chipping away at the CryptoPunks’ legendary status.