In 2020, the Unique Network developers created the Substrapunks, as an homage to the now famous Cryptopunks. They did this for a Kusama Network (part of the Polkadot Ecosystem) hackathon. They won 2 awards on Hackusama — Build the blockchain (Unique Network) and a Community award, as people just loved it.

10,000 unique character images were created with a brand new set of face parts. Substrapunk images are auto-generated from 8 parts. Some of them are optional (like a beard or cigar), some are required (like the face). Some are uni-sex (like earrings or noserings), but some define the gender of the generated character (like lipstick or blonde hair for girls or a beard for boys). They are the first live NFTs of the Polkadot ecosystem, just like the Cryptopunks are on Ethereum, and were — just like cryptopunks — given away to anyone who claimed one. Built from scratch on Substrate, they benefit from easy customization, interoperability, and scalability across the entire Kusama and Polkadot ecosystem.

Given the plethora of newer Cryptopunk derivatives, Substrapunks can now be considered ‘OG’ — the very first ‘Altpunk’, created when this term did not exist yet. The Unique Team that created them already built a lot around them to date, from a NFT (Non Fungible Token) wallet to a Marketplace where Substrapunks can be traded for KSM, the native currency of the Kusama Network.

As the Polkadot Ecosytem is growing, so is the Substrapunk community. While it is still small and ‘under the radar’ from the ‘Opensea-Apes’ (until Darwinia builds its Bridge…), various people are creating cool stuff for the punks. There are GUIs from KodaDot and others in the making for simpler onboarding for non-tech savvy users. Community members created NFT’s based on it like the Spunkbits for example, Unique is giving them Utility, and multiple Ecosystem partners, such as Kanaria by RMRK and OEB already gave Substantial Airdrops to Substrapunk holders. Unique has also promised to provide further Utility to Substrapunk holders.

Caption from Darwinia’s Polkadot Decoded Presentation — @Substrapunkette — Substrapunk Telegram Community

How to buy a Substrapunk?

There used to be a lengthy guide — but with the new marketplace it’s pretty straight forward:

Buy some Kusama (KSM), get the Polkadot.js Wallet, transfer the KSM to your wallet, ( — using a Hardware Wallet is not recommended yet ), head to and grab one!

Head to the Substrapunk community to get some advice so you get a good deal or if you have questions.