Most Expensive NFT Art Ever Sold

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been around since roughly 2017, but it wasn’t until 2021 that they were widely known. NFTs have spread across industries and have gained popularity since early last year. Even millions of dollars have been paid for some of the priciest NFTs. Only the most expensive NFT sold brought well over $90 million.

In fact, a research claims that overall NFT sales reached $17.6 billion in 2021, up over 21,000% from the previous year. Given the marketing and utility surrounding some of the best NFTs, this is not very surprising. Despite a recent decline in sales, NFTs are nevertheless becoming more popular this year.

Credit: Beeple via Christie’s

The Top 10 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold

As more and more artists, celebrities, and brands drop their NFTs, let’s take a look at some of the most expensive NFTs ever sold. 

1. The Merge by Pak – The most expensive NFT in history

The Merge by renowned anonymous NFT artist Pak tops the list of best-selling NFTs. Pak made history on December 2, 2021, when he sold a piece of his art for an astounding $91.8 million. In actuality, The Merge is not owned by a single collector, in contrast to the majority of the most expensive NFTs. 28 893 collectors actually purchased 312,686 masses (or units) of the Merge artwork. Moreover, each unit was $575.

The Merge is a “one artwork distributed among multiple tokens, not a collection of artworks” that was dropped on the NFT marketplace, Nifty Gateway. In other terms, it is an open edition piece of art that allows customers to purchase tokens (masses or m tokens). Things start to get interesting from here.

Any two tokens in a wallet combine to become one, and each token acts as a unit of mass.

As a result, the total number of NFTs can vary depending on the collector count. Additionally, the Merge might eventually develop into a 1/1 NFT.

Credit: Nifty Gateway

2. Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple 

Michael Winkelmann, well known by his online alias Beeple, had previously held the record for the most expensive NFT. Everydays: The First 5000 Days, one of his works of art, sold for $69 million at Christie’s in March 2021. It’s interesting that the opening bid was only $100. However, the bids quickly increased due to Beeple’s recognition in the cryptocurrency and art communities.

The piece of art is a collage of the 5,000 pieces Beeple produced every day beginning in 2007. Therefore, it is not surprising that a piece of art that took 13 years to create brought in such a large sum. Everydays is still the most expensive NFT sold to a single collector a year after the sale.

3. Clock – Another highest sold NFT by Pak x Julian Assange

Pak and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, worked together to establish Clock. The cryptographic artwork includes a countdown that displays how many days Assange has been detained. The metre automatically updates each day to show how long Assange has been imprisoned. Ultimately, the NFT was purchased by the AssangeDAO, a group of over 10,000 Assange supporters, for $52.7 million in February 2022.

Credit: Pak

To gather money for the WikiLeaks founder’s legal defence, the pair established the NFT. In May 2019, the US authorities incarcerated Assange on espionage-related accusations. He is being detained at London’s Belmarsh Prison while awaiting extradition to the US as a result of the very contentious case. Additionally, the Wau Holland Foundation, a charitable organisation that is accepting contributions for Assange’s legal defence, will receive all monies donated by AssangeDAO.

4. Human One – The second most expensive NFT by Beeple

On the list of the most popular NFTs, it certainly appears as though Beeple and Pak are competing for the top slots! Human One, a beautiful kinetic video sculpture that merges analogue and digital technology, comes in at number four on the list. The artwork was described by Beeple as “the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse” in his own words.

The over 7-foot-tall artwork depicts a figure wearing what appears to be a space helmet and platinum clothing. Its backdrop is a dystopian environment of shifting terrain that is projected onto four walls. In November 2021, Christie’s sold the NFT at auction for just under $29 million.

Credit: Christie’s

5. CryptoPunk #5822

As one of the original NFT initiatives, some CryptoPunks have sold for astounding sums of money. CryptoPunk #5822 is ranked first among these. One of the nine Alien Punks produced only once, it has a blue-skinned alien. The CEO of the blockchain-based technology business Chain, Deepak.eth, purchased this unique NFT in February of this year for for $23 million.

10,000 randomly created avatars make up the CryptoPunks collection, which was started by software company Larva Labs. These were made available for free to everyone with an ETH wallet in 2017 when they were introduced on the Ethereum blockchain. However, they are currently one of the most recognisable and in-demand NFT projects on the market.

Credit: Larva Labs

6. CryptoPunk #7523

The sixth most expensive NFT ever sold is another extraterrestrial CryptoPunk. In June 2021, Sotheby’s auction house held an auction of CryptoPunk #7523 as a part of its renowned digital auction, Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale. The highest price ever paid for a CryptoPunk at the time was $11.75 million.

It is one of the rarest CryptoPunks in existence because it is the only Alien Punk with a medical mask. It also has an earring and an unusual knitted cap.

cryptopunk #7523

7. TPunk #3442

The next item on the list is TPunk #3442, which Justin Sun, the CEO of Tron, purchased in August 2021 for 120 million TRX, or almost $10.5 million (at the time). Due to its likeness to the Batman villain, the “Joker,” the NFT in question is recognised by its common name. It is a component of the Tpunks collection, a 10,000 NFT CryptoPunk ripoff effort.

These knockoff NFTs originally cost 1,000 TRX, or $123 each, to mint. Sun’s acquisition, however, dramatically increased the value of TPunks, causing many collectors to hurry to purchase the NFTs. In fact, TPunk #3442 was the NFT that sold for the highest price on the Tron network.

Tpunk #3442

8. CryptoPunk #4156

Well, the CryptoPunks have succeeded once more! The seventh most popular NFT is CryptoPunk #4156. #4156, in contrast to the CryptoPunks above, is an Ape type—and one of only 24. Due to its scarcity, this CryptoPunk has been sold multiple times, with its most recent sale in December bringing approximately $10.26 million. Actually, it sold for $1.25 million just ten months before!

The Punk also notices a Bandana, which only 5% of the collection contains. Additionally, it has just one attribute, a rare quality that only 2% of the collection possesses. Its owner has not yet put the punk up for sale.

CryptoPunk #4156

9. CryptoPunk #5577

Another ape kind CryptoPunk recently made it to the list of the most popular NFTs in February 2022. The fourth most expensive CryptoPunk on the market, CryptoPunk #5577, sold for a staggering $7.7 million. Numerous people think that Robert Leshner, the man of the Compound DeFi protocol, purchased the NFT.

CryptoPunk #5577

The rare NFT has a single attribute, which in itself is rare as only 2% of Punks have this. Besides, it adorns a Cowboy Hat, a trait shared by 1% of Punks

10. XCOPY

XCOPY, a top-selling cryptocurrency artist, needs no introduction. His works on themes of death and dystopia are well known. An astounding $7 million was paid for the unnamed artist’s “Right-click and Save As Guy” NFT artwork. One of the most well-known collectors of NFTs, none other than Cozomo de’ Medici, made the purchase of the NFT.

Xcopy

The NFT piece is a famous piece of art in the field. Given that many people think NFTs can be simply right-clicked and downloaded, he gave it the ironic name “Right Click And Save As Guy.” The original price of the item, which was created on December 6, 2018, was 1 ETH, or around $90 at the time. There have only been two sales, the second to de’ Medici.

While this list talks about only ten of the most expensive NFTs ever sold, several others have sold for millions of dollars. Many of these include CryptoPunks and Beeple’s other artworks. Others are ‘All Time High in the City’ by XCOPY, Edward Snowden’s Stay Free, and Bored Ape #8817, to name a few. In the coming months, we can expect more NFTs to break the current records. 

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