Anonymous Acquires 104 CryptoPunks for $7 Million in a Single Block of Ethereum

In early August 2021, it was reported that an anonymous person purchased over 100 Ethereum-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from the popular CryptoPunks collection. According to the reports, the investor tried not to attract too much attention and used the decentralized block production protocol, MiningDAO.

Therefore, he bribed a miner to include all CryptoPunks purchases in a single Ethereum block. The trade was well planned and calculated, as a member of the community explained. Previously, the anonymous buyer made a smaller purchase at the height of block 12924823, as Etherscan noted.

Typically, to purchase one of these NFTs, a user performs a “normal” Ethereum transaction. The anonymous buyer tried to soften an NFT market reaction. As such, they operated off the radar.

7 million dollars in CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk digital statue
CryptoPunks Fever

In total, some of the cheapest CryptoPunks in the collection came in at a staggering $7 million. The actions taken by the buyer can be a preview of a pattern used by big players to make high-value transactions without scaring the market, as the community member stated:

(…) The buyer bribed a miner to take all “buy punk” transactions and put them all in front of a sequential block in private. This didn’t give anyone a chance to raise their price or withdraw because no one saw the txs until the block was mined.”

The event was one of many that drove the Ethereum NFT Market into a frenzy. Around the same time as the anonymous purchase, Vaynermedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk bought a single CryptoPunks for $3.76 million.

Within the next 24 hours of this purchase, items comprising the CryptoPunks collection had $50 million in sales.

Ethereum network activity explodes in CryptoPunks fever

A recent report by research firm Coinmetrics reported massive growth in the Ethereum-based NFT sector for 2021. As seen below, the sector saw significant growth in September 2020 and a decline in November and December of that same year.

Ethereum ETHUSD

Source: CoinMetrics

The amount of ERC-721, the Ethereum standard used by CryptoPunks and other NFTs, and the transfer count exploded during March 2021. This metric saw a significant decline two months later, but jumped to an all-time high with more than 50,000 transactions in July.

Since its birth, the NFT CryptoPunk collection has seen exponential growth in Ethereum sales. 2018 and 2019 represent their lowest sales years, but the metric soars in July 2020, with “DeFi Summer”.


Source: CoinMetrics

This has morphed into other NFT-based art platforms such as Art Block, Coinmetrics stated:

Art Blocks, a platform to create NFT art, has also seen the biggest high activity of all time in recent weeks after Three Arrows Capital entered a shopping spree, mainly focused on Art Blocks and CryptoPunks. With NFTs becoming a cornerstone of Ethereum’s growing digital economy, institutional players may be paying attention and contributing to this recent growth in volume and activity.

As of this writing, ETH trades are at $3,242 with a 4.85% gain on the weekly chart.

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