Why are poker players obsessed with CryptoPunk NFTs?

Sales of popular NFT project CryptoPunks are beginning to soar again, with poker players paying more than $500,000 for the 24x24 avatars

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) appear to be returning from a recent lull with jaw-dropping valuations and volume spikes on platforms like OpenSea as several top poker players lead the charge.

The likes of CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club now have price floors of 100ETH ($440,000) and 45ETH ($198,000) respectively, while new “play to earn” NFTs like Wolf Game boast a market cap of more than $380 million.

NFTs are arguably the most divisive investment assets, some believe that they are a gimmick and a bubble that will die out, whilst others claim they are the future of art and gaming.

One industry that has endorsed NFTs with open arms is poker. High stakes players like Mike McDonald, Jeff Gross, Dan Smith and Ryan Daut all have Crypto Punks worth around $400,000 as their Twitter profile pictures, with Bill Perkins sporting a World of Women NFT.

Poker and NFTs are the perfect fusion. Naturally, poker players like to take risks, even the best player in the world is at risk of losing serious capital if they get stung by an opponent’s one-out river card, but the key to profitability is being plus EV (Expected Value) over time.

Investments in things like NFTs are a store of value to poker players. Given that it’s a very novel industry, NFT collectibles like CryptoPunks are expected to soar even more in value to a point where only the world’s elite can afford to buy one.

This, ultimately, is the crux of it all. NFTs have become a status symbol – Jay Z, Wolf of Wall Street (Jordan Belfort) and Jason Derulo all have CryptoPunks as their Twitter profile pictures in what is often described as the “ultimate flex”.

As the world thrusts itself further into the daunting reality of a digital dystopia, there really is no better way of flaunting wealth and status than through an 8-bit retro avatar that is valued at half a million dollars.

It also boils down to simple supply and demand theory. Currently, out of 10,000 CryptoPunks – zero of them are listed for sale on OpenSea.

If a young poker player wins a few million from a tournament, in the past they might have bought themselves a new Audemars Piguet watch for $100,000. Now, the goalposts have shifted – $500,000 CryptoPunks are the desirable asset – as ridiculous as that may seem.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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