Yuga Labs Steps Back from CryptoPunks Following Backlash Over ‘Super Punk World’

Yuga Labs Steps Back from CryptoPunks Following Backlash Over ‘Super Punk World’

Yuga Labs, the company behind the iconic CryptoPunks NFTs, has decided to halt its involvement with the CryptoPunks project after facing significant backlash from the community regarding its new “Super Punk World” collection. This decision came swiftly after the collection’s announcement on May 20.

Launch and Immediate Backlash of “Super Punk World” collection

The “Super Punk World” collection, crafted by renowned artist Nina Chanel Abney, features 500 3D digital avatars that blend traditional CryptoPunks aesthetics with Abney’s unique style from her “Super Cool World” series. The collection aimed to honor the irreverent roots of CryptoPunks while addressing contemporary issues of race and gender. However, it was met with severe criticism from the crypto community, who labeled the artwork as “woke” and accused Yuga Labs of diluting the original collection’s value.

One community member bluntly stated, “Yuga killed Punks today,” while another threatened to sell their CryptoPunk NFT. The backlash was so intense that Yuga Labs’ CEO, Greg Solano, felt compelled to respond publicly.

Solano’s Response and Future Plans of CryptoPunks

In a detailed post on X, Solano explained that Yuga Labs had envisioned the collaboration with Abney as a way to bridge Web3 and traditional art. Despite the criticism, he emphasized the company’s commitment to preserving the integrity of the CryptoPunks collection.

Yuga will no longer touch punks. They will just be decentralized and preserved on the blockchain. Solano announced that Yuga Labs would no longer directly engage with the CryptoPunks project

Super Punk World Minting and Distribution

Originally, the “Super Punk World” collection was set to be auctioned, but due to the backlash, Yuga Labs decided to distribute the NFTs to holders of Abney’s previous work through a randomized airdrop. This approach aims to place the new NFTs in the hands of those already supportive of Abney’s artistic vision.

Artistic Vision and Community Reaction

Abney’s collection, which was displayed at her “Lie Doggo” exhibition at The School at Jack Shainman Gallery in Kinderhook, New York, tackled themes of identity, race, and gender. Her work challenged the traditional valuations in the digital avatar space, where typically, white male avatars fetched higher prices. Despite her bold artistic approach, many community members felt that these themes were too “woke” and clashed with the original spirit of CryptoPunks.

Future of the Punk in Residence Program

Yuga Labs had intended for the Punk in Residence program to be a biannual event, inviting artists from diverse backgrounds to contribute to the CryptoPunks legacy. However, following this controversy, the future of the program is uncertain. Solano mentioned that while Yuga Labs will support museums and institutions in acquiring CryptoPunk NFTs, their direct involvement with the project will cease.


The debacle over “Super Punk World” highlights the challenges of integrating new artistic perspectives within established NFT communities. It also underscores the delicate balance between honoring a project’s roots and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. As Yuga Labs steps back, the future of CryptoPunks will likely rest in the hands of its decentralized community and the broader blockchain ecosystem.

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