V1 vs. V2: the ongoing debate about where crypto art “lives”

CryptoPunks v1 vs. v2

Since we all know that Twitter is an unsearchable dumpster fire making it functionally a Snapchat for old people, here’s an extended thread that would otherwise be lost in the graveyard of Web2 but very much deserves to be preserved for posterity. So for your enlightenment and education, here’s a thread about “V1” CryptoPunks vs. “V2” CryptoPunks. Without further ado:

Pete D: Bitcoin Maxi buddy of mine from way back in the day is looking to allocate 30-40 BTC (~425-575 ETH) to digital art. He’s never owned any crypto-asset other than BTC, has sold less than 10% of his holdings since 2012, and the only NFT he’s considering is… CryptoPunks.

Kenobi:i Your friend should be looking at @v1punks, the only CryptoPunks collection that were ever minted (the v2’s you linked were airdropped by LL to V1 holders back in 2017). From June 9th to the 22nd, only collection of CrypoPunks that existed, were the V1s. ‘CryptoPunks.sol’ (v1’s) deploy date: June 9th, 2017. ‘CryptoPunksMarket.sol’ (v2’s) deploy date: June 22nd, 2017. The blockchain doesn’t lie.

Raster Eyes:ii Punks value is not derived from being the first NFT. In fact they aren’t. There are several pre-punk NFTs. They have value for being the first successful NFT that actually developed a secondary market. And that can’t be said for v1s. Also, v1s aren’t punks. They are voided certificates that once represented ownership of a punk, but no longer do. Recently a small group of people unassociated with the creators of punks started misrepresenting them as punk certificates, and unfortunately some fell for it.

Kenobi: CryptoPunks are the first pfp. There are no other 10k NFT pfp collections prior to the CryptoPunks.iii Also, the blockchain doesn’t lie. V1 punks were on the blockchain first by 13 days on a contract named ‘CryptoPunks.sol’ and point to same image has as the V2 ‘CryptoPunksMarket.sol’

Raster: Firstly, punks weren’t designed with pfp in mind, just digital artwork. Also, there are records of the creators of punks saying that ownership of the artworks would be migrated to the fixed contract. The old tokens were essentially voided by the artists.

Kenobi: You can’t ‘void’ the blockchain just like George Lucas can’t void the original, unaltered, Star Wars trilogy and claim the Special Editions are the REAL Star Wars. PFPs or not, CryptoPunks are the first NFT collection of its kind and V1s predate them by 2 weeks.

Raster Eyes: Yea, you can’t void the blockchain. Just like if I hand out certificates of ownership to people for a public art installation, realize there is a problem with the certificates and hand out new ones, I can’t force the people to throw out the old ones. But as the creator and/or IP holder of the artworks, I can say which certificates I recognize as the valid ones, and make it explicitly clear which certificates are the valid ones. Which essentially makes the old ones invalid or “voided” even though they still exist. And the usage license that was later given to punk holders was not extended to v1 holders, making it even more clear which tokens are the “valid” ones.

Kenobi: LOL you’re a couple weeks behind. Yuga bought Punk IP and allowed the previous owner’s DMCA takedown to expire. Picaso once signed a napkin, is it art? Or merely a signature? When I collected comics and cards, error prints were more valuable. Bullish. Imagine finding an old manuscript of Davinci’s sketches containing early drafts of the Mona Lisa. Should it be voided and thrown out? Or might people be interested in collecting such a rare item?

Raster: That’s completely different. You are talking about material collectibles. These collectibles are immaterial, and the tokens are only created to represent ownership of that immaterial artwork.iv To say that these certificates also represent ownership of those same immaterial artworks, is forcing legitimate certificate holders to share ownership of that artwork with someone else against their will. Also, minting errors are more valuable because they are rarer. In this case there is an exact same supply of each.

Kenobi: this couldn’t be further from the truth. you don’t understand NFTs at all, LOL

Raster: If you don’t think that is the truth, then I’m sorry but you don’t understand NFTs at all. Maybe for NFTs with the art embedded right into the token, like in the case of autoglyphs. But in the case of punks, the artwork is just publicly displayed outside of the token contract. And the token contract is just a registry of who owns the certificates for those publicly displayed immaterial artworks.

Kenobi: The same image hash for all 10k CryptoPunk is embedded in both the V1 and V2 contracts. V1s were first. I don’t make the rules.

Raster: Being first doesn’t matter though. The devs and the community all agreed to migrate to the new contract. All punk activity happened there for years and years. It wasn’t til recently that someone who claimed 1k punks and sold them all way too early decided to market the v1s. Sold them to a bunch of other people to create an army of people misrepresenting what v1s are to pump their bags. If they didn’t misrepresent v1s as ownership of actual punks there wouldn’t be a problem here. But representing them as such is snakeoil. Like you said, the same image hash is in both contracts. So they are the same punks.

Kenobi: Correct. Except that the V1 smart contract containing the same image hash existed alone on the blockchain, for 13 whole days, before the V2s existed. That is historic, and some people might find V1s collectible for that simple reason. […] Being first doesn’t matter? Tell me would you rather own Spider-Man #1? Or #2? Better yet, would you want to own a Stan Lee manuscript containing early artwork of Spider-Man which pre-dates any Sprider-Man comicbook? If you say ‘no’, you’re lyin’ haha

Raster: Not comparable. Again, these are just certificates of ownership for immaterial art. The punks are just punks, there is no “issue #1” and “issue #2” there is just old certificates that were abandoned as a tool for ownership because it was broken. And a new one that replaced it. Like you said, the same image hash was used in both contracts. The contracts point to the same public artworks. To come in 4 years later and try to reverse the transfer of value could be seen as fraudulent even.

CryptoCurrenzy: If @yugalabs sees eye2eye with you they should be burning all the V1’s they acquired from Larva Labs any day now. Something tells me their not going to do that. Time will tell

Raster: Why would they burn them? That only makes [v1] more rare, thus more special. Burning an NFT can be a tribute to it in a sense. IMO they should make their own “official v1 wrapper” that represents v1s as what they are, voided certificates. Maybe it a b&w of the punk with VOID stamp

Pete: V1

Void Ape

Kenobi: Imagine trying to ‘void’ or ‘cancel’ the provenance of the blockchain. NGMI Karen.

Raster: No one is voiding the provenance of the blockchain. It was stated by the artists who issued the certificates on the blockchain that new certificates would be distributed to the holders based on a snapshot from right before the exploit was discovered. Because that value within the certificate was transfered to the new certificates long ago. And to say that the old certificates still represent ownership of punks goes against historical records, and forces current holders to share ownership of their punks with strangers. The only thing the provenance of the blockchain tells us is that these tokens were issued first, and that they are broken. It also shows that new tokens were deployed that aren’t broken. The provenance also shows all trading activity since then happened with the new tokens.. Soooo, trying to say the v1s actually represent ownership of punks is the actual attempt to “void the provenance of the blockchain” , Karen. All the holders agreed to this transfer of value from the old certificates to the new ones. And it wasn’t until recently that the old certificates were re-marketed for sale. Which is fine, it’s a cool historical document. But they no longer represent ownership of CryptoPunks.

Punk4052: [V1] is a pernicious marketing ploy, which thumbs its nose to the canon of trading history i.e. the organic and revolutionary market discovery that occurred. This new narrative is fraudulent, and especially damaging to newcomers in the space.

Y’all can probably guess which side of this “controversy” I fall on, mostly because I see the object of ownership, ie. token, as the certificate of authenticity, not the right-click-save-as-able digital art that we all enjoy. We don’t all enjoy the art equally, of course, one because our tastes and educations differ, but also because some of us have the additional psychic satisfaction that can only come with ownership,v but the point remains that we can all “own” the JPEG, but can we buy it and sell it? In the case of V1 and V2 Punks, it seems that there are indeed competing claims on this ability to engage commercially with the artwork. While it may even be the case that the “V1” market continues to gain ground on the more established “V2” tokens, market value isn’t everything. To the extent that each of these tokens-slash-certificates-of-authenticity is access to a community, there’s only one that opens the door to the OG crypto art community.vi

Those who know the difference, know. Those who don’t, don’t. So the question becomes: who are you really signalling to? Because that’s where the art really lives: the network.vii

___ ___ ___

  1. I’m really not sure who the fuck Kenobi is but he’s definitely in the “Marcus” camp.
  2. Raster is an absolute legend and OG in the Punks space. He’s currently one of the CryptoPunks Discord moderators and has been in the space since 2018. 
  3. While this was almost certainly true at the time, the crypto art space was so nascent in 2017 that saying “there are no other 10k NFT pfp collections prior to the CryptoPunks” is like saying that “there was no Système Panhard before 1892 when Émile Levassor designed an automotive layout with an internal combustion engine at the front of the vehicle, connected to a clutch, and behind that a gearbox driving the rear wheels.” YOU DON’T SAY!!11 How inevitable history seems, if only in hindsight. Indeed, properly knowing the past is often as untenable as fully knowing the future.
  4. What does ownership of immaterial artwork really mean? How am I supposed to know!! Who do you think I am, Mitchell F. Chan?
  5. Incompatible with some philosophical conceptions of “ownership,” none of us has the ability to out and out destroy the object in consideration here, massively distributed and broadly copied as digital art is. 
  6. If you take the side that V1 Punks are less about membership and more about dominance, who do you suppose is legitimately impressed that you’re using a faulty contract disavowed by the project’s original creators and original community. What are you, the Apple Lisa Fan Club carrying on Steve’s “true” vision for the company? Do you also spend your evenings hanging out on the Winkelvii’s proto-Facebook social media platform?
  7. As also discussed elsewhere in the Web2 swamp:

    Phantom Scribbler: CryptoPunks will continue to fade into the backdrop as more and more NFT projects launch and provide even more lucrative incentives/roadmaps/airdrops. No idea how it plays out. The top spot is there for the taking though, since Apes flipped CryptoPunks anything is possible.

    AndersonCopper: Personally, I look at a CryptoPunk PFP Twitter I will follow and read more, because usually ppl who got punks are crypto project founders or early crypto adopters. We have so far rarely seen any punk holders lost their NFTs due to hacks/phishing… And to put in the art world term: Sure some new collectors (usually rich kids, Miami real estate developers, DJs) can get a Javier Calleja for $1-2M now, however, they will be viewed differently by art collectors who collect more sophisticated stuff like $1M Stanley Whitneys. Like it’s hard to describe. Some stuff are equally expensive, but some are more tacky, some are more elegant, maybe the imagery and the different crowd they attract. If you get my idea… It’s quite often the case in art world, car world, watch world, any type of luxury-ish world. Like I would look twice at someone wearing a good Issey Miyake with no logos, rather than someone with Balenciga logos all over them.

    Phantom: Very true and also that’s exactly the type of community I want to be associated with.

    Pete D: Virgil described this difference as “normcore” vs. “logomania”. IMO the thing with normcore is that you can rock Issey Miyake (Homme Plisse ideally) at the beach club just as easily as you can on the bus in the “wrong” side of town. Elegance is much more flexible. Like Punks.

    Unit: It’s an “if you know you know” thing.

    Pete: Right. It’s a visual conversation between people with education. Without the education, it’s just another shirt/watch/painting.

    Unit: As an aside—this education is only going to get more important. Bad decade to be wealth signaling blatantly as wealth gaps continue to grow.

    And how.

4 thoughts on “V1 vs. V2: the ongoing debate about where crypto art “lives”

  1. Jeff says:

    Pete – been meaning to ask you about your conversion/reformation from Maxi to ETH NFT dude. Have you written about this anywhere yet?

  2. Jeff says:

    thanks for answering, Pete. My bad for the delayed reply. Lot’s to digest here. Will follow up.

  3. […] like market-making, as exemplified by the Mugrabis and their Warhol collection, but in the case of Crypto Art it really just looks like being 3-6 months early to the party and then – counterintuitively […]

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