Discover What’s Worth the Hype

Welcome to The Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold – Top 10 List! I’m Zifa, a crypto enthusiast and digital art lover who’s been writing about the fascinating world of cryptocurrency for over two years now. As someone who’s deeply passionate about the artistic and technological aspects of the digital realm, I’m thrilled to guide you through some of the most jaw-dropping NFT sales in history. Together, we’ll explore the incredible value and cultural impact of these unique digital masterpieces, shedding light on the ever-growing significance of non-fungible tokens in today’s art world. So, buckle up and join me on this exciting journey as we dive into the top 10 most expensive NFTs sold!

What Is an NFT?

Let’s imagine you have a favorite artist, and they create a one-of-a-kind digital painting. You love it so much that you want to own it, but how do you prove it’s truly yours in the digital world?

That’s where NFTs come in. NFT stands for “non-fungible token.” It’s a unique digital certificate that proves you own a specific digital item, like a piece of digital art, music, or even a virtual property. Think of it as a collector’s item, like a rare baseball card or a limited-edition toy, but in the digital realm.

Now, you might be wondering what “non-fungible” means. It just means that the item can’t be exchanged for something of equal value, like how you can’t swap a rare baseball card for any random card from the same collection. Each NFT is unique and has its own value.

When you buy an NFT, you’re not purchasing the digital file itself, like a JPEG or an MP3. Instead, you’re buying the digital certificate that says, “Hey, I’m the rightful owner of this specific digital creation!” It’s stored on a secure digital ledger called the blockchain, which ensures that your ownership is legitimate and can’t be tampered with.

Now, let’s talk about why NFTs can be considered digital art. Just like traditional art, digital art is created using various tools and techniques, but instead of a physical canvas, it exists in a digital format. With the rise of NFTs, artists can now create, sell, and collect digital art similarly to traditional art.

NFTs have made it possible for digital artists to gain recognition and earn money for their work. Since each NFT is unique and verifiable, collectors can be sure they’re buying an original piece of digital art, just like owning an original painting or sculpture. So, in a nutshell, NFTs provide a way for digital art to be valued, collected, and appreciated, just like traditional art.

Top 10 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold

As digital art and technology continue to evolve, these remarkable sales exemplify the growing value and appreciation of non-fungible tokens. Join me as I explore the top 10 NFTs that have made their mark on the art world and commanded exceptional prices.

10. CryptoPunk #7804: $7.56 million (4,200 ETH)

One of the highest selling NFT artworks - CryptoPunk #7804.

Despite being part of the much larger NFT market, #7804 stands out due to its ‘alien’ appearance. As this rare collectible is one of only nine of its kind, it definitely carries value. It can even be considered a symbol of today’s digital world and how people are embracing digital assets more fully than ever before. It’s no wonder that this punk holds such high worth, given its unique character attributes and rarity. 

According to the online marketplace OpenSea, there have been no sales of this token after the 4,200 ETH transaction — though there have been several (very expensive) listings.

9. CryptoPunk #3100: $7.57 million (4,200 ETH)

The second CryptoPunk in this list, #3100, is an alien punk wearing little more than a headband. On March 11, 2021, just one day after #7804 was sold for $7 million, this CryptoPunk became even more expensive, fetching an impressive $7.67 million in total. This makes it the fifth most rare and expensive piece by CryptoPunk that exists.

What’s particularly interesting about #3100 is that it resembles a bit of a rarity on its own in some senses. It looks like no other CryptoPunk we’ve seen before — and the fact that the purchaser paid so much for it could suggest they view far greater potential in it compared to the rest. It wouldn’t be too illogical either because once you buy a CryptoPunk, you generally have full control over what you do with it or where you take it next.

Just like the previous token on this list, #3100 has not been sold since the aforementioned transaction took place.

8. CryptoPunk #5577: $7.7 million (2,501 ETH)

CryptoPunk #5577, a punk sporting a cowboy hat, has proven to be a great investment for collector Robert Leshner. It was sold in February 2022 for just shy of 2501 ETH, equivalent to nearly $7.7 million! As part of the 24-piece Ape Punk collection, this NFT is considered especially rare and sought after these days. What’s more, it is one of only 142 to feature the iconic cowboy hat style.

7. CryptoPunk #4156: $10.2 million (2,500 ETH)

CryptoPunk #4156 is an incredibly valuable NFT created by digital artists Matt Hall and John Watkinson of Larva Labs. It is one of twenty four extremely rare crypto monkeys, and the punk sports a blue bandana. This unique crypto collectible has an estimated value of approximately $10 million, making it one of the most expensive NFTs ever sold.

CryptoPunk #4156 garnered attention when its price jumped dramatically in just a one-month period. In May 2021, its value rose from $1.17 to $10.35 million, demonstrating that when it comes to NFTs, potential returns can be incredibly lucrative — making them attractive investments for many collectors worldwide. This CryptoPunk symbolizes just how powerful and valuable non-fungible tokens can be if you invest in the right asset.

6. Tpunk #3442: $10.5 million (120 million TRX)

Tpunk #3442 is the most expensive NFT sold for TRX.

The recent high-profile purchase of the rare ‘Joker’ Tpunk for $10.5 million (or 120 million TRX) by Tron Founder Justin Sun shows his deep involvement and enthusiasm for the NFT space. Sun originally desired to own Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5,000 Days collection, but he was outbid at the last minute with a difference of $250,000.

Justin Sun’s investment into this ‘Joker’ Tpunk further highlights its immense value within the NFT community and proves his commitment to the world of NFTs. As derivative versions increase in popularity, Tpunks stands at the top tier of these products. Their 10,000 unique avatars on the Tron blockchain also add a unique flavor to their already noteworthy existence, one which imitates but certainly doesn’t plagiarize the well-known collection CryptoPunks. The popularity of such products is expected to continue its growth just as well as their value — after all, investors’ interest remains peaked due to increasingly innovative derivatives launched onto the market almost daily.

5. CryptoPunk #7523: $11.7 million (4,700 ETH)

The CryptoPunk #7523 is one of the rarest and most sought-after CryptoPunks of all time, with an impressive price tag to match. It was crafted by Larva Labs’s directors Matt Hall and John Watkinson, who combined their artistry to create a truly unique piece.

The appeal of CryptoPunk #7523 lies in its unusual combination of features; this particular punk is one of the nine super rare aliens, and it also dons a surgical mask, which has become a powerful symbol of the global pandemic that we are currently living through. Not only does this make it symbolic, but it also contributes to its rarity, which, in turn, helps it maintain an incredibly high market value — at a current estimate of over $11 million — making it one of the most expensive CryptoPunks ever created.

5. CryptoPunk #5822: $23.7 million (8,000 ETH)

CryptoPunk #5822 was recently purchased for a staggering $23.7 million, making it the most expensive CryptoPunk ever sold. The alien-style punk featuring a blue bandana is one of only nine aliens in the entire collection. It was purchased by Deepak Thapliyal, who happens to be the CEO of Chain. After acquiring this rare figure, he tweeted an image of it after his purchase and almost set the world record for the highest-selling NFT at the time.

The astronomical amount paid for this punk certainly justifies its high value due to how incredibly limited these were made in comparison to all other CryptPunks. Furthermore, there’s something infinitely appealing about owning a unique character that has been created with remarkable detail and artistry — not to mention that they are immune to counterfeiting or hacking due to their blockchain-based nature, which further strengthens their worth. These factors have all contributed to creating such an incredible demand for these digital assets, forcing prices skywards as more people try to get their hands on them to both show off their collection and make money from trading them on open markets.

4. Beeple, Human One: $28.9 million (4,700 ETH)

Beeple’s HUMAN ONE, the third most expensive NFT sold, made history when it was purchased for $28.9 million at the 21st Century Evening Sale, auctioned off by Christie’s as part of their continued effort to legitimize NFTs as art. This one-of-a-kind digital masterpiece is comprised of both an NFT and an electronic sculpture combined into a singular lot making it a truly unique offering from the acclaimed artist.

The world eagerly awaited the results of this auction because the success of Beeple’s Everydays shows what the latest NTF artworks could fetch. As investors and artists alike have started to see possibilities beyond just cryptocurrencies, this sale helped further thrust interest in NFTs into mainstream culture. Although no one could have predicted such a large sum, it’s clear that HUMN ONE has earned its place at the top and solidified Beeple’s status as an iconic digital artist.

3. Julian Assange and Pak, Clock: $52.7 million (16,593 ETH)

This NFT Clock is updated daily to illustrate how long Julian Assange has been imprisoned.

The Clock, a dynamic NFT artwork created by Pak and Julian Assange, was sold for $52.7 million. It serves as a clock, counting the days of Assange’s imprisonment and drawing attention to his sentence while advocating for freedom of information through its physical auction on the blockchain network.

AssangeDAO, a group of more than 10,000 people, purchased the NFT as part of an initiative to raise funds for Julian Assange’s legal defense. The NFT is a digital artwork that serves as an activist intervention and political statement. Its unique approach to raising awareness on the subject is considered a significant milestone in the history of crypto art.

2. Beeple, Everydays: The First 5000 Days – $69.3 million (38,525 ETH)

Beeple's Everydays represents not only the highest priced NFT artwork, but also an important milestone in digital art.

Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days is easily the most famous NFT sold to date. The massive price tag of $69.3 million has earned Beeple a place in NFT history, making it the major force that catapulted the term “NFT” from niche collectors circles into mainstream awareness. Before Christie’s Online Auction took the chance on Beeple and listed his work, many outsiders saw owning an individual tokenized work of art as nothing but a hobby. The astounding sum was proof enough to even SNL watchers that crypto-fungible works could be lucrative investments too.

The purchase sparked a huge wave of interest in NFTs, with prominent sports personalities taking part in the craze and even traditional leaders such as Sotheby’s auction house joining forces with other cryptocurrency businesses to embrace blockchain-driven artwork and collectibles.

This NFT piece is a compilation of 5,000 individual pieces, each made individually by Beeple every day over a span of 13 years. The artwork gives an insight into Beeple’s creative process, showcasing his evolving style as well as giving him an impressive portfolio for people to appreciate. Everydays is also an ambitious undertaking for a single artist, showing how the limits can be pushed when harnessing advanced computer technology and algorithms. This deal highlights how impactful digital art can be in today’s interconnected world and sets a new precedent for aspiring digital artists and eager NFT collectors alike.

1. Pak’s ‘The Merge’ — $91.8m

The Merge by Pak is considered the most expensive NFT ever sold.

The Merge is an ambitious project that explores the convergence of the physical and digital worlds while challenging the traditional concept of art ownership. Pak, a pseudonymous famous artist known for their innovative digital art pieces, has created this NFT as a commentary on the growing relationship between technology and our daily lives. The artwork invites viewers to ponder the fusion of reality and virtuality and how these interactions are shaping our perceptions and experiences.

The Merge was sold through a highly anticipated auction on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway between December 2 and 4, 2021. Bidding for the piece was fierce, with collectors and enthusiasts from around the world vying for the chance to own this groundbreaking work. Eventually, the NFT was sold for a staggering $91.8 million, becoming the most expensive NFT ever sold. The piece was divided into 312,686 coins, making it accessible to 29,983 people around the world who could buy not only one but multiple units. This new approach to art democratized purchases and gave access to a broader public that would not have been able to participate in such an event if it had been centralized on just one buyer.

The sale of The Merge has had a profound impact on both the art world and the NFT landscape. It has bolstered the status of generative NFT art as a legitimate and valuable form of artistic expression and demonstrated the power of NFTs as a tool for artists to reach new audiences and markets.

This expensive artwork stands out among other NFTs as it is more than just a digital asset. Many users perceive this piece by not only its size or visual appeal; instead, there is an emotional bond between its creator and the buyers. The concept of decentralizing the purchase of such important artworks gives small-scale artists increased value and opens new paths for those willing to make their efforts recognized within an increasingly digital environment. With The Merge becoming the most expensive NFT ever sold, these parties achieved a historical landmark. 

Moreover, the concept behind The Merge has sparked a broader conversation about the role of technology in our lives and how it is reshaping the way we interact with the world around us. Pak’s vision of a blended reality invites us to reflect on the ever-growing influence of the digital realm and the implications of this convergence on our future.

One Honorable Mention – The Highest Selling NFT

CryptoPunk #9998, one of the 10,000 unique pixel art characters from the popular CryptoPunks collection, made headlines when it was reportedly sold for an astounding $532 million. However, the legitimacy of this sale has been called into question, as the actual estimated value of this particular CryptoPunk is believed to be far lower than the mind-blowing sale price tag.

CryptoPunk #9998, the highest selling NFT art (technically).

The individual behind a particular transaction bought a CryptoPunk from themselves using three digital wallets. They transferred the NFT between Wallet A, B, and C, eventually returning it to Wallet A. The buyer used a “flash loan” to cover the $532 million transaction, a complex decentralized finance tool that allows for large cryptocurrency loans if specific smart contract criteria are met.

Social media platforms like Twitter and Discord, where NFT discussions occur, quickly discovered the sale and speculated on the motives. The prevailing theory suggests it was a publicity stunt aimed at increasing the CryptoPunk’s value.

The incident with CryptoPunk #9998 serves as a reminder that the NFT market is still young and prone to fluctuations and speculation. As the market matures, buyers and sellers must exercise caution and vigilance to safeguard their investments and uphold the integrity of the NFT ecosystem. By carefully examining the ownership history and verifying the provenance of NFTs, collectors can mitigate risks and make informed decisions when acquiring digital art and other unique digital assets.

Why Are NFTs So Valuable?

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have become increasingly popular in the art world as of late due to their ability to uniquely represent digital artwork on the blockchain. This digital image representation ensures intellectual property rights, making them a significant attraction in the crypto markets. However, this makes them difficult to assess in terms of value since an NFT’s worth is not determined by a single factor. While there is no definitive way to know what will cause NFT price fluctuations, some things can be considered when evaluating a token’s value.

One major factor that affects an NFT’s worth is its ownership history, since it records every transaction within its blockchain. This allows buyers and sellers to trace back how the token has been passed from one owner to another, along with other data points such as previous owners’ public addresses. If a prominent collector or a celebrity has previously owned an NFT, they could possibly increase or preserve its market value. So, this fact may be beneficial. Similarly, stories behind certain purchases or acquisitions can also make these tokens more valuable and desirable, just like any other piece of art.

However, based on our observations, the key factor behind NFTs’ popularity and value lies in their uniqueness and scarcity. The attention of investors has been significantly drawn to this space, especially when considering high-profile sales. The first-ever tweet was minted and sold for a whopping $3 million — although it didn’t even crack our list — showing just how valuable certain NFTs can be due to their rarity. 

When someone purchases a scarce NFT, such as one of CryptoKitties’ limited supply of digital cats, its value goes up because there are fewer of them available on the marketplace. Additionally, since many collectors recognize the potential historical worth of rare NFTs, they will purchase them, as illustrated by Estavi’s purchase of the first tweet. Hence, with a limited supply and high demand from investors looking for potentially huge returns as well as collectors looking for unique pieces of history, it’s no wonder that NFTs have become so popular — and valuable — in recent years.

Most Expensive NFT Collections

From innovative digital art to rare virtual collectibles, these collections have left the biggest impact in the NFT space and host some of the most expensive non-fungible tokens.

CryptoPunks

Some of the most expensive NFTs by Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Possibly the most famous NFTs in the world — CryptoPunks.

CryptoPunks is a revolutionary collection of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that sparked an industry-wide craze. Believed to be the first-ever digital assets created and traded on the Ethereum blockchain, these digital collectibles are highly sought after by investors, collectors, and art enthusiasts. CryptoPunks are unique. Each of them features pixelated images of people displaying punk hairstyles, complemented by neon backgrounds. From top knot mohawks to faded blue undercut fades, there are only 10,000 CryptoPunks in existence, making every single one of them of value — be it visual or monetary.

The association with the ERC-721 standard made CryptoPunks, or as some refer to them, Cryptopunk NFT, an instant hit among those who seek novelties or just want to mine for profit. These digital pieces have become status symbols in the NFT world, often fetching a hefty price in the market. The inherent rarity and tech-savviness required to obtain them turn them into attractive options for buyers and traders who don’t mind diving into cryptocurrency technology research. Moreover, some renowned online galleries are already exhibiting these NFTs as part of their virtual collections, proving their remarkable cultural standing across different disciplines and art forms. Their design and ethos also resonate with the cyberpunk movement, further cementing their place in the digital art realm.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)

The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs have made quite a splash in the world of crypto collectibles. There is only one series, with a total of 10,000 NFTs that feature their very own unique expressions, colors, and even clothing! Furthermore, some of these collectible tokens were sold for over $1 million each, making them some of the most sought-after digital assets.

This collection is now one of the representatives of the NFT market, especially after it was widely advertised by different celebrities. In addition to selling the tokens themselves, the Bored Ape Yacht Club also hosts various real-life events for NFT owners and even launched its own token, ApeCoin.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is a company that was founded in 2018 and has since then become one of the largest and most successful digital platforms. The game originally started as a digital pet, but through its expansions, it has now become an incredibly popular decentralized gaming space. At the moment, Axie Infinity’s daily trading volume is unprecedentedly high, amounting to over $222 million at the time of writing. This number easily smashes past any other NFT game, proving just how influential and popular Axie Infinity has grown to be.

Axie Infinity is a revolutionary platform that allows players to create, assemble, and manage their own teams of fantasy creatures recognized by their non-fungible token (NFT) identity credentials. Currently, the game features five different types of physical objects called ‘Axies,’ based on various animals such as cats, dogs, and frogs — all with unique abilities of their own! Not only does this create an exciting prospect for gamers looking for novel ways to engage in gaming experiences, but it also offers investors opportunities to make real money from selling Axies on the market. All in all, the company truly lives up to its name — Axie Infinity introduces infinite possibilities to curate your very own battle teams.

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties is an Ethereum-based blockchain game developed by Dapper Labs, a Canadian design studio. Players are able to buy, sell, and breed digital cats that exist completely within the Ethereum blockchain. CryptoKitties owners can even trade their kitties with each other! CryptoKitties offer holders an interesting new way to invest in digital assets with real value.

The first generation of CryptoKitties, Gen 0, is capped at 50,000. Although this may seem like a large number, not all of them have yet been released. This scarcity adds to their value as they cannot be bred and hence become much more valuable than the Virtual Kitties released afterwards. CryptoKitties are remarkable because they allow their owners to feel ownership over these virtual pets like never before.

Final Thoughts: Do NFTs Still Have Value?

It is no secret that high-profile NFT sales are now more or less a thing of the past. After all, the most expensive NFT sales took place in 2022 and 2021. To many people, this means that the market is now worthless and that non-fungible tokens are nothing but a scam. However, I don’t think that’s necessarily true: there are still new NFT sales being made, and there are plenty of new interesting collections.

In my opinion, the NFT market has simply matured. Now, it focuses more on things that it has always claimed to celebrate: artistic expression, unique ownership of digital assets, and utility. The latter is particularly important as NFTs are now being used in more and more crypto blockchain games.

It’s possible that the expensive NFT sales worth millions of dollars will never be topped, but is it really that bad? NFTs are still paving the way for new forms of artistic expression and empowering creators to reach wider audiences. I’m incredibly excited to witness the continued growth and development of this innovative market, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the world of digital art and NFTs.


Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this article are not financial or investing advice. The information provided in this article is the author’s opinion only and should not be considered as offering trading or investing recommendations. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. The cryptocurrency market suffers from high volatility and occasional arbitrary movements. Any investor, trader, or regular crypto users should research multiple viewpoints and be familiar with all local regulations before committing to an investment.

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