NFTs have been around for several years now, from back in 2014, when the very first non-fungible token was created, heralding the early days of the Web 3.0 era. With their popularity growing rapidly over the years, interest and subsequent investment in NFTs truly skyrocketed in 2021! Today, many of the most renowned celebrities, entrepreneurs, and leading personalities of the world are part of the NFT phenomenon, and sales of NFTs of all kinds from music to art and more, range in the millions!
In fact, from 2021 to 2026, the non-fungible token (NFT) market is predicted to grow by USD 147.24 billion, with a solid 35.27 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Artists like Beeple and Pak have sold their pieces for tens of millions of dollars, and NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks are now some of the most expensive pieces of art in existence! As the rise of NFTs continues at an accelerated pace, we take a look at the top 5 most expensive NFTs in the world, so far!
The Merge (USD 91.8 Million)
The Merge is the most expensive NFT ever sold, at USD 91.8 million and is the pinnacle of renowned digital artist Pak’s work. Well-known for being responsible for creating a number of popular NFTs, Pak’s exact identity is still unknown. However, that certainly hasn’t stopped them from amassing a massive following in the crypto art community. The Merge is Pak’s most imaginative NFT; rather than creating and advertising a stationary work of art, it created a mass compendium that anybody could buy. People’s mass increased as they spent more money, with all of these masses gathered together under the same invention.
The First 5000 Days (USD 69 Million)
The first-ever digital art auction conducted by British auction house Christie’s saw an extensive collection of artworks by Beeple, The First 5000 Days, sold for USD 69 million! Since May 2007, the digital artist, graphic designer, and animator, has been painting every day, without any misses. The aesthetic, substance, and concept of these “Everydays” art pieces vary deeply, inspired by a range of satirical and apocalyptic scenarios. Beeple is the “third most expensive living artist” in terms of auction values, according to Artnet, following in the footsteps of Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
Clock (USD 52.74 Million)
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and popular digital artist Pak published Clock in February 2022 to help cover Assange’s legal fees. Assange has been held in the United Kingdom for numerous years due to his dilemma. His culpability has sparked intense (but necessary) debates about online and offline privacy and censorship. The clock exhibits a basic counter that displays the number of days Assange has been imprisoned. It sent shockwaves through the crypto community, with many ardently embracing its excessive price, which surpassed the fifty-million-dollar barrier.
Human One (USD 28.9 Million)
Featuring a second time on this list, Beeple created Human One as a labour of love and dedication, and while it isn’t his most expensive work, it is undoubtedly the most unique. Human One is a hybrid composition that incorporates physical elements with the digitals, unlike other NFTs that are completely digital. The life-size sculpture is made of polished metal, mahogany, and four digital monitors, with a total pixel resolution of 16K. On each of those screens is a synthetic avatar that transforms over time, with Beeple updating the avatar on a regular basis!
CryptoPunk #5822 (USD 23.7 Million)
Many of LarvaLab’s avatar artworks have sold for millions of dollars, making the CryptoPunk collection a huge hit in the NFT sector. In February 2022, one of these avatars, known as “CryptoPunk #5822,” sold for a staggering USD 23.7 million. Deepak Thapliyal, the buyer, is the CEO of Chain, a blockchain-as-a-service firm that creates blockchains for customers. CryptoPunk #5822’s qualities are an important aspect that contributes to its worth. Zombie and extraterrestrial avatars are among the CryptoPunk collection’s most difficult to come by. And since #5822 is an alien avatar, its scarcity made it one of the most coveted NFTs in existence.
While these may sum up the top 5, Cryptopunk NFTs dominate the next four spots, followed by another NFT by Beeple occupying the 10th spot. CryptoPunk #7523 sold for USD 11.75 million, #4156 has been sold multiple times, with the highest sale value of USD 10.26 million, #3100 sold for USD 7.67 million, and #7804 for USD 6.6 million. And finally, released in 2020, Beeple’s Crossroad sold for USD 6.6 million in 2021, the most expensive NFT at the time of the sale. This shows the truly dynamic and transformative path that NFTs are on, and in the years to come, will only rise in popularity and value!