Yuga Labs Faces Backlash Over ‘Super Punk World’ NFT Collection


  • Yuga Labs launches ‘Super Punk World’ NFT collection, sparking controversy.
  • Critics accuse the project of diluting the original CryptoPunks value.
  • Yuga Labs changes approach, plans to preserve CryptoPunks on the blockchain.

Yuga Labs has faced significant backlash following the launch of Nina Chanel Abney’s “Super Punk World” NFT collection. The collection, which was revealed as part of the Punk in Residence program, aimed to expand the CryptoPunks legacy by introducing new artistic interpretations. However, the project encountered immediate criticism from collectors and crypto enthusiasts.

Abney’s collection, consisting of 500 hand-selected avatars, draws inspiration from the iconic traits of CryptoPunks. Her bold style incorporates a blend of racial and gender components, challenging societal norms and addressing disparities in digital avatar pricing based on gender and skin tone. The collection was unveiled at an event in New York, generating considerable discussion about the intersection of art, technology, and culture.

Despite the project’s innovative approach, it was met with accusations of being overly “woke” and diluting the original CryptoPunks collection. Many critics expressed concerns over the deviation from the traditional aesthetic and the perceived impact on the collection’s value. The backlash intensified on social media, leading to personal attacks on Abney and sparking debates about art, identity, and digital culture.

In response to the controversy, Yuga Labs announced a change in their approach. Company CEO Greg Solano stated that the NFTs would no longer be auctioned but distributed to Super Cool World NFT holders through a randomized airdrop. Furthermore, Yuga Labs decided to abandon future plans for artist residencies in this format, opting instead to focus on preserving CryptoPunks on the blockchain and supporting museums in acquiring and educating audiences about the collection.

Abney addressed the backlash, condemning the racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic comments she received. She emphasized her commitment to fostering an inclusive community and sparking productive dialogue through her work. 

Yuga Labs’ pivot reflects the challenges of balancing innovation with the expectations of a passionate and diverse collector base. The incident highlights the complexities of navigating identity and inclusivity in the rapidly evolving NFT space.