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Binancepunks vs. Cryptopunks NFTs — What is Art?

Early this morning, a fork of the seminal project Cryptopunks was created on the Binance Smart Chain. Binancepunks is a complete copy/paste of the original project according to its Twitter detractors (I haven’t checked). It certainly looks the same on the surface.

But honestly I’m less interested in the technical aspects of this development and much more interested in how the market will view it. We’re in an open source environment where any and everything can be and has been copied. In the small Twitter war that is erupting around Binancepunks, there’s an argument that Larvalabs should sue the Binancepunks creator(s) for copyright infringement. Larvalabs also came out with an interesting tweet that the Binancepunks project “is in no way an authorized project.”

https://twitter.com/larvalabs/status/1364041628508434432

I had to lol at this one. Larvalabs is the authority now? I get what they were trying to say — to distance themselves from Binancepunks for those who may have assumed the same team was responsible — but the language was unfortunate. Everything in crypto is copy/paste to some degree, even the genius projects like Yearn. We may have a more visceral response to clones of visual art because of the immediacy of the visual, but the argument here about the Binancepunk right to exist as a legitimate project is, to me, non-interesting.

Like, seriously. You can’t call Muratpak an “artist” and call Binancepunks illegitimate. That guy fuckin did the exact same thing and got cash AND clout from it.

I also noticed that many of the Twitter folks with something negative to say about Binancepunks had Cryptopunks as their avatars. I assume these must have been some of the lucky folks who were in the right place at the right time and claimed the free Cryptopunks that are now selling for 5 and 6 digits. I do understand the reaction of these people from a financial standpoint. Clones that are so visually similar, even if they are on a separate blockchain, may dampen the market for the original Cryptopunks, and they get less rich.

But they get less rich from a free airdrop. So I’m still like WTF. A few folks were in the right place at the right time, and now because another project is trying to capture that lightning, you have a negative response? Dudes. You didn’t work for those Cryptopunks. You got them free because you were lucky. So anyone shitting on Binancepunks from this perspective is not interesting to me either. This reeks of a perspective informed by traditional finance — “once I get rich, nobody else can have what I have.” Bullshit. In a truly capitalist market, you have to expect developments at the speed of innovation, which blockchain tech makes incredibly fast. If you didn’t sell your Cryptopunk fast enough and you lose value because Binancepunks steals some thunder, that’s your problem, not the market’s. These folks think they are protecting capitalism, but they are really protecting themselves with the same brand of elitist socialism that made crypto necessary in the first place. You got some shit free and you had a window to sell it and make profit. You didn’t. That’s your problem. You have two choices — shut the fuck up and sell or shut the fuck up. You don’t get to rearrange the entire market so you can make a few ETH.

What I am interested in:

 

Why Binance Punks exists: The initial crypto punks distribution was free to claim punks. This made it so that a few early NFT fans had all the fun and have made millions. Now people are more aware of #NFTs. We want to give everyone on #BSC a chance to be a part.

 

This is the text of the tweet pinned to the top of the @Binancepunks Twitter account. I absolutely, 100% agree with this statement. We’ll see if the dev actually believes it or if it’s just some bullshit he used to scam everybody out of $2 million.

I’m interested to see if the market values Binancepunks in the same way as it values Cryptopunks. Assuming Binancepunks are geniunely generated from an algorithm, they hold the same level of scarcity on Binance Chain that Cryptopunks hold on Ethereum. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there isn’t a way to put an Ethereum Cryptopunk on the Binance Chain that I’m aware of. That makes Binancepunks the first project to algorithmically generate NFTs in that universe. Why shouldn’t they have a similar value, and moreover, give folks who didn’t get Cryptopunks FOR FREE a chance to get some profit?

I’m also interested to see if the Binancepunks developer follows through with the project. Because no matter what you or I believe, I think that the value of each and every Binancepunk is solely and fully contingent upon the dev following through with the project. If there is no market created to sell the Binancepunks, then they have no value. If there is no marketing to increase community volume, then there is no one to sell to. All of this is in the hands of the dev team. It’s interesting to me how much we still centralize power in the crypto space even though it is supposed to be decentralized.

And the dev has no excuse for not developing. He made $2.1 million for his (lack of) effort. XD XD XD All of the Binancepunks sold out in a few hours after posting. I was watching the process in real time. It started slowly and cascaded into a full-on gold rush. The first 1000 took like half an hour. The last 1000 took seconds.

Actually, the dev doesn’t have full power. In order for the Binancepunks to have a chance at the same value as Cryptopunks, they must be a part of a full NFT ecosystem. As I write this, there is no Binance equivalent of Opensea and no way to wrap NFTs or borrow against them on Binance. Correct me if I’m wrong. Part of what gives Cryptopunks their value is the ability to wrap and group them and use them in various borrow/lend setups.

If devs on Binance do this organically, I think Binancepunks have a chance at becoming valuable. If Binance devs create this ecosystem, we’re looking at a race war. Ethereum maxis will go nuts. Centralized this. 99 cent store Chinese copycat that. Hmmm. This might actually drive the value up as well.

It’s kind of like Superfarm from Elliotrades. I fuckin hate that smug assclown. But enough people like him that his stupid Superfarm idea is going to be successful even though many parts of it are copy/paste. Or you could think of Binancepunks as the Bitcoin Cash of Cryptopunks. If there is an ecosystem around it, it will probably be successful. But will the community build around it or let it die? Very interesting to see how the crypto space defines “originality” and if that makes a difference any more in the new age of collective intellectualism. Can we have a culture of collective intellectualism but allow financial capitalism?

Personally, I don’t think so. We all, every single one of us, has to rethink what it means to be rich and ask ourselves why we humans have such a need to obtain more than our neighbors. That’s why I’m rooting for the Binancepunks to succeed. It sticks a knife in that kind of thinking — that individual glory type of chest thumping. Think about it. You don’t know any of the names of the folks who keep Bitcoin running. Why should Larvalabs think they have a monopoly on the authority to create a certain kind of NFT? Moreover, why should the community allow any of us a monopoly on the most important type of collective property, namely, the ability to create value?

As I write this, the Twitter count for the Binancepunks Twitter account is exploding. Can’t wait to see how this plays out over the next few weeks and months. Or it may come to nothing. Assuming the dev doesn’t rug like a bitch, the market will decide. And it will be an important decision that will set the course of the world for many years.

Unless the dev rugs. Then it will just be $2.1 million for the dev. XD XD XD

PS — You losers on Twitter who are “reporting” the account… are you serious? Crybabies and crypto don’t mix. Get out of the space. If you disagree with a project, just ignore it. You fucking idiots are just the excuse governments need to (try to) regulate the space.

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