Issue 23 🍵 CryptoPunks and copyright

The CryptoPunk creators have had enough of this Punk "copy."

Disclaimer: This newsletter is not financial advice. We buy what we like, and you should buy what you like.

As we mentioned last week, there’s been a plethora of avatar NFT projects selling out. Call it the NFT equivalent of a shitcoin, if you will—some are legit projects, most are lottery tickets and a race to exit in profit.

There have been a few satirical projects that popped up (see: My Fucking Pickle), but today, we’re talking about CryptoPhunks. Punks, but they’ve been flipped to face the left.

And honestly, this isn’t the first derivative of CryptoPunks we’ve seen. There are some cool ones like Bastard Gan Punks, which remixes it in a way that feels fresh. There’s also lower-effort ones, like Binance CryptoPunks or SolPunks, that changed the background a little, and then distributed them as is on a new other chain.

But maybe the issue for CryptoPhunks is that it lives on Ethereum, the home chain of CryptoPunks. Maybe that’s why they’re the only ones getting caught in the crossfire of copyright.

Opensea delisted CryptoPhunks from their site after receiving a takedown notice from Larva Labs, the creator of CryptoPunks.

And being delisted is a pretty big deal. Opensea is essentially the Amazon for shopping for NFTs. But unlike regular ecommerce, there aren’t any close substitutes for Opensea.

So, being delisted from Opensea is pretty much a kiss of death. It makes it really, really difficult to foster a secondary market. And replicating Opensea’s interface is one thing, but good luck replicating all of their digital foot traffic, which makes it so important to be visible on Opensea in the first place.

Despite the cyberpunk ethos behind a lot of cryptocurrencies, it doesn’t change that there are laws. And when IP and media is all that media companies have, you bet they are going to be much faster to enforce those copyright laws.

And all in all, Opensea has something to lose by not complying.

There’s no getting around that something as visual as NFTs have a heavy reliance an interface. Unlike Decentralized Finance, it doesn’t matter if DeFi websites get shut down—you can still interact with the smart contract!

Pretty hard to imagine trying to do that with NFTs. (Just lemme convert my descending auction into a 18-digit hexadecimal real quick!)

Decentralized and permissionless does not necessarily mean consequence-less. and when it’s faster to send a DMCA notice than to judge that someone did break some investment laws, this isn’t the last copyright issue we’re gonna see.

Other news

🌱 The Israeli government gave the newly elected president an NFT. Specifically, it was a tokenized replica of the late president’s oath, intended to celebrate the past and the present of Israel. Not gonna lie—governments using NFTs was not in our 2021 bingo.

🌱 The Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami acquired a CryptoPunk, marking the first NFT to enter a museum collection! It’s pretty amazing how we started the year with Christie’s and Sotheby’s immediately accepting all this, and now NFTs are in museums.

🌱 Hyped for the new Space Jam movie? Official NFTs have been released on Nifty (not Nifty Gateway), and they are FREE to collect once you make an account and sharing the NFTs in social media.

🌱 Speaking of movies, Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins’ next film will be released as an NFT on VUELE.

🌱 Music x Web3 community “Songcamp” released a fundraiser for their next project named “Elektra”. It is for the minting of the music NFTs that will be produced within the next 4 weeks.

Reading list

  • Nir of Yup talks about how memes can leverage the power of Web3 through NFTs. From selling the original template as an NFT (like what we’ve seen in the past with Nyan Cat, Doge, and more), to using Splits as a way of citation.

Creative corner

TokBLOK (aka Tyler Brown) makes these clay sculptures that have these monster-under-your-bed vibe.

According to his bio on Foundation, he was abducted by aliens and was told to create these creepy works. Well-met, TokBLOK, and we can’t wait to see more.

Check out TokBLOK’s works on H=N and Foundation, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Try this: Cryptoart Week Asia

As things have been quiet, maybe support some artists by checking out an exhibit in Cryptoart Week Asia!

There are over 40 exhibits around the Metaverse, all featuring artists in Asia. It’s only up to Friday this week, so if you’re interested, take a look.

If you’re more interested in attending a panel, there’s definitely still some interesting ones: personal favorites include a pplpleasr AMA or The Cultural Impact of the Metaverse talk.

You can check out the remaining events for CAWA here.

Finding a cover piece is usually a last-minute scramble, and this week was no exception! Hope you enjoyed this issue.

🍵 See you again next Wednesday!