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Yuga Labs Halts CryptoPunks Collaboration After Backlash: Navigating the ‘Woke’ Controversy | NFT CULTURE | NFT News | Web3 Culture


The Punk In Residence Program Yuga Labs recently introduced the Punk in Residence program, aimed at fostering on-chain collaborations and stimulating creative experimentation within the NFT space. The initiative selected artist Nina Chanel Abney to spearhead the program, culminating in her “Super Punk World” collection. This debut included an event at The School at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, where the new NFTs were showcased.

Abney’s Artistic Vision Nina Chanel Abney’s work integrates her distinct style, reinterpreting iconic CryptoPunk traits. She stated, “CryptoPunks are an iconic, pioneering project that has played a crucial role in the creation of the digital collectible space. By collaborating with them, I saw an opportunity to be at the center of a unique intersection of art, technology, and culture.”

The 500-piece collection features hand-selected avatars inspired by both CryptoPunks and Abney’s previous works. Her avatars, characterized by colorful backgrounds and hybridized figures, aim to challenge societal norms and implicit biases. They reflect on the disparities in the secondary market values of digital avatars based on gender and skin tone.

Community Reaction And Criticism Despite the innovative intentions, the CryptoPunks community largely reacted negatively. Critics labeled the artwork excessively ‘woke’ and misaligned with the established CryptoPunks brand. There was also frustration over the perceived dilution of the original CryptoPunks collection, with some collectors upset about what they saw as an expansion of a highly valued “blue chip” Ethereum NFT set.

Yuga Labs’ Response In response to the backlash, Yuga Labs decided to halt the artist residency program to focus on preserving the original essence of the CryptoPunks collection. Yuga Labs CEO Greg “Garga” Solano tweeted, “Yuga will no longer touch Punks. They will just be decentralized and preserved on the blockchain. The only thing we intend to do is support a few museums and institutions in their quest to acquire a Punk and help educate their audience about them.”


Yuga Labs paused its Punk in Residence program following backlash over a new CryptoPunks collaboration deemed excessively ‘woke.’ The program, led by artist Nina Chanel Abney, aimed to integrate CryptoPunk traits with her unique style. Community criticism focused on the perceived dilution of the original collection. Yuga Labs decided to preserve the original CryptoPunks essence, ceasing further modifications.


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