Have you ever wondered what the world’s most expensive NFT was worth? Wonder no more!
We’re going to delight in some ground-breaking, rip-roaring NFT action as we break down the top 5 all-time sales.
The Rise of NFTs
The Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) industry is absolutely thriving. The diversity and ownership afforded by NFTs is transforming the way we perceive the world. NFTs exploded last year amidst the emergence of Web3 and a plethora of decentralized blockchains.
In fact, the abbreviation ‘NFT’ was Collin’s Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2021 and the word is still gathering momentum.
NFTs have retained their appeal because they give you ownership over something profoundly meaningful – whether that’s identity, community, or perhaps membership. This ownership can’t be taken away from you – it’s written in an underlying code that can’t be modified. It’s yours and only yours to use, cherish, sell or even trade.
Indeed, trade volumes show no signs of slowing down in 2022 as the NFT phenomenon just keeps on rolling.
NFTs in real life
Recently, NFTs have been raising money for Ukraine’s cause against Russia, including a ‘CryptoPunk’ donation that is reportedly worth around $200,000. This illustrates the growing influence of NFTs in real life and how they’re impacting people’s lives. Incidentally, the most expensive CryptoPunk NFT ever sold features later in this article!
One of the keys to the rise of NFTs has been the astounding sums of money spent on purchasing them. Demand for bespoke NFT collections has consistently driven up the value of NFTs. Equally, influential communities with large amounts of crypto to invest have been playing their part in the NFT boom.
There are no NFT communities more influential than the Bored Ape Yacht Club, who are spearheading a Web3 revolution.
Their collection of Bored Apes sold like wildfire, with the most expensive Bored Ape NFT (at the time of writing) going for $2.9 million. BAYC just started their own cryptocurrency “Ape Coin” and their parent company, Yuga Labs, recently purchased the I.P. for CryptoPunk – exemplifying the ambitions of this exciting NFT community.
NFTs represent a new landscape
The most expensive NFTs are game-changing purchases and represent different emerging subcultures. Quite simply, these NFTs shook the world and have led to NFTs being taken seriously even by the most cynical of NFT deniers.
What began as a Profile Picture (PFP) phenomenon, exemplified by the first-ever NFT collection ‘Cryptopunks’, has morphed into something far more profound.
Indeed, your NFTs could open various doors in real life as well as the virtual realm.
They may give you a vote if you’re part of a DAO, or perhaps give you access to an exclusive party or meet-up, or a membership to a community. These are just a few real-life utilities for NFTs and they’re expanding by the day.
Now, let us rejoice in the top 5 NFT purchases of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, the most expensive NFTs ever sold!
1. Pak’s ‘The Merge’ — $91.8m
Anonymous digital artist Pak’s creation, The Merge, sold for US$91.8 million on Nifty Gateway, with 28,983 collectors securing 312,686 total units of mass.
The concept of this artwork is rooted in the smart contract, a special ‘merge’ function allowed buyers to purchase pieces of mass and merge multiple pieces to make a bigger mass.
Each unit was priced at US$575, which increased by US$25 every six hours. By the end, the tokens sold for a total of US$91.8 million – making it the world’s most expensive NFT!
2. Everydays: the First 5000 Days — $69.3m
Beeple, otherwise known as Mike Winkleman, sold this life-changing piece of art at Christie’s auction in October 2021 for $69 million.
This work was hailed as “the next chapter of art history” and Beeple was called “one of the most valuable living artists”.
This was the first purely digital work of art ever offered by a major auction house and represented 5000 pieces of Beeple’s work in collage form. “Everydays…” was part of a project where he produced a piece of art every day and this project is now in its 14th consecutive year.
3. Clock — $52.7m
Does it seem unreal that this would be one of the most expensive pieces of digital art ever made?
Well – each of the world’s most expensive NFTs stand for something significant – and “Clock” is no different! ‘Clock’ is a piece created by the aforementioned artist Pak and Julian Assange, and counts the days that WikiLeaks founder Assange has been imprisoned.
Assange is a powerful symbol and personifies something that people around the world value greatly. This NFT raised funds for Assange’s legal defense and was ultimately purchased by AssangeDAO — a collection of over 10,000 people pooling their money to purchase the NFT and support Assange.
4. Beeple’s HUMAN ONE — $28.985m
Human One is another earth-shaking piece of art, which Mike Winkleman created in the wake of his “Everydays…” masterpiece.
According to Christie’s: “The new sculpture is a generative work of art, a dynamically changing hybrid physical and digital piece, which the artist intends to seamlessly add and evolve creatively over the course of his lifetime.”
With Human One, you can see that Beeple wanted to create something truly unique and with the kinetic video sculpture — four video screens (16k resolution), polished aluminum metal, mahogany wood frame, dual media servers; endless video, and corresponding dynamic NFT – we can safely say he achieved that!
5. CryptoPunk #5822 — $23.7m
CryptoPunks are NFT pioneers and #5822 was double the next most expensive Cryptopunks NFT. What can we say about this NFT? It represents one of the first-ever generative NFT collections, and it’s one of the rarest Cryptopunks out there.
The punk was bought by Deepal Thapliyal, the CEO of blockchain startup ‘Chain’. This punk is one of nine aliens in the collection of 10,000 NFTs and one of 333 who wear a bandana.
There we have it – the top 5 NFT sales of all time and what an esteemed collection of works, representing various emerging subcultures in the world of Web3.
Whether it’s political statements, postmodern art, or technological advancements – they all stand for something powerful and that’s partly why they’re so valuable.
Thanks for reading. We look forward to reviewing more of the world’s most expensive NFTs at the end of the year!