NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are just the latest form of cryptocurrency to take the internet by storm. They can be represented as photos, videos, audio and other digital files, but they’re actually units of data on a blockchain with unique identification codes certifying each NFT as unique (and therefore valuable to the owner).
With some NFTs — particularly artwork and internet memes — selling for millions of dollars, many people are confused as to why, exactly, NFTs are so valuable, and how a specific value is assigned to one.
But, as every adept salesperson has come to know, value is a fickle term and really just means whatever someone is willing to pay for something.
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It seems that every new multimillion-dollar sale is followed up by a bigger one — and the higher the sales go, the wilder the NFTs get. Here’s a look at 10 of the most expensive, most out-there NFTs sold so far.
Taco Bell GIFs
With NFTs claiming headlines everywhere, Taco Bell was among a long list of brands that glommed onto the publicity. Back in March, the fast-food chain sold an array of taco-themed GIFs and images as NFTs on the NFT marketplace Rarible. They apparently sold out in 30 minutes.
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Nyan Cat has become somewhat of an internet legend. A YouTube video released 10 years ago, it featured a pixelated feline with a Pop-Tart for a body, flying along to the tune of a Japanese song with a rainbow following its path.
In late February, its creator, Chris Torres, sold the NFT version for around $580,000. The design of Nyan Cat was apparently inspired by Torres’ late cat Marty.
‘Not Forgotten, But Gone’
“Not Forgotten, But Gone” can be described simply as a 16-second video of a rotating golden gummy bear skeleton. It was created by the artist WhIsBe, who features various gummy bears in many different forms. But this one must have been particularly special — after all, it sold for $1 million.
Keep Reading: The 10 Most Expensive Art Pieces Ever Sold at Auction
Jack Dorsey’s First Tweet
On March 5, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey listed his first-ever tweet as an NFT. The tweet reads “just setting up my twttr” and ended up selling for the equivalent of $2.9 million. It was bought using ether cryptocurrency, which Dorsey said he would convert to bitcoin and donate to charity.
just setting up my twttr
— jack⚡️ (@jack) March 21, 2006
CryptoPunks are, at a basic level, 24×24 pixel images which are considered art. There are five types of CryptoPunks: male, female, ape, zombie and alien — and each CryptoPunk is displayed differently. There are a ton of them out there, but several of the rarer CryptoPunks have sold for big bucks on the NFT market.
For example, CryptoPunk #3100 — one of just nine “alien punks” — sold for an incredible $7.58 million. The punk in question has bluish-green skin, is donning a headband and a blasé expression, and may otherwise be mistaken for a simple meme…you know, if it wasn’t worth almost $8 million.
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Grimes’ ‘WarNymph’ Collection
Given the fact that Grimes’ significant other, Elon Musk, has long since been on the crypto bandwagon, it’s not exactly surprising that Grimes has sold her artwork as NFTs. Her ‘WarNymph’ collection dropped in late February and sold for $5.8 million.
According to Mic.com, turning just one of those pieces — with 303 editions — into an NFT produced 70 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
️⚔️ We have a new challenger in the NFT arena️⚔️
@Grimezsz is touching down with the #WarNymph Collection on #NiftyGateway!
A percentage of the proceeds from the War Nymph #NFT sales will be donated to @carbon_180, a NGO dedicated to reducing carbon emissions. pic.twitter.com/hiDJF37Bpk
— Spooky Gateway (@niftygateway) February 13, 2021
Mike Winklemanm, better known by his artist name Beeple, sold his NFT “Crossroads” in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election for $66,666.60. The piece was designed to change based on the outcome of the election. In late February, the artwork — which features a rather graphic image of former President Donald Trump — resold for $6.6 million.
Lindsay Lohan’s ‘Bitcoin to the Moon’
Another celebrity to jump on the NFT bandwagon, Lindsay Lohan has released a handful of portraits of herself to be sold as NFTs. The first one, “Lightning,” sold for $50,000, which Lohan donated to charity.
One of her more recent portrait NFTs is a play on the promo poster for her 2005 film “Herbie Fully Loaded,” featuring a cartoonized Lohan leaning against a yellow VW Beetle with the bitcoin logo on the hood and the words “BITCOIN TO THE MOON” hovering over them.
Women are the architects of society. This #NFT is super special as it is a concept from the most iconic work of my career! Representing all the women in crypto who push #Bitcoin to the force it is now. Dropping at 11:45am PT on @rariblecom❤️ pic.twitter.com/cIBQ8xT4tM
— Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) March 8, 2021
Burnt Banksy Piece
This one is a little complicated. It started with the $95,000 purchase of a Banksy print called “Morons (White),” wherein the purchaser bought it solely to destroy it and turn it into an NFT. On March 3, the print was livestreamed on Twitter as a group of masked men set it ablaze. Then, the digital version was promptly listed and sold for $382,336 — a successful scheme.
The irony is that the Banksy piece depicts a painting up for auction that reads: “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t.”
Beeple’s ‘Everydays: the First 5000 Days’
Another Beeple piece, this NFT is a compilation of the first 5,000 of his digital artworks — he made one per day starting in 2007. “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” was the first NFT listed by auction house Christie’s, and it ended up selling for a whopping $69.3 million.
.@beeple 's 'The First 5000 Days', the 1st purely digital NFT based artwork offered by a major auction house has sold for $69,346,250, positioning him among the top three most valuable living artists. Major Thanks to @beeple + @makersplaceco. More details to be released shortly
— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) March 11, 2021
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Last updated: June 1, 2021