Why I purchased a “Fake” CryptoPunk for $4000

My CryptoPhunk #1717

The War Begins

Let me set the tone — It’s 2009 and I’ve just wrapped up editing my first ever YouTube video on Windows Movie Maker. I was so excited to share my creation with the world until I was struck with my first ever DMCA notice. My video had been taken down from YouTube and nine-year-old me was introduced to copyright laws for the first time.

Look, to be fair what I created was no more than a slideshow that played over the top of War by Sean Kingston — But nevertheless I was proud of what I’d created, it was a display of an early act of creativity from a kid who just wanted to make something for the fun of it — This kid wasn’t trying to make money or drive sales away from Sean Kingston, he was just trying to express himself.

My SoundCloud account is deleted

The year is 2016 and I’ve started gaining attention on my SoundCloud account — I’d been posting Nightcore remixes of popular songs, which in layman’s terms basically means I sped up the song in Virtual DJ and re-uploaded it under my name.

My first remix to “blow-up” in my eyes was my sped up version of Say It by Flume — The song garnered over 20,000 streams (WOAH SO MANY PLAYS! lol) and pushed me to try produce more of my dodgy DIY remixes in hopes of getting that next dopamine hit of having a song blow up. This pursuit for plays didn’t end well, my account ended up getting deleted because I received one too many strikes for abusing SoundClouds copyright rules. I really do miss that account and feel a deep sense of sorrow inside me when I reminisce on all the playlists and music I’ve lost.

Buying my first CryptoPhunk

I just paid Ξ1.248 (or around $4129.13 USD at the time of writing this post) for a CryptoPunk derivative called a CryptoPhunk. Now why would I do this? Stylistically, the only difference between a Punk and Phunk is the that fact that Phunks have been flipped to face the left side and thats about it, lol.

So you’re telling me you just spent $4000 for a bootleg NFT that the creators literally just flipped?

Uh.. Yes, that’s correct sir, but it actually goes much deeper than this, let me explain.

Punks vs Phunks

CryptoPunks were first created in 2017 by developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson — two avid crypto fanatics who believe that the blockchain “provides a layer of trust that removes the need for lawyers and middlemen.” Punks were first released to the public as a free claim and for months thousands of Punks sat unclaimed on the official Larva Labs website — Now we all know what happened to the value of these OG CryptoPunks right?

Well, not long after the demand began to skyrocket in 2021 for the pixelated avatars a twitter user by the name of @Philiptheintern would launch his derivative project called CryptoPhunks — Not long after both Matt and John would take legal action and pursue the team behind CryptoPhunks (I hope your starting to see how much this contradicts Larva Labs so called beliefs in a true open and decentralised web..)

Phunks would soon then be delisted from OpenSea after becoming the first project to receive a DMCA takedown from Larva Labs. The developers behind CryptoPhunks would soon abandon the project, unwilling to counter the DMCA. The founders actually wrote a letter declaring their withdrawal from the project which can be found here.

But this was only the beginning you see..

Shortly after the CryptoPhunks team resigned a group of OG Phunks holders would emerge from the ashes and build their own royalty free marketplace called NotLarvaLabs. The marketplace has now done over $50m+ in total volume and has a top sale of 100Ξ ($300K+) for an individual Phunk.

Why I purchased my Phunk

You see, I and many others have been fighting centralisation for years now whether we’ve known it or not. You probably didn’t know that Ethereum was first conceived because its founder Vitalik Buterin had his character nerfed in World of Warcraft — Which is what made him realise “what horrors centralised services can bring.”

To me, my Phunk purchase is less of an investment and more of a statement — It encapsulates the transitionary period we find ourselves in between Web2 and Web3. The Phunk is everything Web3 prides itself on and I believe is ironically even more Punk than the original Punks. The Phunk is a big Fuck You to centralisation and I love it — Not to mention it but my Phunk is actually a Pirate which seems quite fitting.

Here’s our chance!

Not until recently have open-source and CC0 projects been a viable option for creators and builders online. Pioneers in the space like NotLarvaLabs, NounsDAO, CrypToadz, Github etc. are all beginning to pave the way for the open and decentralised web that Satoshi Nakamoto originally envisioned in 2009 and I can’t wait.

Be Phree my Phreinds,
Love Teji

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