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Larva Labs Catches Flak for Omitting Ownership Clarifications to CryptoPunks

Is the CryptoPunks saga showing that property decentralization is a must-have for NFT owners?

CryptoPunks Traps Owners

Some NFT drama has unfolded on Ethereum regarding intellectual property ownership of the popular CryptoPunks NFTs from Larva Labs. NFT Owners like Punk4156 have made high-profile dumps as high as  $10.25 million and the floor price of the CryptoPunks has taken a noticeable hit. 

A growing number of high-profile NFT holders and influences across CryptoTwitter and the industry, in general, have raised legitimate concerns regarding the future of Larva Labs and the property rights associated with NFTs in the industry. Much hoopla has been made around the story being an issue of copyrights and the sale-storms, however, the decentralization of property ownership is a crucial detail. 

“[I]t’s not about copyright vs no copyright, it’s about making the pixels as censorship resistant as the token they’re attached to. if you don’t assign the token and the image the same rights, what’s the point of binding them together eternally on a blockchain?” bemoaned Punk4156.
Source: #4156, purchased for 2,500 ETH (over $10.2 million), was a rare Ape Punk. Only 24 ApePunks exist in the collection of 10,000. 

Larva Labs, the developer of CryptoPunks, has been successfully challenged by the crypto- community regarding a lack of proper ‘terms of conditions,’ and unequal treatment of these supremely valuable NFTs. 

One law professor finds the lack of transparency for Larva Labs unsettling in his recent publication entitled “The Cryptic Case of the CryptoPunks Licenses: The Mystery Over the Licenses for CryptoPunks NFTs.” Edward Lee, professor of law and director of program in intellectual property law at the Chicago-Kent College of Law wrote:

“[When] Larva Labs first offered the CryptoPunks NFTs, Larva Labs’ webpage for the CryptoPunks didn’t discuss or provide a content license or the permissible terms of how buyers can use the CryptoPunks’ artwork or characters. Today, such an omission is glaring.”

Utility and interoperability are becoming a growing concern for owners of CryptoPunks who have idly watched owners of other popular NFTs, like Bored Apes Yacht Club on Solana, explode with marketing and advertising recognition. Name-brand products and celebrities like Adidas and Jimmy Fallon have been able to flex their Bored Apes ownership. The power of decentralization of NFT ownership is on full display, as users are able to use their Bored Apes the way they desire and the owners of CryptoPunks are not afforded the same liberties. 

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