Meet PunkBodies, NFTs Composable with CryptoPunks

Talking shop with the creators of PunkBodies!

Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & collectibles

Dear Bankless Nation,

An entire expanded universe is currently blossoming around CryptoPunks, the most legendary extant NFT project.

One of the newer efforts in this universe is PunkBodies, which, like the project’s name suggests, is doing some interesting work around collectible NFT “bodies” that are directly composable (and de-composable) with CryptoPunks.

I think it’s a clear taste of what’s to come, i.e. the wider Punks ecosystem continuing to bloom and take on more cultural significance as new projects like PunkBodies arrive and build out toward the horizon.

For today’s Metaversal, then, I had the pleasure of chatting with the PunkBodies team to see what it’s like building atop CryptoPunks in this brave new NFT world. Interview below, enjoy! 👇


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Talking CryptoPunks, NFT Composability, and more with the PunkBodies team!


Why PunkBodies? What was your inspiration to take up this project, and why now? Was it a right place, right time kind of thing?

PunkBodies team

Holders of Punks often pitch a bunch of cool ideas they want on Punks in the official Larva Labs Discord. This discord is a great community by the way, it’s constantly active and it’s great to just read everything from the sidelines. There, we’ve seen a handful of Punk tattoos, Punks printed on clothing, 3D Punk avatars, Punk paintings, you name it! Most of these ideas were static, just a way for someone with a Punk to capitalize on their specific Punk ownership, as opposed to a universal NFT tool and collectible that can be applied to all Punks. 

One concept we saw mentioned a few times was the idea of adding bodies to the Punks. Once we got together around the end of February, we started silently building! More so than just creating bodies, we saw the opportunity to create a new use case, and wanted to give Punk owners the opportunity to create a closet of “Bodies” and mix, match, and mint different Punk and Body combos like Legos. In about 3 weeks, we released the project on March 27th, 2021. As most know, the past couple of months have been explosive for the NFT community, and it continues to this day. However, at the time we released, Punk sales had slowed down, it was a holiday season, all eyes were on the market with ETH blasting past it’s previous all-time price high, and the Alt-Punk market, which is a category that at first glance we were automatically grouped into, was saturated. I believe that releasing the project earlier would have benefitted us, however things look good from here on out with ETH’s price stabilized and Punks being auctioned at Christie’s. You can compare it to Punks being released in 2017 at the top of the ICO market, and having almost no one claim for weeks.


So can you walk us a little bit through the creation of PunkBodies. What did that process actually entail, how did you go about developing the bodies?

PunkBodies team

Our team consists of 3 people. Two of us are undergraduate engineering students and one is an experienced Ethereum developer, but we were all eager to start an awesome project. Once all three of us were on board for the idea of creating these composable Bodies, we had a bunch of steps to overcome, one of them being creating the generative art itself. We did a ton of research to understand how Matt and John, the Co-Founders of Larva Labs, approached the creation of CryptoPunks. We wanted certain features to mimic theirs, specifically making each Body a 1 of 1, establishing an array of traits, and hashing each image on-chain. 

The only framework we worked off of are specific CryptoPunks traits, specifically we wanted to have 10,000 bodies that matched the number of Punks with a specific skin color and type so that theoretically, there is a Punk Body that matches every single CryptoPunk. We approached the process by creating the art images of the body, shoes, bottoms, shirts, and accessories and then coding a generator. Certain attributes wouldn’t work well together, so we kept running the set again and again, looking at the results, and committed once the Bodies fit well with their outfits. Now that the final set is out, this PunkBody generator will not be run again! We also reached out to some Punk owners and tweeted a couple of “Punksters” out, and had some nice feedback about the proportion or items they would like to be seen. Having a dad bod, Air Jordans, and a horizontal skateboard are attributes that happened due to Twitter feedback. After handling the Body art, we focused on distribution. We decided to airdrop every Punk holder one matching Body, which at the time of our snapshot, totaled 1,938 addresses. All this code was included within our PunkBody generator, where we picked one random Punk among the rarest type of Punk, in each wallet to airdrop a matching Body to. 

The rest of the Bodies are being sold on a bonding curve, which required some math to ensure PunkBodies are minted at random (pseudo-random) sequence in the tier range that they are sold in. After handling the airdrop, we focused on the smart contract, which had to be unique in order to combine a wrapped CryptoPunk and PunkBody together in one transaction to create a Punkster. A cool fact is that we adopted ERC-712 to add “permit” function, so you don't have to call “approve” separately! That makes us potentially one of the first projects to adopt the ERC-712 standard. After we finished the smart contract deployment, we went live and within the first two days of release, 269 Punk owners claimed. Everyone started playing around with our showcase feature, which was awesome to see. To this day, we are still working on improving our product and community. We created an OpenSea bot for secondary sales, traits of the PunkBodies, a verification tool for those who have ownership of a PunkBody or Punkster, are undergoing an audit, and are looking into new use cases in the metaverse.    


I've seen a few CryptoPunk holders really enjoy playing around with their new PunkBodies. It's really clicked so far for some. Did you expect the project would be so well received, or were you not sure how the community would react?

PunkBodies team

Before we started working on the project, we reached out to a handful of OG Punk owners to understand exactly what they thought about this project. Creating in the DeFi and NFT market wasn’t something that any of us were familiar with, so to understand what the market values, we felt a survey was necessary. Discussion with Punks owners helped us decide on the art style and the airdrop model, see the potential value of PunkBodies, and think of use cases for Bodies. Not going to lie, we didn’t have the best results. Many owners didn’t see the point in having Bodies, noting that CryptoPunks are perfect just the way they  are, and we agree! That’s when we realized we needed to market this as a CryptoPunk accessory, as opposed to a Punk Alternative. 

From then on, we made sure to interact with the community, asked owners permission to use their CryptoPunks to display with the bodies, and provided Punk owners a free Body that they can claim on our site until December 31, 2021, in addition to creating an OG Sale, where owners had first dibs on buying Bodies. Once we released, we took off within the hour and had the Larva Labs Discord channel flooded. It was amazing to see, and a bit expected given the effort we put into interacting with and listening to the community. Many were a bit confused on how to showcase the Bodies with their Punks, but eventually many figured it out. Still, it has taught us that we need to spread the word around about our composability, it truly is different and many assume we sell the Body and Punk as one, but that’s not the case. It’s been pretty cool to have Punk owners review and use our product with one of their most precious assets. More cool was the fact that some wallets woke up, including the mysterious Cowboy Alien owner. Their PunkBody claim was their first wallet transaction in 1218  days, with the first transaction being the acquisition of their Alien Punk. Almost all major names in the NFT world have shown us support and we couldn’t be more grateful! 

The secondary market on OpenSea has been fun to watch as well. A bunch of Bodies have been traded, some were bought because Punk owners saw the outfit and wanted to place it with their Punk, which is what we hope to see more of. The average price of PunkBodies continues to increase, and we have had sales of some PunkBodies bought at over 1 ETH within the first week. We are still in all around discovery. At this point in time, we stand at 403/1,938 PunkBodies claimed by Punk owners, which is awesome considering Matt and John’s predictions that ~20% of Punk owning wallets have been lost, and there are 6,114 Bodies left to mint so we still have a ways to go.


Composability is a really big element in PunkBodies. Could you tell us how this composability with CryptoPunks works and why it's so interesting? 

PunkBodies team

NFT composability can refer to the ability of a token to combine different NFTs to represent a group of a combination of assets. Through PunkBodies, it becomes easy to combine existing ERC-721 tokens with other ERC-721 tokens and mint it as one complete ERC-721 asset. Specifically with PunkBodies, users will have the option of taking their Wrapped CryptoPunk (an ERC-721 token) and combining it with a PunkBody (an ERC-721 token) to create a Punkster they can either download or mint. If minted, a copy of the two ERC-721 NFTs won’t exist, rather both will co-exist as one NFT. 

We also explore decomposability. If you want to unmint / unlock the NFTs to use them separately or create a different composable NFT, you would just need to pay gas fees to burn the composed NFT. This allows NFT buyers, holders, and collectors to showcase their NFT assets in whichever way they please and it legitimizes NFT assets by not only making them compatible with other NFT’s but composable. So if I have Punks and Bodies, I can not only create as many Punksters as I want and screenshot them to use as an avatar, each with its own story, but mint them to the blockchain where I can sell them, have ownership of a NFT that can only exist from 1/10,000 CryptoPunk and 1/10,000 PunkBodies, and unmint to create a whole different Punkster if I want. It makes having a Punk so much more interactive, and we hope the market can understand just how interactive.


What's next for the PunkBodies project from here? Is there anything else on the roadmap coming up soon or anything else the readers should keep in mind?

PunkBodies team

First we want to take the time to educate our audience about NFT composability between ERC-721 tokens and focus on getting as many Punk addresses to claim their free PunkBody before the claim period ends. We are also in this for the long run and are looking for ways to move forward with the NFT market. An audit for our smart contract is underway so that those who mint a Punkster can trust the contract with holding your original CryptoPunk. After the audit we hope to have more people mint a Punkster, and potentially sell some! It would be awesome to understand the value of a Punkster and how that drives the price of a CryptoPunk up. Other than that, we are newly experimenting how to create Punkster avatars for the metaverse. We believe the next step for NFT’s, on top of composability, is implementing them into VR.

Action steps

  • 📰 Check out the PunkBodies Gallery, get a feel for the many aesthetic possibilities of the collectibles.

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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.