International auction house Sotheby’s cancelled an auction for 104 CryptoPunk NFTS hours before it was due to start.
A live sale for the lot, which was expected to fetch between $20m (£15m) and $30m, was supposed to be held yesterday at Sotheby’s New York auction house. In a surprise turn around Sotheby’s issued a statement on Twitter, which said: “following discussions with the consignor, tonight’s Punk It sale has been withdrawn.” Sotheby’s also thanked panelists who were scheduled to speak at the high profile event.
The seller gave scarce details about the decision to withdraw the lot in a tweet which read: “nvm, decided to hodl.”
A staple of the traditional art world, Sotheby’s took the plunge into the world of non-fungible tokens last year and has already raised $100m through a series of auctions.
CryptoPunks is one of the oldest NFT collections and contains 10,000 unique images. The craze for digital collectibles has shown strong momentum over the past 12 months. Projects including CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club have attracted investment from the likes of Justin Bieber, Serena Williams and Eminem, helping to catapult NFTs into mainstream culture.
In June Sotheby’s sold a single CryptoPunk image, known as #7523, for $11.8m. Yesterday’s sale would have marked “the highest valued estimate for an NFT or digital art ever offered at auction” according to Sotheby’s.
While NFTs are generating plenty of hype the assets also come with considerable risks for investors. Not only is the price of NFTs highly speculative, but security risks continue to plague the infrastructure used to purchase and hold the assets.