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Seller ‘rugs’ $30M CryptoPunks collection minutes before Sotheby’s auction


NFT enthusiasts and fine art collectors have been left confused, after an auction for a collection of 104 CryptoPunks estimated to be worth around $30 million was canceled at the last-minute.

The event, hosted by famous fine-goods auctioneer Sotheby’s, was on track to be one of the largest NFT auctions in history — up until the pseudonymous owner of the ‘Punk It!’ collection suddenly withdrew from the auction.

The CryptoPunk hodler’s reasons behind the move remain unclear, however in the aftermath of the canceled auction, the anonymous owner who goes by ‘0x650d’ on Twitter sent out a seemingly nonchalant tweet to his 12 thousand followers noting “nvm, decided to hodl”

The collector went on to make light of the situation, posting a meme insinuating that they were “taking punks mainstream by rugging Sothebys.” While this wasn’t an actual “rug pull” where investors are illegally stripped of funds, it certainly left Sotheby’s and the community in the dark. 

Haralobos Voulgaris, a quantitative researcher for the Dallas Mavericks, wcalled the collector a “clown”, 

“[0x650d] may have made their motivations about their decision to pull out slightly more clear — choosing to poke fun at the high fees charged by auction houses like Sotheby’s.”

The NFT industry has witnessed near-exponential growth in 2021, with CryptoPunks, created by Larva Labs, generating over $2 billion in sales volume since inception. 

Despite the fact that this would have been Sotheby’s first entirely NFT-focused event, the auction house has shown an aptitude for capitalizing on the lucrative NFT market, selling over $100 million worth in NFTs last year alone, $24 million of which occurred at a single auction.

Related: CryptoPunks community reacts to the ongoing copyright battle between v1 and v2

This recent clash shines light into the ideological chasm between the nonconformist “cyberpunk” culture of Web 3 and the more composed, “highbrow” culture of traditional institutions.