Non-fungible tokens are unique and noninterchangeable data units stored using blockchain technology. They come in all shapes and sizes, the most common being collectibles, digital art, event tickets and in-game currency. Some of these virtual assets are being sold for millions of dollars. Read on to learn what the most expensive NFTs are and how much they have sold for.
15. ‘Crossroad’ by Beeple — $6.6 Million
This piece was designed as a response to the 2020 presidential election and depicts former President Donald Trump lying flat on his stomach with derogatory words graffitied all over his body. The digital artwork, which was supposed to change depending on the election result, sold for $6.6 million in February 2021 via the Nifty Gateway marketplace.
14. ‘CryptoPunk 8857’ by Larva Labs — $6.63 Million
“CryptoPunk 8857” is one of 88 Zombie Punks created by the New York software company, and it’s an impressive example of return on investment. It was purchased for 2,000 ethereum, then worth $6.63 million, in September 2021. It had last sold for $1,717 in May 2018, Decrypt reported.
13. ‘Right-Click and Save As Guy’ by XCOPY — $7.09 Million
The price for this exploration of “death, dystopia and apathy” skyrocketed from $174,000 paid last February to $7.09 million in December 2021, when Snoop Dogg is thought to have purchased it under his pseudonym, Cozomo de’ Medici, Decrypt reported.
According to Otis, an alternative-investment platform, XCOPY is the pseudonym for a London-based artist. XCOPY also created “A Coin for the Ferryman,” which sold for over $6 million — at the time, the highest-ever NFT sale on the SuperRare platform.
12. ‘Ringers #109’ by Dmitri Cherniak — $7.12 Million
“Ringers #109” is an Ethereum-based project created on the Art Blocks platform by Dmitri Cherniak, a Canadian artist who, according to Artnet, has been involved with cryptocurrency since 2014.
It’s a generative piece — one of 1,000 in the series — that’s randomly generated based on the collector’s style choice prior to purchasing. According to the current listing on NFTGates, where you can buy in for a cool $6.89 million, the resulting piece could be a static image, a 3D model or an interactive experience.
11. ‘CryptoPunk 7804’ by Larva Labs — $7.57 Million
In plain sight, “CryptoPunk 7804″ might look just like any other pixelated face produced by Larva Labs. However, if you look closely, it features some characteristics that make it one of a kind. The now-famous Alien Punk sports small shades, a cap facing forward and a pipe in his mouth. It was sold back in March 2021 for $7.57 million.
10. ‘CryptoPunk 3100’ by Larva Labs — $7.58 Million
This piece is the third of nine Alien punks to have sold for a hefty price tag. The feature that makes it unique is its blue and white headband. “CryptoPunk 3100” sold for $7.58 million and was relisted for $140.9 million.
9. ‘CryptoPunk 5577’ by Larva Labs — $7.7 Million
Robert Leshner, CEO of Compound Finance, is thought to have been the buyer of this NFT — an Ape Punk sporting a cowboy hat. It sold earlier this year for 2,501 ethereum, which was worth $7.7 million.
8. ‘CryptoPunk 4156’ by Larva Labs — $10.3 Million
At this point, does it even surprise you that there’s yet another CryptoPunk on this list? Number 4156 is an Ape Punk with a bandana that sold for 2,500 ethereum, which was worth $10,315,300 at the time, according to Benzinga. The sale closed in December 2021.
Good To Know
The primary characteristics that drive value in the NFT environment are scarcity, utility and tangibility.
7. Tpunk #3442 by Tron — $10.5 Million
The Tron blockchain, created to help content creators monetize their work, created this CryptoPunk knockoff and sold it to Tron co-founder Justin Sun, according to Decrypt. Sun “donated the NFT to a Tron-based project that is tokenizing artwork on the blockchain,” Decrypt reported.
6. ‘CryptoPunk 7523’ by Larva Labs — $11.75 Million
Although Larva Labs has launched tens of thousands of pixel art collectible characters like “CryptoPunk 7523,” this piece is one of the most expensive yet. It sold for $11.75 million at the Sotheby’s auction last June. This Alien Punk features a knitted cap, an earring and a medical mask to keep up with the times.
5. ‘CryptoPunk 5822’ by Larva Labs — $23.7 Million
This Alien Punk NFT by Larva Labs sold for 8,000 ethereum, which was worth $23.7 million. The same buyer purchased another Punk for 99.9 ETH — a bargain at the equivalent of $327.19 at the current exchange rate.
4. ‘Human One’ by Beeple — $28.9 Million
A “bunch of TVs on rollers” inspired the artist known as Beeple to combine the sets into a four-screen box made of wood and metal for his first NFT work, which Christie’s auctioned last November. The screens continuously display an avatar Beeple created to tell a story he hasn’t quite sorted out yet.
No matter — Beeple told Christie’s that he considers “Human One” a lifelong project. He’ll update it regularly, providing the collectors with a piece they can find new meaning in as the years pass.
3. ‘Clock’ by Pak — $52.7 Million
The second-highest price for an NFT was $52.7 million for a joint project by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the artist known as Pak, created to support Assange’s legal defense.
The work, which consists of a digital counter that tracks the number of days Assange has spent in prison, was purchased by a blockchain-based activist collective known as AssangeDAO, according to Wired. Pak donated the purchase price to the Wau Holland Stiftung Moral Courage Project to offset Assange’s legal bills, Decrypt reported.
In a July 30 tweet, artist Frederico Clapis claimed to be Pak, though he is not the first to make the claim.
2. ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ by Beeple — $69.3 Million
Until recently, Beeple held the record for the most expensive NFT ever sold. His piece “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” a collage of 5,000 digital artworks he’s crafted since 2007, was sold for $69.3 million at an online auction by Christie’s — the highest price ever for a piece of digital artwork, The New York Times reported at the time.
It was purchased by Vignesh Sundaresan — aka MetaKovan — who stated he would’ve paid even more. Sundaresan outbid Tron founder Justin Sun by over $9 million, according to Decrypt.
Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was an unknown in the art world before Christie’s announced it would sell this digital work, according to The Art Newspaper.
1. ‘The Merge’ by Pak — $91.8 Million
Pak’s second work on this list takes the top spot as the world’s most expensive NFT. It’s an open edition featuring three masses, or dots, on a black background that was sold in “mass units” over a 48-hour period, at prices that increased every six hours. Like “Clock,” “The Merge” has multiple owners — about 28,000, according to iTechPost — who purchased over half a million units of the piece.
Investing in collectibles is nothing new, but NFTs have certainly given this practice a new meaning. The hype about these virtual assets is unlikely to go away anytime soon, so we can expect to see more of these pieces selling for astronomical prices in the future.
Daniela Rivera-Herrera contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of Aug. 25, 2022.
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- Wired. 2022. "Assange’s NFT Clock Sale Rides a Wave of DAO Crowdfunding."
- The New York Times. 2021. "JPG File Sells for $69 Million, as ‘NFT Mania’ Gathers Pace."
- Reuters. 2021. "'CryptoPunk' NFT sells for $11.8 million at Sotheby's."
- CNBC. 2021. "Crypto investor who bought Beeple’s NFT for $69 million says he would have paid even more."
- Benzinga. 2021. "CryptoPunk #4156 Just Sold For $10 Million."
- Cointelegraph. 2022. "Life-changing money: The 10 most expensive NFTs sold to date."
- Nifty Gateway. "Merge."
- Otis. 2021. "XCOPY: Crypto Art Pioneer."