Yuga Labs, one of the pioneers of the digital generative art movement, is set to release physical edition prints of its iconic CryptoPunks. The announcement was made at a recent gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, organized by Yuga Labs and renowned digital artist Beeple. The event, which required attendees to own a CryptoPunk, sparked speculation about the future plans of the NFT universe.
The release of physical prints of CryptoPunks marks a bold move for Yuga Labs, especially considering Beeple’s involvement. On October 26, Yuga Labs will open up a 48-hour window for holders to obtain a physical version of their digital avatar through the “Punk On Chain” event. The cost for this privilege is $640. In addition, the “10,000 Punks” event allows anyone with an internet connection and $500 to spend to own a single 60-by-60 sheet featuring all 10,000 CryptoPunks.
According to Natalie Stone, CryptoPunks’ general manager, the release of physical prints is a nod to the project’s founding ethos. She explains that just like the initial intention of CryptoPunks to be available and accessible to all, printmaking has a similar history rooted in making great works of art widely available. Stone sees the release as a way to make CryptoPunks more valuable because they will be seen by more eyes.
The physical prints of CryptoPunks are made possible through a partnership with Avant Arte, a contemporary art marketplace aimed at making art more accessible and affordable. Avant Arte, which has already partnered with notable artists in the NFT space, will authenticate each print with a physical and digital certificate of authentication.
Yuga Labs’ decision to release physical prints follows a trend seen in the NFT space, with other projects also exploring the creation of physical editions. Notable examples include Jack Butcher’s release of handmade prints of his Checks series and Damien Hirst’s encouragement of collectors to design and print out physical versions of his Spin NFTs.
In some ways, the release of physical prints by Yuga Labs represents a full circle moment for the NFT movement. When NFTs first gained popularity in early 2021, they promised a future where art would be enjoyed on screens as readily as on white walls. However, recent developments, including cryptocurrency depreciation, oversaturation of NFT projects, and numerous scams, have cooled interest in the space. Yuga Labs’ decision to release physical prints can be seen as a reflection of this shift, embracing the simplicity of traditional printmaking and the tangibility of fiat currency.
Yuga Labs’ foray into physical prints with CryptoPunks demonstrates a willingness to adapt and explore new avenues beyond the digital realm. It will be interesting to see how this move is received by collectors and how it may impact the future of the NFT market.