Ever since NFTs became a rave in the digital space, individuals and firms alike have bought the digital assets for insanely high prices. This article gives an insight into some of the most expensive NFTs of all time ever sold.
What Is an NFT (Non-Fungible Token)?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are blockchain-based cryptographic assets having unique identifying codes and metadata that separate them from one another. A non-fungible token is a non-transferable unit of data that may be sold and traded and is held on a blockchain, a type of digital ledger.
NFTs work similarly to cryptographic tokens, but unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, they are not interchangeable, meaning they cannot be traded or exchanged for the same value.
Unlike fungible tokens which are all the same and can thus be used as a medium for commercial transactions, each NFT may represent a distinct underlying asset and hence has a varied value.
A brief history of NFTs
Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash produced the first known “NFT,” Quantum, in May 2014, using a video clip created by McCoy’s wife, Jennifer. During a live presentation for the Seven on Seven conferences at the New Museum in New York City, McCoy registered the video on the Namecoin network and sold it to Dash for $4. The technology was dubbed “monetized graphics” by McCoy and Dash.
The term “NFT” only gained currency with the ERC-721 standard, first proposed in 2017 via the Ethereum GitHub, following the launch of various NFT projects that year. Curio Cards, CryptoPunks (a project to trade unique cartoon characters launched by the American studio Larva Labs on the Ethereum blockchain), and unusual Pepe trading cards were all released at the same time as the standard.
The 2017 online game CryptoKitties made money by selling tradable cat NFTs, and its popularity raised awareness of NFTs.The NFT market tripled in value to $250 million in 2020, indicating strong expansion. More than $200 million was spent on NFTs in the first three months of 2021.
Three trademark applications for NFTs were filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2020. Following a number of high-profile transactions and art auctions in the early months of 2021, interest in NFTs grew. The number of trademark applications increased to around 1200 in 2021.
The US Patent and Trademark Office received 450 NFT-related trademark applications in January 2022. The NYSE, Star Trek, Panera, Walmart, Elvis Presley, Sports Illustrated, Ticketmaster, and Yahoo are among the names that have been trademarked for NFTs. You can learn more about NFTs from this detailed article on NFT.
Popular Types of NFTs.
Some of the most popular types of NFTs are listed below.
The most popular form of NFT is art. NFTs were created as a way for artists to sell their best works online as if they were physical items. Many of the most expensive NFTs are currently works of art. This holds true for video art and even GIFs as well.
On the NFT market, you can buy and trade memes, what’s more interesting is that the individual in the meme is sometimes the genuine merchant. Nyan Cat, Bad Luck Brian, Disaster Girl, and other well-known memes are among those on the list, with earnings ranging from $30,000 to $770,000. The Doge meme, which sold for a whopping $4 million, is the most valuable meme to date.
The spread of the NFT fever has also hit domain names. You can register a domain name and then sell it on the NFT market, which has several advantages. The majority of the time, you’ll have to pay a third-party business to manage your domain name, however, you will be able to claim exclusive ownership of the domain if you purchase one on the NFT market, cutting away the intermediary.
Video games are another frontier in the NFT space. NFTs aren’t used to sell complete games. In-game material, such as skins, characters, and other goods, are being sold instead. Players can now purchase millions of copies of DLC assets, but an NFT asset is usually unique and exclusive to a single customer.
Why should fashion be any different from anything else bought and sold on the NFT market? You can spend a lot of money on a gorgeous bikini, but you won’t be able to wear it. Instead of buying stylish NFTs, people will style up their online avatars.
Having a virtual handbag or jewellery is unquestionably reserved for the more opulent and fashion-conscious. Of course, each one will be one-of-a-kind and limited in quantity.
NFTs provide something that has no physical counterpart: memorable sporting moments. These are short videos of historic sporting events, such as game-changing slam dunks or game-changing touchdowns. These clips can be as brief as ten seconds long, but they can fetch up to $300,000.
Music is also high on the NFT scale. For decades, music has been a fungible good, produced and distributed on vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and digitally. Musicians and DJs, on the other hand, have recently been selling their work as NFTs, earning millions of dollars in a matter of hours. NFTs allow musicians to keep about 100% of their earnings, which is why so many musicians are turning to this option.
A tweet was literally sold by Jack Dorsey. This makes it possible for anyone to sell almost anything on the NFT market. The sky is the limit for anyone who wishes to sell their own tweets, Facebook statuses, articles, Snapchat Stories, or TikToks. Knowing that there are various varieties of NFTs, each of which is unique, one may be compelled to wonder why one of these digital pieces costs so much.
Why are non-fungible tokens expensive?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are expensive because, as the name implies, they are non-fungible, meaning that ownership of the item is sole with the person who created or purchased it. Only a non-fungible asset’s owner can verify its validity, making these assets unique and one-of-a-kind. Due to their unique properties, some NFTs are considerably expensive.
Most expensive NFTs of all times
The list below includes 15 of the most expensive NFTs ever sold, and it cuts across a variety of different types of NFTs.
The Merge: $91.8M
Everydays: The First 5000 Days: $69.3 M
Clock: $52.7 M
Human One: $28.9 M
CryptoPunk #5822: $23.7 M
CryptoPunk #7523 : $11.8 M
TPunk #3442: $10.5 M
CryptoPunk #4156: $10.26 M
CryptoPunk #5577: $7.7 M
CryptoPunk #3100: $7.58 M
CryptoPunk #7804: $7.56 M
Ringers #109: $7.12 M
Right-Click and Save As Guy: $7.09 M
Crossroad: $6.66 M
CryptoPunk #8857: $6.63 M
1 The Merge: $91.8M
The Merge, a work by artist PAK, was sold for a record-breaking $91.8 million dollars and allowed anyone to buy masses that, in turn, became part of the same artwork as more people bought.
With 28,983 collectors buying 312,686 total units of mass on Nifty Gateway, this broke the previous record set by Jeff Koons’s 1986 sculpture Rabbit in 2019.
2 Everydays: The First 5000 Days: $69.3 M
The piece was made by renowned digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann and sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s, marking the first time the historic auction house has ever sold a fully digital piece.
The NFT is a collage of 5,000 of Beeple’s earlier pieces that shows his growth as an artist over the course of his career. It was bought by Vignesh “Metakovan” Sundaresan, who remained anonymous at first but ultimately disclosed his true identity.
“The point was to demonstrate Indians and people of colour that they, too, could be patrons,” Metakovan added. “Crypto is an equalizing power between the West and the Rest, and that the global south was rising.”
3 Clock: $52.7 M
The Clock is an NFT built by artist Pak, who is recognized for fueling his successful NFT projects with new token models and gamification.
The dynamic NFT displays the total number of days since Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested. AssangeDAO, which was created to generate money for his legal defence, raised and bid little over 16,593 ETH ($52.7 million) to buy the NFT. Pak then donated the money to the Wau Holland Stiftung Moral Courage Project, which is working to defend Assange.
4 Human One: $28.9 M
This is a Beeple NFT, and while it isn’t the artist’s most expensive work, it might be the most unusual. Human One, unlike most NFTs, is a hybrid design that incorporates both physical and digital features. It’s a 16K-resolution sculpture constructed of polished aluminium, mahogany wood, and four TV screens.
Those screens will show a virtual avatar that will change over time. Beeple claims that he will continue to update the avatar for as long as he lives, making any adjustments he sees fit.
5 CryptoPunk #5822: $23.7 M
In February 2022, CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for $23.7 million in ETH. Only nine alien avatars exist in the entire collection, and this one was sold to Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of a cloud blockchain infrastructure business Chain.
6 CryptoPunk #7523 : $11.8 M
CryptoPunk #7523 is an uncommon alien as well. Its medical mask attribute offers it a particular topicality in these COVID-influenced times, which is one reason why it was purchased for a stunning $11.8 million by DraftKings’ largest shareholder, Shalom Meckenzie, at Sotheby’s “Natively Digital” auction.
7 TPunk #3442: $10.5 M
TPunks NFTs do not sell for a lot of money the cheapest one is about $130 as of this writing but this one in particular sold for a lot of money. In August, TPunk #3442 was sold for 120 million TRX, or $10.5 million, to Tron co-founder Justin Sun. Sun said he contributed the NFT to APENFT, a Tron-based project that uses the blockchain to tokenize artwork.
8. CryptoPunk #4156: $10.26 M
CryptoPunk #4156 was sold in December 2021 by someone who rose to prominence in the crypto industry behind a pseudonym before rejecting his NFT moniker.
Punk 4156 rose to prominence in the budding NFT sector after purchasing the NFT in February 2021 for a then-record-breaking $1.25 million in ETH—Beeple even utilized the picture in a piece of art. However, 4156 rose to prominence as a thought leader in the field, eventually creating Nouns, an NFT project that is developing open-source IP.
9 CryptoPunk #5577: $7.7 M
The selling of CryptoPunk #5577 for 2,501 ETH, worth $7.7 million at the time, was the second-highest CryptoPunks ape sale, which occurred in February 2022. Robert Leshner, the CEO of Compound Finance, is thought to have purchased this ape, who wears a cowboy hat.
10 CryptoPunk #3100: $7.58 M
CryptoPunk #3100 is part of the 9 Alien Punks series, and it ranks only behind CryptoPunk #7804 as the most costly Alien Punk ever sold. #3100 is an Alien with a blue and white headband.
Only 406 of the 10,000 CryptoPunks wear a headband, which is worth noticing. It was first released in 2017 and gained popularity after a $2 million offer in March 2021, when it eventually sold for $7.58 million in the same month. The NFT is now on the market for 35000 ETH, or over $100 million at the time of writing.
11 CryptoPunk #7804: $7.56 M
The sale of CryptoPunk #7804 was orchestrated by Dylan Field, the CEO of design software startup Figma. In March 2021, the NFT was sold for a cool 4,200 ETH, which was valued little over $7.5 million at the time.
It comes with three accessories: a front cap, shades, and a pipe, making it one of only nine extraterrestrial CryptoPunks. It is, in fact, the only CryptoPunk alien with a pipe or a forward cap.
12 Ringers #109: $7.12 M
Along with Tyler Hobbs’ Fidenza line, artist Dmitri Cherniak’s Ringers has been one of the most valuable ventures of the bunch. Ringers #109, which was purchased for 2,100 ETH ($7.12 million) in early October 2021, was the highest Art Blocks sale to date. Three Arrows Capital and pseudonymous collector Vincent Van Dough co-founded Starry Night Capital, a $100 million NFT investment vehicle.
13 Right-Click and Save As Guy: $7.09 M
Right-click and save as Guy an NFT image auctioned on the decentralized marketplace Superrare alluded to a common criticism of NFT art, namely that anyone can easily download a copy of an image with a pulsating, glitchy avatar, which you can only assume is someone whining about NFTs on social media.
It was sold to Comozo de Medici for roughly $7.1 million in December 2021, up from a prior sale price of $174,000 in February of the same year. Surprisingly, the buyer’s alias belongs to none other than Snoop Dogg, hip hop legend and global renown.
14 CROSSROAD: $6.66 M
Beeple, a well-known digital artist, designed the NFT CROSSROAD. It has anti-Trump messaging on it, as well as an oversized Donald Trump-like figure laying in a defeated heap with profanities scrawled across his nude torso.
The artwork was supposed to alter depending on the outcome of the 2020 election, so it didn’t always look like that. It would have shown Trump donning a crown and striding through flames if he had won.
The NFT was sold for $6.66 million through Nifty Gateway, a popular marketplace for digital artefacts, between its original owner (Twitter user Pablorfraile) and an unnamed buyer.
15. CryptoPunk #8857: $6.63 M
CryptoPunk #8857 was sold in September 2021, at a sale price of $6.63 million (or 2,000 ETH). In May 2018, CryptoPunk #8857, a zombie avatar with 3D red-and-blue glasses, was sold for merely $1,717.
Other NFTs have been purchased at expensive rates other than these, however, this article only lists the top 15 most expensive NFT sales of all time.