Our guide explains NFT domains, a new type of digital asset that allows users to own and control their online identity.
Here are the top 10 most expensive NFTs sold to date:
- The Merge by Pak: Sold for $91.8 million.
- Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple: Sold for $69.3 million.
- Clock by Julian Assange and Pak: Sold for $52.7 million.
- Human One by Beeple: Sold for $28.9 million.
- CryptoPunk #5822: Sold for $23.7 million.
- Alien Cryptopunk #7523: Sold for $11.75 million.
- TPunk #3442: A Joker-like TPunk sold for $10.5 million.
- CryptoPunk #4156: Sold for $10.26 million.
- CryptoPunk #5577: Cowboy hat-wearing punk, sold for $7.7 million.
- CryptoPunk #3100: The sole punk wearing a blindfold initially sold for $7.6 million.
The NFT community has been reshaped by projects like CryptoPunks, Rare Pepes, and CryptoKitties since the first NFT in 2014.
As a result, NFT sales have experienced an astronomical surge, with numerous renowned NFTs fetching tens of millions of dollars.
To gain firsthand insight into what drives markets, this article explores NFTs in detail and lists the top 10 most expensive NFTs ever sold.
Top 10 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold
Here are the top 10 most expensive NFTs sold to date;
1. The Merge- $91.8 million
In December 2021, a remarkable series of NFTs known as The Merge shattered records by commanding a staggering price of $91.8 million via Nifty Gateway.
The creator of this artwork is the esteemed digital artist Pak, renowned for raising funds worth over $350 million in sales.
The collective enthusiasm for The Merge led 28,983 individuals to acquire 312,000 shares. Each is represented as an NFT.
This achievement is even more remarkable because each share initially started at a modest price of $575, gradually increasing by $25 every six hours.
As a result, The Merge propelled Pak to the status of the most valuable living artist in history. Surpassing the $91 million sale of Jeff Koon’s iconic 1986 painting, Rabbit.
2. Everydays: The First 5000 Days – $69.3 million
Until the end of 2021, Beeple’s “Everydays” NFT held the record as the most expensive NFT art ever sold.
This exceptional artwork is a compilation of all 5,000 images the artist created over 5,000 consecutive days.
The renowned Christie House conducted the auction, ultimately fetching an impressive $69 million for this one-of-a-kind piece.
The winning bidder, Vignesh Sundaresan, outpaced Tron’s founder, Justin Sun, to secure ownership of this significant generative NFT art.
3. Clock – $52.7 million
In February 2022, an NFT titled “Clock,” created by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Pak, was the third-most expensive NFT sold.
This unique digital artwork portrays a timer that symbolizes the duration of Julian Assange’s confinement in London’s Belmarsh prison.
The creation of the NFT was part of the curated Censored collection by Pak and Assange, which also included a dynamic, open edition.
This piece was acquired by AssangeDAO, an organization dedicated to advocating for the freedom of the renowned WikiLeaks founder.
4. Human One: $28.9 million
Once again, making an impressive mark, Beeple secures a spot on our list with another multimillion-dollar NFT creation, HUMAN ONE.
This unique non-fungible token was sold for $28.9 million through a Christie’s auction last year.
HUMAN ONE is a kinetic video sculpture accompanied by a dynamic NFT, boldly described by Beeple as “the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse.”
This Beeple’s artwork seamlessly blends physical and digital technologies, featuring an astronaut perpetually traversing through ever-changing surroundings.
Beeple is committed to continually enhancing this generative art, ensuring its perpetual dynamism and time-defying nature.
5. CryptoPunk #5822: $23.7 million
On February 12, 2022, the most expensive CryptoPunk ever sold, punk #5822, made headlines.
This alien punk adorned with a blue bandana fetched a staggering $23 million, surpassing the price of the second-highest-grossing punk by more than double.
The notable buyer of this prized NFT is Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain, who proudly shared an image of his newly acquired punk on Twitter.
The transaction propelled punk #5822 to nearly claim the title of the highest-selling NFT at the time, falling just a few million short of the record.
6. Alien Cryptopunk #7523 – $11.75 million
Alien CryptoPunks hold great rarity within the crypto realm, precisely why Alien CryptoPunk #7523 has earned its position as the sixth most expensive NFT ever sold.
Previously keeping the record for the highest-priced Cryptopunk, the value of Cryptopunk #7523 stems from its incredibly unique attributes.
Notably, it is the sole CryptoPunk wearing a surgical mask—a poignant symbol closely associated with the pandemic.
Additionally, it belongs to the esteemed group of nine super-rare aliens. In art, rarity and uniqueness command higher prices, making Cryptopunk #7523 a sought-after and valuable piece.
7. TPunk #3442 – $10.5 million
While Alien punks have garnered significant value, another breed known as TPunks has captivated the interest of investors, often regarded as Tron’s equivalent to CryptoPunks.
Among them, TPunk #3442 stands out with its resemblance to the Joker. Although TPunks NFTs typically don’t command high prices, TPunk #3442 defied expectations, selling for an impressive $10.5 million during a sale held last year.
The buyer was Justin Sun, co-founder of Tron Blockchain and prominent in the cryptocurrency industry. However, Sun chose not to retain the token and generously donated it to the APENFT marketplace.
8. CryptoPunk #4156: $10.26 million
Adding to the list of special NFT sales is another Punk, CryptoPunk #4156, securing its position among the highest-priced NFTs. This particular Cryptopunk possesses exceptional quality as it falls within the exclusives category.
It is one of the 24 Cryptopunk monkeys, adorned with a distinctive blue bandana, and estimated to be valued at 10.35 million dollars.
An intriguing detail about this NFT is its remarkable surge in value, skyrocketing from $1.17 million to $10.35 million in just under a month.
The sale set a notable milestone in the CryptoPunk ecosystem and signaled a pivotal moment for the renowned Larva Labs project.
Widely recognized as one of the most significant NFT collections, Larva Labs cemented its status with this groundbreaking transaction.
9. CryptoPunk #5577: $7.7 million
In February 2022, a CryptoPunk with a cowboy hat stole the spotlight by selling for a substantial sum of 2,500 ETH.
The purchaser, believed to be Robert Leshner, CEO of Compound Finance, expressed his excitement with a vibrant “Yeehaw” tweet following the acquisition.
This particular CryptoPunk is one of the 24 Ape Punks and is further classified as one of the 142 adorned with cowboy hats.
The possibility of witnessing any major transactions akin to the #5577 trade is highly improbable. Given the surging popularity of Ape Punks among the NFT community of Bored Ape Yacht Club.ht Club.
10. CryptoPunk #3100 – $7.6 million
The highly sought-after CryptoPunk #3100 commands a steep price due to its distinctive feature: the NFT represents a sole punk sporting a blindfold.
Initially sold for an impressive $7.51 million, the buyer subsequently listed this remarkable crypto for an astonishing $90.5 million, equivalent to 35,000 ether.
Should this coveted piece find a purchaser at that extraordinary price, it would claim the title of the most expensive digital artwork ever sold worldwide.
What Are NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)?
Non-Fungible Tokens encompass digital assets such as videos, in-game items, music, art, etc. These unique assets are traded online, often utilizing cryptocurrency as the medium of exchange, and are typically built upon the same underlying software as many cryptocurrencies.
While NFTs have existed since 2014, they have recently gained significant attention due to their growing prominence as a means of purchasing and selling digital artwork.
In 2021 alone, the NFT market achieved outstanding value, reaching a staggering $41 billion, approaching the total worth of the global fine art market.
NFTs are typically characterized by their uniqueness, often existing as one-of-a-kind creations or limited in quantity. Each NFT possesses a distinct identifying code, setting them apart from most digital products usually available in infinite supply.
Limiting the supply of a particular asset and assuming demand for it can increase its value. This distinctive feature of NFT collections contrasts sharply with the traditional digital landscape.
Rise in Popularity and Value of NFTs
The popularity and awareness surrounding NFTs were relatively low until 2021. In 2021, there was a staggering surge in sales volume, with a remarkable 2,627% increase recorded between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. In this period, the trading of digital assets exceeded a value of $1.5 billion.
By August 2021, the NFT craze had peaked, as a single marketplace witnessed the buying and selling of digital art worth over $3.4 billion. So how did NFTs gain popularity?
The launch of CryptoKitties in October 2017 marked a significant milestone in the world of NFTs and digital art. The emergence of CryptoPunks in June 2017 resembled the NFTs we recognize today as crypto art. Conceived by John Watkinson and Matt Hall, this collection of 10,000-pixel art characters has consistently been appreciated within the NFT art realm. Primarily owing to their historical significance.
The popularity of a blockchain game soared as it enabled individuals to adopt and nurture virtual cats while engaging in trading activities based on their perceived worth. This game’s immense hype facilitated lucrative transactions and catalyzed the overall growth and potential of the NFT scene.
Amidst the pandemic, the NFT space witnessed an influx of enthusiasts, leading to the emergence of fresh artists and enterprises crafting their unique NFTs with innovative designs and functionalities. The boundless prospects presented by this animated artwork and assets are solely constrained by the limits of our imagination, promising an exciting future ahead.
Factors Contributing to the High Prices
Market Dynamics and Demand-Supply Factors
The interplay between market dynamics and demand-supply factors drives up art prices. The limited availability of exceptional artworks and heightened demand from collectors, investors, and institutions can substantially impact pricing.
While art is often regarded as a luxury commodity, its scarcity and exclusivity contribute to the perceived value, resulting in higher prices.
Celebrity Endorsements and Collaborations
The involvement of celebrities and influential figures in the art world can significantly impact prices. When a well-known individual endorses or collaborates with an artist or artwork, it increases the visibility and desirability of the piece, attracting a broader audience.
This heightened demand can drive up prices as collectors and fans seek to acquire works associated with their favorite celebrities.
Increased Investment Opportunities and Speculation
Art has become an increasingly attractive investment option for individuals and institutions. The potential for high returns on investment, coupled with the aesthetic appeal of owning valuable artworks, has led to a surge in art speculation.
As investors and speculators enter the market, they contribute to increased demand, thereby driving up prices. This trend is especially noticeable in the auction market, where bidding wars can result in record-breaking prices for sought-after pieces.
Growing Interest From Traditional Art Collectors
The interest in art collecting has expanded beyond the traditional collector base. As more individuals and institutions recognize art’s potential value and cultural significance, the demand for artworks has increased.
Established art collectors seeking to diversify their portfolios or engage with new artistic trends are willing to pay higher prices for desirable works. This broadening collector base has fueled competition and price escalation in the art market.
The NFT market has witnessed unprecedented growth and captured the attention of art enthusiasts, collectors, and investors alike. With record-breaking sales reaching tens of millions of dollars, NFTs have demonstrated their potential as valuable digital assets.
Factors such as rarity, reputation of creators, and cultural significance contribute to the high prices of NFTs.
The top 10 most expensive NFTs sold to date, including The Merge and Everydays, showcase the immense value placed on these unique digital creations. As the NFT market evolves and attracts attention, we expect even more groundbreaking sales and innovative projects to shape its future.
The Merge is the most expensive NFT ever sold, selling for $91.8 million dollars.
Popular NFTs include digital art, collectibles, and music, with Beeple's artwork and CryptoPunks leading the way.
Several factors contribute to the increase in NFT prices. Scarcity, uniqueness, celebrity endorsements, and perceived value contribute to the high prices of the most expensive NFTs sold.
NFTs can cost millions due to high demand, exclusivity, investor speculation, and the market's perception of their value.