A ‘CryptoPunk’ NFT called ‘Covid Alien’ was bought for $11.8 million by DraftKings’ largest shareholder in a Sotheby’s auction

People walk past a CryptoPunk digital art NFT displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square.
  • The NFT of a “CryptoPunk” character fetched $11.8 million, setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk.
  • The token, dubbed “Covid Alien,” was bought by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of DraftKings.
  • The sought-after token is one of the nine alien CryptoPunks made by Larva Labs in 2017.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

The non-fungible token of a character from the “CryptoPunk” series fetched $11.8 million Thursday, setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk, luxury auction house Sotheby’s said.

The NFT, dubbed “Covid Alien,” was bought by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of online sports gambling firm DraftKings.

The sought-after token called “CryptoPunk #7523” is one of the nine alien CryptoPunks made by artists Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the founders of Larva Labs, in 2017. It is the only one with a mask.

Before the sale, a collector known as Sillytuna owned the token.

In total, there are 10,000 24 x 24-pixel CryptoPunks with no two that are exactly alike. Other characters in the collection are composed of 24 apes, 88 zombies, 3,840 females, and 6,039 males.

The NFTs were initially released for free besides a small transaction fee but the record-breaking amount seen from Covid Alien indicates the massive interest investors have.

Following the sale, the auction house announced it will offer five “exceptionally rare” CryptoPunks later in June.


NFTs have soared in popularity this year. The market thus far has seen immense growth and buyers now vastly exceed sellers, according to a report from L’Atelier BNP Paribas.

These tokens are digital representations of artwork, sports cards, or other collectibles tied to a blockchain, typically on ethereum. Each NFT has a signature that can be verified in the public ledger and cannot be duplicated nor edited.

When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, not the artworks themselves. But the fact that the information on a blockchain is next to impossible to alter makes NFTs appealing, especially to artists.

Many have speculated the space is in a bubble, and apart from some massive sales, evidence shows the craze may be cooling for now. The number of NFT sales for June is about half of what they were during March’s peak, the industry tracker NonFungible.com showed.

Read more: The CIO at a digital asset hedge fund that returned 373% in 2020 breaks down why bitcoin’s sell-off is in its final stages – and shares why he thinks ether could triple from current levels

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Kanye West’s first pair of Yeezy sneakers are expected to sell for over $1 million, making them the most expensive pair ever

Kanye West at 2008 Grammy awards
Kanye West at 2008 Grammy awards

  • The first pair of Yeezys that Kanye West ever wore in public are expected to sell for over $1 million.
  • West debuted his sneaker brand during his 2008 Grammy performance.
  • Sotheby’s is selling the sneakers after an exhibition in Hong Kong wraps up.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The shoes that spawned Kanye West’s sneaker empire are going up for sale at the historic Sotheby’s auction house.

The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes are expected to sell for over $1 million, according to Sotheby’s estimates, making them the most expensive sneakers to ever hit the market.

The shoes represent the first Yeezy sneakers ever worn in public by West when he debuted them at the Grammy Awards in 2008 during his performance of “Hey Mama” and “Stronger.” The shoes feature a faded Nike swoosh, alongside West’s signature Yeezy strap.

Yeezy sneakers on sale at Sotheby's
Yeezy sneakers on sale at Sotheby’s

The sneakers will be sold in a custom wooden box that features a design from the shoe’s designer, Mark Smith.

Yeezy sneaker box

The size-12 shoes will be on display at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from April 16 through 21 and will be available for private sale through Sotheby’s site after the exhibition.

West’s 2008 Grammy moment created a buzz among sneakerheads and, ultimately, helped West achieve a billionaire status in 2020. Sneaker collector Ryan Cheng, who is listing the shoes for the private sale, said in a press release that the shoes encapsulate a cultural movement.

“There he was, Kanye West, on stage at the Grammys, winning 4 awards just that evening, and unveiling an incredibly important and iconic design in Nike’s storied history,” Cheng said.

Sotheby's Yeezy sale

The highest known sneaker sale to date was a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan’s that were worn by Michael Jordan in 1985, according to CNN. The shoes sold for $615,000 in 2020 on Christie’s site.

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