21 of the Freshest NFT Art Collections Inspired by the “CryptoPunks”
Ethereum’s ‘OG CryptoPunks’ have unleashed a torrent of ‘Unofficial Punks’ followers lured by the timeless punk aesthetic, a lucrative NFT marketplace and a fledgling artistic movement that is fast becoming the new cultural zeitgeist.
CryptoPunks were arguably the first NFT, despite what some “crypto archaeologists” have unearthed, having originated back in 2017. The interest in NFTs has massively surged since then, and at the time of writing, the 9,999 CryptoPunks NFTs on the OpenSea marketplace are selling at an average of over 25 ETH (appx USD $50,000).
In 2020 and 2021, a surge of ‘Unofficial Punks’, not associated with Larva Labs, creators of the original CryptoPunks, rapidly began to emerge. Motivated by the chance to bank millions in Ethereum cryptocurrency while expressing themselves through 3D and pixel art, many of this new breed of ‘punks’ have enjoyed great success. Others, on the other hand, have yet to realize a breakthrough. Still, the ‘punks’ movement, and NFT community at large, are highly mercurial. Today’s unknown could be tomorrow’s Lambo driver.
For new enthusiasts of ‘crypto’ punks and NFTs in general who want to start collecting, it can seem daunting.
As the OG CryptoPunks become more and more expensive, they’re harder for newcomers to get into. Even now, many of the alternative ‘Unofficial Punks’ have risen so quickly in price that they too have become unattainable for the average collector.
As a result, the following list of The Top 21 “CryptoPunks” Alternatives to Emerge in 2021 has been composed to not only increase the profile of the ‘Unofficial Punks’ movement, but to provide collectors with a guide to help navigate the crowded, halcyon world of NFT ‘punks’ on the Ethereum blockchain.
The following list is in no way ranked based on sales volume or artistic merit; however, I did consider three primary factors in my selections:
- Homage to the OG CryptoPunks
- Artistic Quality
- Originality of Style and Theme
The collections chosen for the list are not the ones that have necessarily banked the most ETH. Instead, the artists displayed successfully pay tribute to the original CryptoPunks, yet have created ‘punks’ that are unique in their own right.
I have also included a mix of established unofficial punks with >10 ETH in sales, and new artists who are <1 ETH in total sales at time of writing in order to showcase both newcomers and more entrenched punk artists.
This list also only covers ‘punks’ to emerge in 2021.
All projects listed below are inspired by the OG Cryptopunks and are not affiliated with Larva Labs.
Without further adieu, here is The Top 21 CryptoPunks Alternatives To Emerge in 2021.
“Basically ASCIIPunks are what would happen if the CryptoPunks fell into a portal and wound up in the terminal dimension!
According to the creator, the ASCII Punks are made of 12x12 lines of text. ASCII stands for “American Standard Code for Information Interchange” and each punk is minted according to an algorithm that produces a random one every time. There are only 2048 that will ever exist.
I like the pure minimalism and computer generated aspect. ASCII Punks get high points for paying homage to the OG CryptoPunks, but also for an original concept that fits the artistic aesthetic of the NFT scene and blockchain technology.
“You’ve seen plenty of punks, but have you heard these? Pixels become midi notes.”
The Midi Punks are the only punks on the list to have audio, and boy is it cool af! Each punk is comprised of midi notes as pixels. All punks play a different tune based on the midi notes and sample. The sounds can be both cacophonous and harmonious, yet the audio really captures the essence of what the punks are all about in a way that is hard to explain. Just check it out! It’s a really neat and original idea that combines art and sound in tribute to CryptoPunk culture.
Metal Clad Punks
‘The Metal Clad Punks have a total supply of 500, with a very small number of animated rares.’
The Metal Clad Punks pay tribute to the OG by adding a shiny metal filter and colorful animations on top of the original designs. The variety of color combinations and embossed look of these punks gives them a unique place in the ‘punkaverse’.
“Friends, RomanPunks, Countrymen, Lend me your ETHs! Every RomanPunk™ is uniquely hand drawn with a set of carefully crafted properties. Aliens, zombies, apes, time travelers, neon gladiators, rainbow centurions and famous punks through history are represented as 1,000 unique characters in the RomanPunk Empire.”
If you look closely, you can see the RomanPunks are truly paying tribute to the OG CryptoPunks, but they have a unique flair of their own. Artistic use of bright colour, facial expressions and a mix of historical, pop culture and sci fi lore make this a very intriguing project to watch. With only under 100 minted already, we look forward to seeing what new surprises they have in store.
Rock Legend Punks
“Collection of Iconic Rock N’ Roll Superstars! Only 250 will ever be minted! Every Rock Legend is 1/1 and will never be duplicated.”
Who doesn’t love rock stars? \m/ x_x \m/ Great rock legends done with a CryptoPunk aesthetic? Where do we sign up? The still photo above doesn’t do these punks justice, since the Rock Legend Punks are animated gifs! So you’d better check out the links below. This will be a collection to watch, for sure.
“Prehistoric Punks from the Cryptacious Period. A curated, (mostly) generative illustration project. With the exception of the custom designs, each genus in the series is randomly compiled in a separate p5.js. generator. The collection is now limited to 500 editions with an unrevealed number of species and variants.”
It was only a matter of time before someone would do a dinosaur-themed version of the punks, but who would have imagined they would be THIS cool! These ‘saurus-es’ are animated and colorful and you can even name your own JurassicPunk!
“GeniusPunks are a punky-looking #NFT collection of famous geniuses. 42 geniuses only”
As if these aren’t the cutest darn geniuses you ever did see! Clearly if there are only 42 geniuses, then they must be the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
“These ARE the Punks you’re looking for! LegoPunks will be a limited edition of 300 different Punks. Each one is unique and will be a 1/1 series.”
There is some inspiration from the 3D Punks here, and we like what they’ve done with the place. An eclectic collection of 3D Lego head punks. They’re modular, don’t you know?
“Cutiepunks are programmatically generated. With over 8 variables, we are able to generate an est. of 8 Billion different uniquely crafted GIFs of Cutiepunks. Each variable is crafted and design carefully, every Cutiepunk is unique. We will only be releasing 10,000 Cutiepunk. Show off your personality by adopting one.”
These Cutiepunks were just TOO CUTE not to include on this list. From what we can see, there is a great deal of variety in the designs of the only 600 approximately that have been minted already. We look forward to seeing the remaining collection and picking out the rare traits!
“Manually trashed using digital technologies to further binary humanity and stuff.”
You don’t have to look very hard to see the depth of creativity on these trash punks. They are taking the OG skins and adding all sorts of funky, punky, random, animated characteristics. Don’t take our word for it, go check them out yourself!
“We are the first and only sportPunks, a tribute to the best athletes in the world and a homage to the OG cryptopunks by Larva Labs”
If you love sports, you’ll love these sport punks. If you don’t care about sports, you’re probably not even reading this sentence right now. They cover a HUGE range of athletes from all the pro sports you can think of, including football. Yes. BOTH kinds of football.
“DystopianPunks are UnofficialPunks with Cyberpunk style, part of the Punkverse. Only 100 unique Punks will be available.”
These Dystopian Punks have carefully crafted each punk to display a gorgeous cyberpunk aesthetic. The colors are on point, and the amount of detail added to the punks, while still paying mad homage to the OG is stunning!
9. Rap Punks
“OG Hip Hop Legends meet OG Crypto Punks 👑💯🔥 Jay-Z, 2pac, Eminem, MF DOOM, ODB, Kanye, Drake and more!”
What’s more punk than rap and more rap than punk? Rap Punks! The artist is paying mad props to the old schooland new generations alike with some sick pixel art work that really does a good job capturing the essence of the rappers’ appearances and personalities.
“Anime Punks™ are the dopest NFT Animed HeroPunks collection. If you know all heroes you must know how rare and limited collection is! Each character is a originally drawn unique pixel art image.”
You can’t see it here, but the animated gifs flashing on these punks are off the charts! Clearly a special talent has gone into producing these characters. And if you KNOW your anime, you KNOW that the Anime Punks are straight up legit!
“Punks for the people, by the people. All punks guaranteed certified.”
Bespoke means ‘tailor made’, and if you connect with Bespoked Punks, you can get your own custom designed punk. Pretty neat, eh? So go connect with the fine people through the links below.
“DEATH PUNKS™ is the spectre of DEATH brought to Unofficial Punks. There will only ever be 666 DEATH PUNKS. Get ready to die.”
Death. Not the Grim Reaper, just deathly original animations and color combinations used in this eclectic Collection of the Beast that pays great homage to the OG while demonstrating much creative expression.
“NFT outfits for all 10,000 punks”
Now THIS is what I call taking the CrytoPunks to the next level! Look at the creativity and detail in those outfits! That mech suit is lit! The variety and eclectic mix of costumes and accessories is a delight to the ocular cavities. Feast your eyes, open your MetaMask!
“Impasto: “An Italian word for “mixture,” used to describe a painting technique wherein paint is thickly laid on a surface, so that brushstrokes or palette knife marks are visible.””
This is probably what the CryptoPunks would look like if Van Gogh had a go at ’em. Well he didn’t. But these Impasto Punks really do look great with the layered effect the ‘impasto’ gives them. A whole new breed of punks here!
Da Vinci Punks
“Da Vinci Punks is a digital art project paying homage to Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on science and inventions. They are all unique and single edition NFTs. Only 100 unique Da Vinci Punks will ever exist.”
There’s only going to be 100, better collect them now before they’re gone, and headed for the moon! This is a great example of a real artist combining the punk phenomenon with the works of the greatest sketch master.
“PicassoPunks is a digital art project on the Ethereum Blockchain paying homage to Picasso. They are unique and single edition 1/1 NFTs. Only 1000 unique PicassoPunks will be created.”
Here it is. The crème de la crème of the unofficial punks. Massively trending, and for a reason. These Picasso Punks have become a new benchmark and source of inspiration for newcomers to the scene.
Fine Art Punks
“My goal is to do one portrait of all 10,000 punks or die trying. Each one comes with a 4k file download so you can make a print for your home or office. A few include a 6k file download. Some are animated.”
These Fine Art Punks is what happens when you have a pro artist put their spin on the CryptoPunks. The amount of work that went into customizing these pieces is staggering. If you look closely, you can see how much actual detail went into the punks. These are not your mama’s punks!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE PUNK COLLECTION!!
Ian Rogers is an educational technology entrepreneur based in Canada. His interests are in NFT art, virtual reality and the gamification of learning.
DISCLAIMER: This article is in no way to be considered financial or investment advice