The 10,000 Bitcoin Pizza Story, but it's NFTs.
Read below for a story that equals the 10,000 Bitcoin Pizza story in importance and (maybe) value in the future? Who knows. This one has a crazy end to it.
7 Alien CryptoPunks and 7 Ape CryptoPunks
Meet Straybits, the main character in this amazing story. The man that claimed 7 Alien CryptoPunks and 7 Ape CryptoPunks. Straybits, otherwise known as Moxsly on Discord, claimed these CryptoPunks on June 9th of 2017. And, his amazing collection of 14 CryptoPunks consisting of Aliens and Apes were sold for a total of 99.5 Ethereum worth about $38,445.
Ever since I found out about CryptoPunks 9 months ago, this story stuck with me and I had to get an interview with Straybits. Finally, you can hear from the man himself below in this article.
To get an idea of how much these are worth right now, let’s take figures from the latest Alien and Ape sales. The last Alien sold for $10M on auction at Sotheby’s and the last Ape sold for $1.5M on LarvaLabs (using USD terms for accuracy) — that’s over $100M worth of CryptoPunks using those numbers. Not counting that the cheapest Ape listed for sale right now is $3.2M and there are currently 0 Alien punks listed.
Now, a visual representation for some of you:
However, in this case, this story is super important in the CryptoPunks world. Straybits owned 7 of the 9 CryptoPunks that *can* ever exist, and, 7 of the 24 Apes that *can* ever exist. One person owning a majority of the supply never ends well. You can argue that CryptoPunks would still be worthless at this current date if it weren’t for the sales of these punks.
Now, let’s get onto the interview, I will be re-interpreting what Straybits said so these aren’t his “exact” words.
When you found out about CryptoPunks, why did you claim these specific Punks?
When I read the Github “read me” initially, it was said how many Zombies, Apes and Aliens existed and specifically mentioned an Alien with a pipe and a hat. I wanted to go and find that specific Alien but the first Punk I actually claimed was CryptoPunk #2077 just because I read that CyberPunk 2077 was actually announced and I wanted to learn more about how Smart Contracts work to make sure I could do it correctly.
So I claimed that Punk and understood how it works, so I went looking — early June of 2017, LarvaLabs’s site had all the punks but you had to sift through this giant PNG file to find the punk and the number, etc.
I ended up spending that afternoon just going through this image file and trying to find all the Aliens that I could, the first Alien being the infamous #7804 (Peruggia’s Punk). I looked and saw it was unclaimed so I claimed it, and since that wasn’t claimed, I thought there would be others and ended up with 6 more Aliens. I missed out on the other 2 aliens but after they were all picked up, I looked through and picked up 8 more Apes.
I ended up getting a few more that looked interesting and ended up with around 20 CryptoPunks. After claiming all of these punks, I kind of figured I’d let people enjoy the project and pick up some punks.
Did you keep an eye on the prices after claiming these CryptoPunks?
I didn’t really get into CryptoPunks by initially looking at it as an investment because all I spent were pennies in gas fees at the time but I saw it as a cool and fun opportunity to do something new.
However, as it started growing momentum, I started to get larger and larger bids on the Aliens and understood that this is actually worth something real.
Initially, it was just an experiment to understand smart contracts and how Ethereum works a bit better; while participating in something cool.
What made you end up selling the CryptoPunks?
At the time, I reached a point in my life where I wanted to travel the world. I ended up quitting my job, putting half my savings into ETH and then a week later I headed over to Sri Lanka.
I started exploring when I got there, drove along with the city, then got back in the evening and hang out in the punks chat.
Some of the days I spent talking to a Dutch Monk who stayed at a hermitage there and I visited him often, he was actually quite technical, he understood Linux and we spoke about blockchains, smart contracts & CryptoPunks. This was during the time where I decided to sell one. I had regular conversations with one of the OGs and had a pretty good relationship with them. After a while, we discussed, he gave a good offer and I wanted him to have an Alien so we made it happen.
This was actually around the time that the flaw in the contract happened and LarvaLabs “reissued” CryptoPunks, almost everyone honoured the old contract and ended up with the same punks. I got similar bids slowly and it was around that time where I thought I should sell some of these, I didn’t see the point in one person just hoarding these punks, people need to be enjoying these things and that’s why I decided to sell more of the Aliens and Apes.
What were your thoughts on Alien CryptoPunk #605 when it sold?
When I heard about #605, it was around February and my Mom actually told me about it as she knew I was into Crypto and I used to own these aliens. It blew my mind when I heard about it and took some time to process but then I realised that these are actually making a mark.
I still had around 5 punks at this time including a couple of tiaras.
So, before we go into the next question, let me tell you why this story is one of the greatest things that I’ve heard in the NFT space. And, a story better than the 10,000 Bitcoin Pizza story.
As you may have read in the first question, Straybits claimed 8 Ape punks. Not 7. He found out about a hidden Ape CryptoPunk in one of his wallets around 2 months ago. After selling most of his rare ones in 2017 and staying in the Punks discord for years, he found a Punk worth a few million.
A crazy story. And, you can hear in detail from Straybits himself in the next question.
Can you run me through your emotions on the day you discovered the Ape CryptoPunk?
I always had this naggy feeling for years that I claimed another punk with another wallet. When I quickly looked through things, I didn’t see anything so I thought I was wrong.
So, I began looking into some old transactions to try to find some ETH that I put into another project when I stumbled upon a little bit of ETH in another wallet. When I saw that transaction, I wondered what wallet that was and went through all my old wallets till I found it. It was a moment of silence. It was a surreal feeling. A shock. A complex set of emotions.
Who was the first person you told?
The first person I told was my Mother and then my partner.