22 May 2022 · 5 min read

Top 5 Most Expensive NFTs

Source: Adobe/olinchuk

 

2021 will go down in history as the year when crypto witnessed massive user adoption, largely thanks to the non-fungible token (NFT) boom. NFTs went mainstream, catching the attention of millions around the globe. 

Today, with its ups and downs, the NFT space continues to expand while its total market value is now being calculated in billions of USD.  

Read on to learn about the most expensive NFTs and why they have sold for millions. 

NFTs have been selling for millions

Blockchain transformed the digital space and made it possible for almost anything to be tokenized and made into an NFT. 

Crypto art collections, for example, have been sold for millions of dollars as JPEGs. Some of the most expensive NFTs sold to date have been from the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks collections - two of the most successful brands in the NFT market. 

Celebrities and influencers have also been part of the action, with some even launching their own projects, which has further boosted the perceived value of NFTs and the growth of the industry. 

So, which NFTs have sold for tens of millions of dollars, and what made them so valuable in the eyes of the collectors?

Most Expensive NFTs 

Let’s take a look at the top five best-selling NFTs to date. 

The Merge - USD 92m

Source: niftygateway.com

The Merge NFT currently tops the list of the most expensive NFT sold to date. The dynamic digital artwork was created by an anonymous digital artist known as Pak. 

The artwork was sold for USD 91.8m on December 6, 2021. The Merge was a single artwork that was composed of a collection of ‘masses’ that users could purchase. As a fractionalized piece, this meant that it was made up of 312,686 pieces that were distributed to 28,983 buyers. At the end of the sale, The Merge had generated USD 91.8m, dethroning Beeple’s The First 5000 Days to become the most expensive NFT sold to date.

The First 5000 Days - USD 69m

A fragment of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by Beeple. Source: A screenshot, onlineonly.christies.com

Before The Merge was sold in December 2021, Everydays: The First 5000 Days held the record for the most expensive NFT sold for ten straight months. The artwork was created by the digital artist, Michael Winkelmann, also known as Beeple. 

Beeple is a famous digital artist in the crypto art community as his artwork Crossroads ended up being a six-digit sale. The piece was sold at an auction at Christie’s on February 21, 2021, for USD 69m. The initial bid by traditional customers for the artwork was USD 100.

The Everydays: The First 5000 Days is a significant artwork in the NFT community as it became the forerunner for mainstream audiences to explore NFTs. Of interest, though is that Metakovan, the alias founder of Metapurse and the buyer of the artwork, wants people to download the artwork he bought for USD 69m as he believes in free information (and paid millions for it).

Clock - USD 53m

Source: censored.art

The Clock NFT piece was created by Pak and Julian Assange. It is an effective NFT piece that acts as a clock and counts down the number of days that Assange, WikiLeaks founder, has been imprisoned. 

The piece was created to help raise funds for Assange’s legal defense. It was bought by AssangeDAO, a collection of people pooling money to buy the NFT in support of Assange.  

Human One - USD 29m

Source: Christie's

Human One is another NFT artwork done by Beeple that sold for almost USD 29m. The artwork is a life-generative, dynamic sculpture that has an astronaut wandering across changing environments and was bought by Ryan Zurrer. 

Beeple described the piece of art as ‘the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse’. Additionally, the artist has promised to update the artwork over the course of his life to ensure it never remains static. This means that although sold to Zurrer, Beeple still has remote access to the artwork’s physical element to allow for updates.

CryptoPunk #5822 - USD 24m

Source: opensea.io

CryptoPunk #5822 remains the most expensive CryptoPunk character sold thus far. The character was bought by the CEO of Chain, Deepak Thapliyal, for USD 23.7m on February 12, 2022. 

The CryptoPunk NFT series has been the most expensive since they were launched, with a trading volume of over USD 9bn. CryptoPunk #5822 character features a blue alien wearing a bandana, and it’s reported that the original owner bought the piece for less than 1 ETH (around USD 2,000 at the time of writing).

Why are the top-selling NFTs worth so much? 

NFTs have and continue to change the way we think about art. While some NFTs are worthless, some as we have seen in this article, have sold for millions of dollars, turning the NFT art industry into a billion-dollar industry poised to surpass the value of the traditional art market. 

But, why exactly are the top-selling NFTs worth so much? 

For starters, famous auction houses such as Christie’s have helped NFTs by providing a place for them to be auctioned, thus piquing people’s curiosity. 

Moreover, NFTs that have been created as part of major collections such as BAYC or CryptoPunks have sold for far much more because they have managed to build a community of loyal fans and collectors.  

Also, top-selling NFTs have been able to sell for millions because of their creators. An artist like Beeple, who has been able to sell at least two of his pieces for over USD 20m, has already raised the bar for his kind of work.

As NFTs continue to grow in popularity and more people continue to mint them, it might be a matter of time before we could potentially bear witness to crypto art NFTs being sold for over USD 100m. But, as for how high the ceiling price for NFTs can go, only time will tell. In either case, the market can always surprise us and it won’t necessarily be a pleasant surprise. 

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Learn more: 
- Here's How NFT Owners Trade and What Tools They Use
- Belgian Museum Tokenizes Million-Euro Masterpiece to Allow its Fractional Ownership

- 88% of Surveyed High-Net-Worth Art Collectors Interested in Buying NFTs
- When You Buy an NFT, You Don’t Completely Own It – Here’s Why

- Damien Hirst’s NFT Art Project: What We’ll Discover When It's Over
- NFTs Are Selling for Millions, But How Do You Tell a Diamond From a Dud?

- Why NFTs Aren’t Just for Art and Collectibles
- Elon Musk NFT First to Enter Ukrainian Hall of Fame and You Can't Buy It