The Cryptic Case of the CryptoPunks Licenses: The Mystery Over the Licenses for CryptoPunks NFTs

14 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2022

See all articles by Edward Lee

Edward Lee

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Date Written: December 6, 2021

Abstract

The CryptoPunks NFT collection, produced by Larva Labs, is the highest-grossing NFT collection to date. Sales have surpassed $1.6 billion. That figure is all the more astounding given that Larva Labs gave away all 10,000 CryptoPunks NFTs for free in 2017. Christie’s has described the CryptoPunks as “the alpha and omega of the CyptoArt movement.” Adding to their mystique is a legal mystery: What content license governs the use of the CryptoPunks artwork and characters? Shockingly, Larva Labs distributed the 10,000 CryptoPunks NFTs without any written content license in 2017. Apparently, one of the Larva Labs co-founders John Watkinson later adopted the open-source NFT License in 2019 to apply to the CryptoPunks NFTs. But that adoption was in a chat on Discord, a social media platform. Mysteriously, Larva Labs has not officially adopted the NFT License in the Terms and Conditions for the CryptoPunks NFTs on its website. This Article dissects the cryptic case of the CryptoPunks licenses.

Keywords: NFTs, blockchain, web3, metaverse, CryptoPunks, Larva Labs, copyright, licenses

JEL Classification: K10, K30, L82, M11, M20

Suggested Citation

Lee, Edward, The Cryptic Case of the CryptoPunks Licenses: The Mystery Over the Licenses for CryptoPunks NFTs (December 6, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3978963 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3978963

Edward Lee (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

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