Open-Sourcing a New Interface for the Cryptopunks Market

Preserving the long-term independence of the zero-fee, permissionless Cryptopunks Market.

The Cryptopunks are a 4.5 year old experiment in generative, decentralized digital art. We originally gave the Cryptopunks away for free and have since been running the front-end of the decentralized marketplace that’s built into the contract. The market charges no fees, and as creators of the project, we claim no share of secondary sales. We also put the punk images themselves on-chain earlier this fall. So the Cryptopunks (together with its market) are a purely decentralized project, with no reliance on corporate marketplaces, no fees, and no risk of censorship or regulation from centralized authorities.

In the past year as NFTs have exploded in popularity and value, the demands of hosting a marketplace that has seen over $1.8B in transaction volume are such that it has outgrown our two-person creative team. We also strive to think very long-term about this project, and so need to plan for how this project will eventually outlive us. That all being said, anything we do should retain the decentralized purity described above as its primary purpose.

So, with those goals in mind, today we are releasing a new open source codebase to form the basis of a Cryptopunks Market interface 2.0. It will address some of the shortcomings of the current UI, but more importantly will also allow for community input and code contributions as we together tackle problems with increasingly difficult tradeoffs, such as bid acceptance front-running. Anybody will be able to fork and run a marketplace interface of their own, and users can choose the trading experience they prefer, in the true spirit of the decentralized blockchain.

Below is a screenshot of the new marketplace in progress, and the project is on Github.

This new market codebase is functional, but should be considered beta until further testing is complete. It’s focus initially will be around performing transactions, and we will continue to operate the existing Cryptopunks site as a source of information about each Cryptopunk, it’s attributes, and transaction history for the foreseeable future. When testing is complete we will deploy this market on a new domain and slowly migrate the transaction performing portion of the site to the new market.

With this stand-alone open source market interface available for contributions, forks and even independently run instances we hope to ensure the long term future of the Cryptopunks as a truly decentralized project with a permissionless, unstoppable ability to perform transactions not dependent on any one entity.

Finally, we want to make it clear that we believe commercial marketplaces have their place in the ecosystem, and the permissionless nature of the smart contract will always allow for trading on other platforms. For example, Cryptopunks can be wrapped as an ERC-721 and traded on OpenSea. Users should have choices, we just want to ensure that among those choices is the zero-fee direct interaction with the Cryptopunks smart contract.