Since last year, plenty of new players has entered the NFT ecosystem, including celebrities, eager investors, and artists. That’s why the market has performed so well in the last two years. According to DappRadar, NFT sales increased to roughly $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021. This represents a remarkable 704 % growth over the previous quarter.
As we examine some of the expensive and popular ones, let’s find out what drives the value of any NFT. The rarity, tangibility, and utility of any art sold as an NFT are the major factors that decide the price. For example, something like the first Tweet is extremely rare and has a high market value.
11 Most Expensive NFTs
Certainly, NFTs’ popularity has made them speak for themselves. Now let’s find out the answer to this question: What is the most expensive NFT ever been sold? Here is an ascending list of the 11 most expensive NFT artworks sold.
11. CryptoPunk #2338 – $4.4 Million
We start our list of NFTs with one from CryptoPunk, referred to as CryptoPunk #2338. To provide some context, CryptoPunk was first created by Larva Labs Studio in 2017.
Cryptopunks are inspired by the culture and scenes of the London punk culture. There are 10,000 CryptoPunks (6,039 males and 3,840 females), all unique in their own way, making them amongst the most expensive NFTs.
The NFT owner sold it in August 2021 for $4.4 million, resulting in a remarkable one-million-percent return on investment.
10. Stay Free – $5.27 Million
Stay Free is one of the rarest and most real-life NFTs that has ever been sold. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden created the artwork after entering the NFT bandwagon in April 2021.
The Stay Free NFT covers all of the 2015 ACLU v. Clapper decision, which ruled that the National Security Agency breached laws while conducting surveillance. Stay Free features Snowden’s signature on the bottom right, along with the text of the hearing, making it a unique work of art.
Snowden sold the artwork for $5.27 million. The proceeds were donated to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting freedom of speech and press freedom globally. It is made with open-source software. PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization, bought the Stay Free NFT.
9. Save Thousands of Lives – $5.23 Million
This NFT artwork was created by a non-profit organization called Noora Health and sold on May 8, 2021.
Paul Graham bought this artwork at a charity auction. This piece attempts to raise funds for Noora Health’s work with new moms in South Asia, where they are taught how to care for their kids once they return home from the hospital.
As a result of its collaboration with more than 165 hospitals in the region, Noora Health educates families of new mothers on how to keep the new mother and her child healthy and safe. With this artwork being auctioned for $5.1 million, or 1,337 ETH, it was possible to save lives with a cost of $1,235 per life saved.
8. World Wide Web Source Code – $5.4 Million
Sir Tim Berners Lee, the pioneer of the World Wide Web, became interested in the NFT ecosystem and sold an NFT containing the original source code for the web. It is a visual depiction of the web source code packaged as an NFT.
The artwork, titled “This Changes Everything,” was auctioned out by Sotheby’s. Various commentators stated that this violated the web’s decentralized nature. However, the sale proceeded and brought in $5.4 million. It is interesting to note how a coding error was noted days after the artwork was sold.
7. CryptoPunk #5217 – $5.59 Million
CryptoPunk #5217 is among the 24 ape punks dressed in knitted hats and gold chains. The features of #5217 are also regarded as highly unique and special by Punk lovers.
Moreover, it belongs to Larva Labs’s most expensive NFTs. First available in 2018, the NFT costs a bit more than $1800. Later on, it was sold for a phenomenal $5.45 million in July 2021.
6. Ocean Front – $6 Million
‘The Ocean Front’ is a work of art created by graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple.
Ocean Front aims to raise awareness about climate change by displaying a tree on the top of shipping containers in the midst of the ocean. It successfully highlights a real-life social issue, making it one of the most popular NFTs.
CEO and founder of the Tron Foundation, Justin Sun, won the art auction at about $6 million. It was sold through Nifty Gateway.
Ocean Front sale proceeds are going to support the Open Earth Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to prevent climate change from becoming an existential threat.
5. Crossroad – $6.66 Million
Crossroads is another concept from Beeple’s drawing board. When it was sold in February 2021, it briefly held the record for the most expensive digital artwork ever sold.
Crossroad is an election-themed artwork that apparently depicts a defeated Donald Trump lying in the background following the 2020 election results. However, it was intended to show him wearing a crown if he had won.
Nifty Gateway helped broker the deal between the original artwork owner and an anonymous buyer for $6.66 million. Four months after its initial purchase, it was sold for ten times its original value.
4. CryptoPunk #3100 – $7.51 Million
CryptoPunk #3100 is another CryptoPunk on the list, and it sold for $7.51 million. A rare CryptoPunk, #3100, wears a headband and is known as alien punk.
Of all 10,000 Cryptopunks, nine aliens make them popular among the NFT fans.
3. CryptoPunk #7804 – $7.56 Million
CryptoPunk #7804, valued at $7.56 million, is one of nine aliens like the one described above. Dylan Field, the CEO of design software Figma, was the one behind the sale of this NFT.
The #7804, sold in March 2021, comes with three accessories: a forward cap, sunglasses, and a pipe. The pipe contributes to this NFT’s uniqueness.
2. CryptoPunk #7523 – $11.8 Million
CryptoPunk #7523 is, without a doubt, one of the most expensive items on our list.
It wears a face mask that makes it seem relevant during COVID-19. Furthermore, it is a part of the nine Alien CryptoPunks group. It is the only Alien Punk with a mask, thus making it unique.
1. Everydays: The First 5000 Days – $69.3 Million
Lastly, we have the winner of the most expensive NFT ever sold. Everyday: The First 5000 Days, Mike Winkelmann’s work was sold at Christie’s.
The artwork Everydays consists of 5,000 of Beeple’s earlier works that he made every day for the last 5000 days. According to Winkelmann, he started the Everydays project on 1st May 2007 after being inspired by British artist Tom Judd. Everydays is a series of images arranged chronologically, with a few of the images being drawn by hand.
Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as MetaKovan, purchased this NFT. While Justin Sun, the creator of Tron, was the second-highest bidder for Everydays and was outbid by Sundaresan at $60.2 million.
It is clear from the numbers that the NFT market will continue to grow. As the numbers indicate high growth, it is only logical to begin investing as soon as possible.
While we just looked at the 11 most expensive NFTs, it’s always good to do some research before investing big. With the market still in the developing stage, statistics may not be the only thing to consider. Fundamentals, history, and utility are all things that collectors and creators should consider, regardless of the reason they are in it.
A creator might be required to invest a small amount so they can determine if the NFT markets are right for them or not. In the same way, it’s always best for collectors to experiment, observe, and learn.
We cannot deny the versatility of non-fungible tokens in the near future. It can be used either as a collectible or a transactional tool.
Would you like to know about the top NFT artists? Read our blog to find out.