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The top 15 most expensive NFTs
Discover the most expensive non-fungible tokens that have ever been sold, who bought them and what makes them special.
Many nonfungible tokens (NFTs) put up for sale on NFT marketplaces sell for squat — but there are a handful that sell for millions of dollars.
Some notable NFT collections, like CryptoPunks, immediately come to mind for many, but digital artists like Pak and Beeple have multiple NFTs that passed the one million dollar mark.
Top 20 most expensive NFTsWe compared NFTs sold on various marketplaces and auction platforms, DappRadar NFT sales data and individual NFT ownership and sale history to find the 20 most expensive NFTs sold. Our list is sorted by dollar price at the time of sale.
1. Larva Labs' "CryptoPunk #9998" — $529.77 million
There are exactly 10,000 unique CryptoPunks in the famous collection, and it was created before the ERC-721 standard. It's also credited for setting the precedent of 10K NFT collections.
This punk is a special case, and this sale is actually considered invalid. The owner of the punk bought the punk from themself using a loan, then repaid the loan in the same transaction ($532,414,877.01) around October 2021. On Larva Labs site, the jaw-dropping $500M transaction is crossed out in the NFT's transaction history.Image source: Larva Labs
The actual value of this punk is estimated to be around $276K, according to DappRadar. It has the attributes of Wild White Hair, Black Lipstick and Clown Eyes Green.
This NFT "sale" is a good reminder to check an NFT's ownership history — a spike in value may not always be legit.
2. Pak's "The Merge" — $91.8 million (the actual top-seller)
This NFT broke the record for the largest-ever public sale of an artwork by a living artist. Pak is a big name in the NFT game, selling NFTs on platforms such as Sotheby's, Nifty Gateway, SuperRare and more — and this isn't the only piece of theirs on this list.Image source: Gemini
It sold on Nifty Gateway for $91,806,519. The Merge is part of a collection that was released on Nifty Gateway, where over 28,000 collectors banded together to purchase 312,686 units of "mass" (unique NFTs from the collection). These were all merged together to create this record-breaking NFT, as reported by Gemini.
3. Beeple's "The First 5000 Days" — $69 million
Beeple's — Mike Winkelmann — famous collage held the top spot for the most expensive NFT for months. Winkelmann started working on this collage in May 2007, posting art pieces continuously every single day for 13 years.
The artwork was exclusively offered at Christie's, an auction house founded in 1766 that specialises in fine art. It was bought for $69,346,250 by crypto billionaire MetaKovan.Image source: Beeple's
Following the sale, Beeple also amassed a huge number of followers, gaining 1.8 million on Instagram and bagging collaborations with brands such as Nike and Louis Vuitton, as well as musicians like Childish Gambino and Katy Perry.
4. Pak's "Clock" — $52.7 million
Created by Pak and Julian Assange — the founder of WikiLeaks — this NFT counts down the number of days Assange has been imprisoned. In February 2022, it was bought for 16,593 ETH by 10,000 AssangeDAO contributors.Image source: censored.art, Pak's "Clock"
5. Beeple's "HUMAN ONE" — $28.9 million
The HUMAN ONE is a dynamic NFT created by Beeple, and it sold for over $28 million in November 2021 at Christie's 21st Century Evening Sale. The piece is displayed in a kinetic video sculpture: four screens in a box on a constant loop.Image source: Christie's, "HUMAN ONE"
Beeple states that the inspiration for this piece comes from watching TV rollers, "We had a bunch of TVs on rollers in our studio and were rolling them around in different shapes and patterns," he told Christie's. He felt the configuration of screens was a "powerful canvas."
6. Larva Labs' "CryptoPunk #5822" — $23.58 million
This isn't the first or the last time we have to talk about CryptoPunks on this list.
This punk is one of nine Alien punks, and only has one attribute, the Bandana. It's currently the most expensive CryptoPunk of all time. Deepak Thapliyal is the current owner, and he bought this punk using Compound Finance's DeFi Protocol (essentially a crypto loan).Image source: Larva Labs
At the time of writing, CryptoPunk #5822 is for sale and the latest offer is for 10K ETH, or around $32.75 million.
7. Larva Labs' "CryptoPunk #7523" — $11.8 million
CryptoPunk #7523 sold for $11.8 million at a Sotheby's auction in June 2021. It was the most expensive CryptoPunk until #5822 shattered the record.
CryptoPunk #7523 is one of the nine alien punks, and has three attributes: Earring, Knitted Cap and Medical Mask. It's not for sale at the time of writing with no active bids.Image source: Larva Labs
8. Larva Labs' "CryptoPunk #4156" — $10.35 million
CryptoPunk #4156 is one of 24 Ape punks, with only one attribute, the Bandana.
It was bought in December 2021 for 2.5 ETH, or $7.05 million at the time of purchase, by user TheReal456. This punk is also not currently for sale and has no active bids.Image source: Larva Labs
9. Larva Labs' "CryptoPunk #7804" — $7.56 million
You're not seeing double — it's the third Alien CryptoPunk on this list.
CryptoPunk #7804 sold for $7.56 million in March 2021, by "peruggia". That same account owns four other punks in as well: #3441, #5705, #7003 and 7273.Image source: Larva Labs
10. Larva Labs' "CryptoPunk #3100" — $7.51 million
Still not done with punks.
CryptoPunk #3100 is another Alien punk, with its only attribute being the Headband. We only know the address of the owner, address 0x7b8961, and currently, this is the only CryptoPunk they own.
CryptoPunk #3100 has no active bids and is not for sale.Image source: Larva Labs
11. XCOPY's "Right-click and Save As guy" — $7.09 million
A brief break from the punks. This portrait GIF was sold for 1,600 ETH, or $7.09 million at the time of purchase, created by notorious NFT artist XCOPY.
XCOPY is a huge name in the NFT world. He regularly interacts with his fans on social media, is an original SuperRare creator, and known as a long-time digital artist and crypto enthusiast.Image source: SuperRare
Created in 2018, there's only one edition of this NFT and it was listed on SuperRare. The description of and title are pretty funny, openly mocking non-NFT enthusiasts — the description reads "Why would I buy it when I can right click and save as?"
12. Dmitri Cherniak's "Ringers #109" — $6.93 million
Dmitri Cherniak is an NFT creator and artist living in NYC. There are 1,000 items in the Ringers collection, with a total trade volume of 25.8K ETH ($72,860,748 at the time of writing).
Ringers #109 was sold for 2,100 ETH, worth around $6.93 million at the time of purchase. The current owner is OpenSea user 55FAF0.Image source: OpenSea
13. Larva Lab's "CryptoPunk #8857" — $6.64 million
You thought the punks were done? This is the last one, we promise.
The only Zombie punk on this list, CryptoPunk #8857 has two attributes: Wild Hair and 3D Glasses. It's one of 88 total Zombie punks. It was bought for 2,000 ETH in May 2018, worth $6.64 million at the time of purchase. It's owned by address 0xdf37ac, who owns no other punks at this time.Image source: Larva Labs
14. Beeple "Crossroad" — $6.6 million
Crossroad is another digital artwork created by Beeple, which was resold for $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway. The work shows a depiction of former US President Donald Trump lying down with several marks on his skin after losing the 2020 US presidential elections.Image source: Crossroads
According to Beeple, the design of the artwork is meant to change based on what the outcome of the election would be, which is why he also created a different version of the artwork in case Trump won.
15. Ross Ulbricht "Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection" — $6.28 million
This NFT piece, called Perspective, is a pencil drawing that was drawn by Ross Ulbricht while he was in prison. It's part of the Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection, and the entire collection was compiled into one singular NFT using Kanon's KSPEC protocol.
The sales proceeds from this collection will "fund efforts to relieve the suffering of the incarcerated and their families, as well as the fight to free Ross from a life in prison," as stated on the SuperRare listing.Image source: SuperRare
The collection was last purchased for 1,446 ETH in December 2021, or $6.28 million at the time of purchase.
16. XCOPY's "All Time High in the City" — $6.19 million
This GIF NFT by XCOPY was bought in January 2022 by @rarecollector3000. It was created in 2018 and listed on SuperRare.
There's a current list price of 33,666 ETH, or $95,074,803.96 — pretty ambitious if you ask us.Image source: SuperRare
17. XCOPY's "A Coin for the Ferryman" — $6.02 million
It's another XCOPY piece, but at least these NFTs have some variety!
This GIF, titled A Coin for the Ferryman, was also created in 2018. It was bought in November 2021 for 1,630 ETH by user @jpeggy on SuperRare. It's not for sale currently.Image source: SuperRare
18. Beeple's "Ocean Front" — $6 million
Ocean Front is another one of Beeple's new age masterpieces from the "Everydays'' series that portrays the dangers of climate change. Beeple arranged for the Open Earth Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to promote open-source platforms "that help increase planetary resilience" to be the beneficiary of the NFT sale proceeds.Image source: Beeple's
The starting bid was $2.77 million with Tron Founder Justin Sun, Middle Eastern music studio 3F Music and NFT whale BabyBeluga trying to outbid each other. Justin ultimately drew the winning bid at $6 million.
19. Bored Ape Chemistry Club's "Mega Mutant Serum" — $5.79 million
The Mega Mutant Serum NFT is part of a 10K collection called Bored Ape Chemistry Club, which was airdropped to Bored Ape owners in August 2021.
This NFT sold for 1,542.06 ETH, or $5.79 million in January 2022.Image source: OpenSea
20. Berners Lee "World Wide Web Source Code" — $5.4 million
The single NFT included four different pieces, which were time-stamped source code files, a video animation of the code's creation, a letter by the creator and Berners Lee self-designed digital poster of his code.
The creator of the World Wide Web collected a staggering $5.7 million dollars when he auctioned off an NFT of his creation's source code in June 2021. The money will be given to charity.Image source: Berners Lee
Honorable mentions: Top NFT collections
While we listed the most expensive single NFTs sold to date, there are very notable collections that deserve some attention. Some top-selling, popular NFT collections, in alphabetical order, include:
- Axie Infinity
- Bored Ape Yacht Club
- Cool Cats
- Otherdeed for Otherside
- Pudgy Penguins
- World of Women
What makes an NFT valuable?
It's difficult to nail down the exact value of an NFT, or what may make an NFT valuable. However, like physical art, there are some factors that can predict an NFT's worth:
- Ownership history. An NFT's ownership and transaction history are recorded, thanks to the blockchain its on. Buyers and sellers can see when transactions took place, the public address of the previous owner and more. If a celebrity or notable collector had owned a specific NFT, that NFT's value may appreciate or hold its value.
- Accessibility. Most NFTs are ERC tokens, and many NFT marketplaces are built on Ethereum. Tokens that many creators and collectors have access to may increase the likelihood of a high value.
- Creator ethos. Established artists and creators may create new pieces that may already come with a high price tag. Consider Beeple or XCOPY — their work is coveted in the space, so any new art they create may automatically be valuable given their artists' history.
- Utility. Gaming NFTs or domain NFTs are great examples of utility in this space. Some NFTs are just meant for collecting, but a gaming trading card NFT can be used in a blockchain game, which could make it more valuable depending on the audience.
- Consumer interest. There are millions of NFTs now, but they're not all guaranteed to be successful. Trending collections and overall consumer interest are two of the biggest predictors in value in NFTs and crypto. The more popular a collection is, the more likely is it that the NFTs will appreciate.
If you decide to invest in NFTs or crypto gaming, know that the value of any given NFT isn't guaranteed. Values fluctuate by the second, so it's a speculative investment.
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