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“Cryptopunk clone” is a term used to describe the cryptocurrency that has been created by the popular blockchain platform, Ethereum. The term was first coined by Vitalik Buterin and is used as a way of describing how similar it is to Bitcoin.
Redditor LittleDoofus questioned a few months back, “Can someone explain to me why NFT ‘clones’ are selling for so much?”
NFT clones profit on the popularity of NFT collections by publishing comparable, if not identical, copies of the artwork under similar-sounding companies. LittleDoofus was perplexed as to why we’ve suddenly placed such a high value on NFTs, even if they’re just copies of well-known NFT artworks.
LittleDoofus’ message went on to say:
“OK, I can see how the CryptoPunks or Ether Rocks projects may be considered significant digital artifacts, but what’s up with the clone project craze?” Why do I see so many lame CryptoPunks clone projects (with no link to Larva Labs) selling for a lot of money? Is it simply con artists attempting to con each other?”
Where do NFT clones fit within open-source crypto culture, is a fair issue. I decided to seek the opinions of long-time crypto developers as well as the clone producers themselves.
To begin, I’m referring to precise replicas of well-known projects when I say “clones”: Consider CryptoPhunks, which merely copied the original legendary NFT CryptoPunks series, which today sells for millions of dollars each. CryptoPhunks are a cryptocurrency that costs a bit less than one Ether.
There are also clones on various blockchains. SolPunks, for example, was constructed on the Solana blockchain and “is in no way associated” with Ethereum-based Larva Labs and CryptoPunks. The punks, on the other hand, have the same appearance.
To set themselves apart from the originals, CryptoPhunks performed the bare minimum. (Image courtesy of Twitter)
There are also NFT “derivatives” that capitalize on a well-known brand’s appeal by adopting a similar “punk” or “ape” moniker. Depending on who you ask, these clones are called copycats, imposters, tributes, spinoffs, or rent seekers. CryptoFUNKS, for example, applied the moniker to hand-drawn stick figures.
The open source concept of crypto intersects with recreation and remixing as well. Create something, share it, and inspire others to build on it. SushiSwap originated as a clone of Uniswap’s code before branching off on its own.
Daniel Bar, a crypto entrepreneur and community organizer, cites the current craze in generative art as an example of popular culture being copied.
“It’s a little like ICOs in 2017,” he adds, “mimicking blooms like wildflowers.” “However, it aids the industry’s learning and development.”
He admits that clone NFT ventures may draw some funding that would otherwise be directed to the original.
“People who purchase the clones might have bought the actual ones,” he argues, “so they may be discounted if one fewer bidder offers.” “However, the genuine ones come with real benefits that the fakes don’t, so it’s the equivalent of purchasing an imitation Rolex.” The Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) provided members with access to exclusive events. CryptoPunks were utilized as free NFT Meebit drop tickets. That isn’t anything that can be duplicated.
Crypto communities are similarly multi-faceted, ideological, and sophisticated. And, although blockchain’s distinctive strength is verifying “things” to facilitate confidence between partners, the present bull market has seen a lot of speculative spending on digital assets, fueled by memes and counter-culture. In this case, valuable clones make sense.
But first, let’s go through the basics. What is a nonfungible token, sometimes known as an NFT? This term underpins the whole discussion concerning NFT clones’ emergence and why people purchase them.
CryptoFunks, on the other hand, are variants that mimic the original while performing a distinct function. (Photo courtesy of OpenSea)
Digital property rights are becoming more prevalent.
The year of the NFT is 2021, as everyone knows. NFT is the word of the year, according to Collins Dictionary. From Canadian ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to corporations like Marvel comics, everyone has their own line.
Original projects have an obvious collectable focus, however clones of a successful NFT series have a more ambiguous collectible angle. We realize that clone initiatives are valuable and profitable (even if not at the level of their originals). Surprisingly, nearly no one is sold a fake and believes it is the genuine article.
The term “nonfungible” refers to an object that is one-of-a-kind and cannot be duplicated. Every NFT is a one-of-a-kind token, and although the associated picture may be copied, the creator’s wallet address cannot be forged, and “minting” is a direct line of provenance. The act of “minting” an NFT identifies a certain user as the token’s originator and initial owner.
(As an aside, hackers may be able to “sleepmint” an NFT, thus altering the chain of ownership.) However, the developers I dealt with were unsure whether this was even feasible.)
So, an NFT is a tokenized notary service that establishes and certifies the creator’s wallet address. They may assist musicians, artists, and others in demonstrating that they made something.
NFTs reveal “the whole audit trail, degree of validity associated to each unique token that you can see past ownership – people put significant value to that,” according to Michael Kong, CEO of Fantom Foundation.
It’s about a lot more than pixelated punks ripped off the internet. The potential for immutable provenance wrapped in an NFT is just now being investigated. NFTs have the ability to securely encapsulate any data. That is why real believers in open source are eager to see development in the field.
Even for Clones, the open source revolution is pushing up pricing.
Copyright allegations have resulted in the shutdown of copied projects in the cases of CryptoFUNKS and Sad Frogs District. The de-listing of NFT clone CryptoFUNKS by the most well-known NFT marketplace Open Sea in October paradoxically only strengthened its popularity. Larva Labs has sent a takedown notice to OpenSea, seeking that it be delisted owing to copyright infringements. PolygonPunks had a similar scenario in August, albeit they resurfaced in September.
OpenSea also revealed on its Discord channel in August that the 7,000 minted photos of Pepe the Frog in Sad Frogs District had been removed due to copyright infringements filed by the character’s creator, Matt Furie. This infuriated the community, which had already spent $4 million in the project and was concerned that the NFTs would become worthless.
In the crypto realm, Bokky PooBah is a well-known open-source enthusiast. He fell in love with the technology and its ideological foundations as a Malaysian living in Sydney, and has been offering free blockchain coding tutorials for years. His coding school receives no corporate funding or sponsorship. He got into crypto to attract others to help him develop experimental stuff, and he continues to do so. PooBah is listed as a reference for the CryptoPunks project at the bottom of their webpage.
According to PooBah, the de-listing of CryptoPhunks produced a “Streisand Effect,” making it more popular. The expression alludes to a time when famous singer Barbara Streisand sought to keep information about her Malibu house hidden, but instead generated a lot of interest in it. PooBah “had to purchase a CryptoFUNK” on principle after that. “Restrictive licensing is a hindrance to the community,” PooBah laments.
He argues that NFTs are “extremely strong,” and he’s working on a decentralized NFT market, where NFT inventors may request royalty entries in a ledger on a regular basis.
Have you forked it?
NFT knockoffs, according to one idea, are like to forks of an operating system or blockchain, in that they boost the value and legitimacy of the original collection. According to this viewpoint, clones are really pushing up NFT pricing.
After all, copies abound with NFTs, as the “right-click save brigade” points out. “NFTs are meaningless since they can be duplicated with a screenshot,” they contend. PooBah, on the other hand, is certain that they are missing the point.
“At the end of the day, even if it seems unethical at the moment, ownership is powerful,” says the author, and this is the crucial point. “It doesn’t matter if individuals duplicate any photographs since ownership is done on a blockchain,” he argues.
“Beeple is dull… in terms of technological usage,” says PooBah, the highest-paid artist. He is enthralled with technological advancements. The art is in writing imaginative code.
Kong concurs, stating that “the right, click, and save justifications apply to all artworks.” However, it is not the same. Value is subjective; it is determined by the holder’s perception of rarity.”
“It’s simple to save a file and construct another NFT,” he argues, but the argument makes more sense the other way around: “Copyright can be readily violated, but it’s really easier to determine who made the artwork using NFTs.”
PooBah believes that “image licensing could be more permissive,” and that “open licensing trains more people by creating learning tools so that anyone can go to source code and refer to it to build something,” and that “open licensing trains more people by creating learning tools so that anyone can go to source code and refer to it to build something.” He considers clone NFT efforts to be philosophical, highlighting the advantages of adoption and learning. For decentralized enthusiasts, this is always the party line.
Punks who created “clones”
Each of the creators has a unique story to tell. David Lawrence, a 29-year-old Orlando-based photographer, began the “Punk Portraits” project. While it capitalizes on the CryptoPunk craze, it definitely has its own identity.
#143 Punk Portrait (OpenSea)
CryptoPunks come to life in Punk Portraits. He says, “It’s 1000 separate real-life ‘Punks’ with the same characteristics, but personified by actual individuals.” “With portrait photography, my objective is to produce photos that reflect a person’s actual self.”
It’s difficult to criticize someone who is sincerely committed to their craft while simultaneously profiting on the Punk moniker. For almost 10 years, he has worked as a photographer. His “first step into both the NFT and fictional (art) realm” was Punk Portraits.
Punk Portraits is, of course, not “a clone, but a derivative” for Lawrence.
“CryptoPunks set the bar for what I consider to be an NFT compilation. It’s basic, yet distinct, and each component can stand alone… “It’s the Rolex of NFTs,” says the author.
He describes his work as a tribute to a cherished piece of art.
“We wanted the same level of detail and intrigue, but we also wanted to picture what the punks might look like if they weren’t simply pixels.” What if they arrived dressed as a genuine person?” PooBah, of course, purchased one in “resistance to Larva Lab’s picture IP limitations.” Punk Portraits has not been accused of any intellectual property infringements to far.
Lawrence certainly has his own flair while adopting the “Punk” motif (Source: OpenSea)
Clayton Dixon is the New Zealand-based developer of Fast Food Punks, a mash-up of the original CryptoPunks and a well-known McDonald’s-themed gang of misfits. In addition, a collection earned $574,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in the United States, a nonprofit that helps ill children.
“ETH was also rising at the moment, so it came to roughly $700,000 for charity.”
His inventions have a brilliance to them, as well as some luck. Bitcoin’s value plummeted in May 2021. “So memes of Bitcoin users having to go back to work at McDonald’s went viral… which made it a popular series,” he adds by chance. “I was handcrafting them.” I had no clue what I was doing when I posted them to OpenSea since I had no concept what I was doing. “They were selling like hotcakes.”
Berk zdemir, the Turkish artist of Bastard Gan Punks, is another punk clone maker who loves to employ the music metaphor of “remixing.”
“A remix reinterprets an idea or a concept and gives it fresh life. The originals are still on the premises. On top of it, derivatives are developed, sometimes as a variant, and sometimes as a protest. Every relic has the imprints of its forefathers.”
He admired CryptoPunks but “couldn’t afford them,” so he decided to manufacture some for himself. “My inventions ended out quite nasty (but amazing) looking,” he said, “and this gave me the notion of becoming a ‘bastard,’ a new generation born from cool looking, ‘elite’ parents.” I began behaving erratically and built a character idea around them, complete with ridiculous descriptions.”
He was “amazed” at the amount of attention it got, as well as the community that sprang up around it. After seven months, he handed over project and brand management to the BASTARD DAO. “However, I still like developing fresh mythology and derivative works for it, and I urge others to do the same.”
“Longevity depends on the aim behind the ‘clone’ and the ultimate result,” he says. They’re generally bogus cash grabs if a ‘clone’ has no message or a strong standing point. The market is flooded with initiatives looking to cash in on copy-and-paste concepts with no vision or strategy.”
They seem to be familiar. https://opensea.io/collection/bastard-gan-punks-v2) (Source: Bastard Gang Punks, OpenSea)
The NFT community culture also has a dark side.
For NFT initiatives, communities created on Discord are crucial. The NFTs did not appear out of nowhere, but to well designed story threads. Drop-in Discord groups are organized for crypto native followers of an artist. There are probably those folks who are enthusiastic or even fanatical in their anticipation of new art or a probable airdrop.
The internet meme culture is a major draw for NFTs. In the world of clones, a sense of humour is essential… Take, for example, the Dolly the NFT clone sheep clone, which is named after a renowned Scottish sheep clone that was originally cloned in 1996. Also available are a limited number of Kimmie NFTs featuring North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in different outfits, as well as a leadership title to use in “Kimdom.”
NFTs by the Kimmies (Source: Twitter)
However, as with everything that elicits strong feelings, these conversations may quickly devolve. After writing articles critical of what he terms “trademark trolls” and their efforts to trademark their NFTs, ex-Google employee “Chunke Monke” claims he was threatened by fans of a specific NFT release. His own satirical NFT publication was reportedly targeted by “trademark trolls.” These, he believes, are “actors who suffocate innovation via excessive IP protection.”
“Chunke Monke” has become a vociferous opponent of big technology. After his last firm failed, he stumbled upon crypto and NFTs, and he was especially drawn to Web 3.0. A clone NFT trademarking their clone NFT is an insult to open source innovation and “derivative creative potential,” according to Chunke Monke, but the doxing of his genuine name terrified him. This is a place where there is a lot of passion.
Some clone projects have an aggressive culture, according to Chunke Monke.
“I’ve seen a lot of NFT Clone Discords.” They aren’t enjoyable. Because it’s all empty, there’s no love or admiration for the art or the tale. There is no lasting community or significance.”
However, if they have a sense of humour, “parody NFTs may maintain a lot of value, perhaps even more than the original,” he argues.
What do prices have to do with the revolution?
Painting over other people’s work is part of the norms of street art culture, which includes anything from furious adolescent tags to serious political declarations. Banksy’s astronomical auction prices always appeared to me to misrepresent the origins of a protest movement that began on Philadelphia’s railroads in the 1970s. In truth, pupils have been educated through replicating the works of their masters throughout history.
Selling T-shirts, mugs, and aprons with replicas of their work was previously considered blasphemy for “serious” artists in the art world. Is this comparable to art clone NFTs?
It’s not a winner-take-all situation, as in “TradArt” or traditional art. There are a lot of competitors and a lot of winners and losers. “NFTS will exist as long as blockchains exist,” PooBah argues. The copyright reasons are valid, but “fighting clones seems a touch anti-open source.”
So, why are clones of copycats so expensive? “Buying clones in the hopes that someone else would sell it for a higher price,” explains Web 3.0 creator Kong. PooBah observes that the “pandemic also demonstrates how many individuals may earn money out of empty air.”
Chunke Monke tempers these expectations by pointing out why these appraisals are difficult. The “reality is, with NFT investment, there are no correct answers, but there are a lot of poor answers.” In conventional finance, valuing based on comparables (“Clone Punk should be X % value of CryptoPunk”) makes no sense.”
Tagging a scrawled signature on a detailed large work was always sacrilegious in street art culture.
These are the rules for zdemir, the NFT clone creator:
“I highly urge others to copy my artwork and use it to build new things.” More joy and ideas, I believe, are needed in the world.”
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“Unofficial punks” is a term that is used to describe people who have no affiliation with the government. In this article, Cointelegraph Magazine discusses whether or not it is right or wrong to use unofficial punks.
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