Sales of CryptoPunk non-fungible tokens continue to soar through the roof as payments giant VISA buys into the frenzy. VISA has purchased a CryptoPunk NFT for 49.50 Ether or around US$150,000, the company announced on Monday. 

CryptoPunks are NFT-based pixel-styled digital avatars of misfits and eccentrics. Their demand has been skyrocketing recently, driving up their prices by 50% in the first week of August and becoming the biggest-selling NFT project by Aug 8. VISA paid nearly double for female CryptoPunk NFT #7610 which was traded for 21.75 Ether 28 days ago.

VISA’s entry into the space kicked off a CryptoPunk frenzy with its sales volume soaring by over 1,180% in the last 24 hours, according to data from DappRadar. This puts CryptoPunk ahead of Axie Infinity, which has seen its sales volume decline slightly in the past 24 hours.  

The sales volume of CryptoPunk NFTs also reached a record daily high of US$101 million on Monday, data from CryptoSlam shows. Monthly sales of CryptoPunk NFTs have also reached new heights this month with sales reaching US$314 million so far and the average price of the NFTs hovering near US$200,000. 

Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at VISA, said in a blog post, that VISA purchased its first NFT in an effort to learn more about them. He said: “We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT.”

Sheffield expects the NFT boom to continue in coming years and he says that VISA is looking to enable “seamless and secure digital payments to make NFT-commerce accessible and usable for buyers and sellers.” Saying that this is just the beginning of VISA’s journey into the NFT space, he added that VISA is working on “new concepts and partnerships” that support NFT buyers, sellers, and creators. 

NFTs are increasingly garnering traction in the crypto world. In March, an artwork by NFT pioneer and digital artist Beeple was sold for a record-breaking US$69 million. Large media houses including CNN and Forbes are also looking to increase user engagement by selling NFTs of their own.