A rare CryptoPunks alien avatar NFT sells for an all-time high of almost $24 million, double the previous Punks record


CryptoPunks NFT 5822, one of only nine alien Punks, sold for 8,000 ether worth $23.7 million on Saturday.
It set a new sales record at double the $11.8 million price for a CryptoPunks NFT last June.
The growth in NFT sales shows no signs of flagging in 2022, having booked a record January.

A rare CryptoPunks NFT sold for an all-time high of almost $24 million at the weekend, double the price of the previous record-holder, as the digital assets continue to pull in buyers.

CryptoPunks NFT 5822, one of only nine alien Punks, sold for 8,000 ether worth $23.7 million on Saturday, according to data from Larva Labs. The last time it changed hands was in July 2017, when it went for $1,646.

CryptoPunks NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — have been around since 2017, meaning they predate most other NFT collections. Many of the Larva Labs-developed pixelated avatars have sold for millions of dollars over the last few years.

The previous record for a CryptoPunks NFT was set at a Sotheby’s auction last June, when DraftKings investor Shalom Meckenzie purchased the “Covid Alien” Punk 7523 for $11.8 million. However, the biggest on-chain sale was for Punk 4156 in December, which went for $10.26 million on the Larva Labs marketplace.

Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of blockchain tech company Chain.com, revealed on Twitter that he was the most recent buyer. He said he had used DeFi financing through Compound Finance for the purchase — a sign he was long ether and still able to hold the cryptocurrency, he said.

Last year, some NFT owners began using ethereum-based “flash” loans to borrow crypto to make a purchase, paying themselves back immediately in the same transaction. One CryptoPunks NFT purchased this way went for more than $532 million, prompting Larva Labs to say it would filter out alerts for such transactions in the future.

The most expensive legitimate sale of an NFT came in 2021, when Sotheby’s auctioned a Beeple piece for $69 million, kicking off the NFT craze in the mainstream.

NFT sales surged throughout 2021 after that sale in March. In August, NFT sales volume reached $3 billion for the month. At the time, analysts saw this as evidence of speculative retail investors shifting out of bitcoin and meme stocks into the digital assets.

However, January saw a resurgence. NFT sales reached a new all-time high of $7 billion for the month, even though cryptocurrency prices slumped in January.

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