Sotheby's withdrew a lot of 104 CryptoPunks before its auction was set to begin

A much-anticipated auction of more than 100 CryptoPunk NFTs ended before it began late Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the auction house operator announced the auction, which would see 104 CryptoPunk sold in a single lot. Sotheby's had also planned a discussion panel and an afterparty to signify the event.

Yet shortly after 7 p.m. ET, Sotheby's tweeted out that the auction was canceled. "Following discussions with the consignor, tonight's Punk It sale has been withdrawn. Thank you to our panelists, guests and viewers for joining us," said a message from Sotheby's metaverse-focused Twitter account.

The cosigner, who goes by the moniker 0x650d, tweeted "nvm, decided to hodl" as word spread of the withdrawal. 

The value of the lot had been estimated to be between $20 million and $30 million, according to a statement from Sotheby's at the time of its initial announcement. Sotheby's had said that the planned sale represented "the highest valued estimate for an NFT or digital art ever offered at auction."

Sotheby's began moving into the NFT business last year, beginning with a digital art collection sale by artist Beeple that fetched nearly $70 million at auction. 

Signs on social media suggested a degree of criticism around 0x650d's decision, though 0x650d appeared to continue celebrating the move in the aftermath:

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