How CryptoPunks’ Creators Charmed the Art World and Paved the Way for Blockchain Art18

App developer John Watkinson had never signed a piece of art before. He certainly hadn’t signed one that would grace the walls of a gallery in Zurich, Switzerland—a country he’d never visited—alongside a piece by the famous Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Until recently, he’d never introduced himself as an “artist.”

“I’m nervous about signing these,” Watkinson said one day in October in his shared office space on Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, bent over a printed image of a CryptoPunk—a simple, pixelated image of a man with a beard, mohawk, and sunset-colored glasses. “I’m one of those computer guys who never learned to handwrite anything.”

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