Crypto Twitter was briefly ablaze Thursday night as a CryptoPunk non-fungible token (NFT) was purchased for a staggering half-billion dollars – a figure that would have made the sale one of the largest ever not just in NFT-land, but in all of art history.
However, on-chain analysts were quick to point out the sale may have just been an elaborate publicity stunt.
A Twitter bot that tracks the sales of CryptoPunks first flagged the transaction shortly before 8 p.m. ET (00:00 UTC Friday). If real, the 124,457.07 ETH sale worth over $530 million would have easily eclipsed the 4,200 ETH sale of an ultra-rare alien punk in March.
— CryptoPunks Bot (@cryptopunksbot) October 28, 2021
CryptoPunks have a floor price – a term referring to the lowest price at which a piece from a particular NFT collection can be bought – of 100 ETH, and the punk in question, #9998, lacks desirable features from a collector’s perspective, leading some to believe the purchase was a “fat finger,” a term referring to the immutable, irreversible errors endemic in blockchain.
A look at the chain, however, reveals that the purchase was just a clever bit of smart contract magic.
The purchase was made by a flash loan contract deployed by an address flagged by wallet profiler Nansen as a prolific decentralized finance (DeFi) user, NFT collector and smart contract deployer who also owns the blurr.eth Ethereum Name Service NFT.
you can see it here:
0x9b5a flash loans 124,457 ETH from many sources
0x9b5a pays 124,457 ETH to the punk contract
punk contract sends it to 0x8e39
0x8e39 sends back to 0x9b5a
0x9b5a repays loan
— mariano.eth ✨ᕙ༼💦༽ᕗ✨ | 🦇🔊 (@nanexcool) October 29, 2021
The transaction cost 0.19 ETH, or roughly $800, and the address included a message in the metadata of the transaction, saying “looks rare.”
A similar flash loan transaction was conducted in February to purchase a HashMask NFT for 139,000 ETH, currently the largest NFT sale on record – even if on a technicality.
Read more: What Is a Flash Loan?