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Sotheby’s Call Off CryptoPunks Sale At Last Moment, Causing Speculation

The much-anticipated CryptoPunks sale at Sotheby’s “Punk It!” met an anti-climactic end as it was called off before beginning.

The auction was focused on a single lot – a group of 104 NFTs from the much sought-after CryptoPunk collection. CryptoPunks are NFTs that compose of digital avatars in futuristic, comic or edgy designs. The collection was designed by Larva Labs in 2017 and became extremely popular in the NFT market since last year. The entire lot was supposed to be sold between $20-$30 million.

The evening began as usual, with drinks and a panel session. The crowd began networking with each other while waiting for the auction to begin. However, officials at Sotheby’s soon announced that the lot had been withdrawn and the auction cancelled. However, the officials assured that the evening would continue as usual, with the meet-and-greet and live music. Around the same time, Twitter user 0x650d, the alleged seller of the lot, tweeted: “nvm, decided to hodl.”

Some of the CryptoPunks to be sold at the auction

The abrupt decision to withdraw the entire lot quickly led to speculation online. The idea that the whole thing was a PR stunt was quickly discarded, but the decision to hold was met with general approval. The primary reason was considered to be the Russia-Ukraine war, which had affected the crypto market, including NFT prices. Many others also believed that the seller realized that NFTs were more valuable as long-term holdings rather than short-term gains.

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While the sale was buzzing within the NFT community, it did not generate much news among the general public. The CryptoPunks in the auction lot were considered “floor” – lower value NFTs. Still, CryptoPunks have a reputation of selling at a high price; even the lowest-selling Punk, “Punk #7456″, fetched $150,000 in a different sale yesterday.