Valuations on NFT sales are reaching astronomical numbers. Discover the most expensive to date in our most recent Top 10 article.
*Compared to major competitors. Terms and conditions apply. This is not investment advice or an investment recommendation. NFTs are shown for illustrative purposes and the types of NFTs available may vary. Cryptocurrencies, including NFTs are highly volatile, subject to significant price risk, and may not be suitable for you.
Celebrities, seasoned investors, and social media influencers paying top dollar for NFTs has been a theme throughout 2021 and the beginning of 2022 .
Seeing some of the sales prices of these tokens gets people thinking about what the price of the most expensive NFT sale must be. For that reason, we’ve put a list together for you (click to jump to the NFT, or scroll through them all!):
Let’s take a detailed look at each project down below.
In addition to art made in digital mediums, NFTs have also been an incredible platform for more traditional artists to showcase their talents. The most notable of these artists has been Beeple.
His claim to fame is having one of his NFT pieces, “The First 5000 days”, net the highest-ever winning bid at the famed Christie’s auction house at $69.3M. But, his success in the NFT space doesn’t stop there.
Beeple’s Ocean Front is a modern juxtaposition of the urban and the natural as it depicts a full-grown tree sitting atop a pile of buoys, storage containers, and train cars. Although the price may be shocking to some, it’s only Beeple’s third highest-valued work to date.
The value of this particular piece took some time to grow. The piece was originally created in 2018 by notable crypto artist Xcopy. However, the $6.034M sale of the piece wouldn’t happen until three years later, in 2021.
The piece is a GIF file consisting of a colorful background overlaid with several scribbled faces that combine into one. It’s a unique piece, and crypto art experts doubt whether there will be another similar piece.
What makes this piece unique is that it’s one of XCOPY’s first works. The artist has also developed their own style of “disturbed loop” GIFs that have yet to be replicated. XCOPY’s artworks also add an element of social commentary that bridges the gap between crypto art and traditional fine art.
NFT investors and enthusiasts should get used to seeing Beeple’s name. We saw his artwork pop up once already in this countdown, and – spoiler alert -- this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing him either.
The short 10-second clip shows people walking past each other on the street. In the background is a large, fallen body covered in graffiti insults.
Many NFT enthusiasts believe the body in the background to be that of ex-president, Donald Trump, after his loss in the 2020 election. The political and social commentary Beeple makes in this piece, as well as others, is part of what makes his work so popular. It’s also representative of a larger trend of crypto artists using NFTs as an expression of their stance on society and current events, much like XCOPY’s “right-click save guy” NFT.
This piece from the CryptoPunk collection makes the top 10.
Token #7804 in the CrytoPunk series is one of 9 “Alien” CryptoPunks in circulation. He also has unique accessories like a hat, sunglasses, and a pipe, making him even more rare.
Similar to #7804 mentioned above, CryptoPunk #3100 is one of the rare alien mints. This particular alien CryptoPunk is wearing a headband to set it apart from the other CryptoPunks in the series.
This particular NFT sold just one day after #6 in our countdown, CryptoPunk #7804. Although #7804 is rare, #3100 is considered the 7th rarest CryptoPunk in circulation, making it slightly more valuable than its other alien counterpart.
Coming in at #5 in the countdown is another asset from the CryptoPunk collection. CryptoPunk #7523.
Much like the previous two tokens on our list, this Punk is also part of the rare alien collection. He’s also wearing a wool hat, earrings, and a mask that looks like part of COVID-19 protocols, which may have helped its popularity and further plays into the “social commentary” trend growing in NFTs and crypto art.
One of the unique aspects of the sale of CryptoPunk #7523 is that it didn’t take place on a digital crypto exchange. This token was actually sold via virtual auction by the famous Sotheby’s auction house. Although it’s not the first NFT to sell via auction, it’s one of a very elite group of tokens sold through this method.
“Which NFT was the first sold via auction,” you ask? Well, we’ll get to that later in the countdown. Read on to find out.
Out of the 10,000 CryptoPunks minted, only 333 wear bandanas. This rare attribute is one of the reasons that CryptoPunk #5822 saw an astronomical, 8-figure price when it sold in February of 2022. (Image source: Larva Labs)
The new owner of the token is Deepal Thapliyal, the CEO of a new blockchain startup called Chain. Thapliyal is an avid NFT collector and adds this CrytpoPunk to a collection that contains other notable tokens like a Mutant Ape serum he purchased for $5.8 million in January of 2022.
Up until this point, the most expensive CryptoPunk (further down our list) sold for approximately $11 million. Thapliyal eclipses that sale with his most recent purchase, paying more than double the sale of previous CryptoPunk.
Even people who aren’t active in the web 3.0 investing community have probably heard of CryptoPunks by now. These pixel art digital collectibles have won the hearts of investors worldwide and A-list celebrities like Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. In fact, it was recently discovered that Snoop Dogg is the mind behind famed and mysterious NFT investor Cozomo de’Medici. His current NFT holdings include 9 CryptoPunks.
With only 10,000 CryptoPunk tokens in circulation, they derive some of their value from their scarcity. But, the main reason why CryptoPunks hold so much value is because of their origin.
The CryptoPunk series, along with Crypto Kitties, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and NBA Top Shot, are widely considered to be one of the “founding projects” responsible for launching the popularity of the NFT space. This is why they’ve been so popular in this countdown.
By now, we’re no stranger to Beeple being a part of our Top 10 countdown. This won’t be the last of him either. However, this particular piece is a deviation from the norm for Beeple.
Beeple’s Human One isn’t a piece of still-frame digital art, and it isn’t a GIF. Instead, for this piece, Beeple chose to use a 17-second video clip of a physical sculpture he created. The clip showcases a man in a foil space suit walking in place inside a rotating cube. As the cube rotates, our perspective on the man inside changes, as well as the landscape he’s traveling.
As is typical with Beeple, this piece departs from the “norm” for most crypto artists, which is why it fetched the 8-figure price of almost $30M.
Another Beeple piece is ranking high in our Top 10 countdown. This particular piece is a digital collage of 5000 pieces of Beeple’s work.
Back in 2007, Beeple promised himself to create one piece of art a day. This piece of crypto art is a result of that promise. Beeple stitched together 5000 of his original works to formulate this more extensive digital collection. Not only does this piece rank as the #2 most expensive NFT ever, but it’s also the highest-valued piece ever sold to one owner.
Everydays is the first NFT to be sold via auction rather than through a digital crypto exchange. Christie’s, arguably the most prestigious auction house in existence, hosted the virtual auction for this piece. Not only was it the first NFT auction, but it also ranked as the most expensive NFT sale until it was dethroned by #1 on our list.
This auction also plays an instrumental role in the launch of the NFT community. The auction drew a lot of attention and buzz which brought the financial and creative communities together for the first time. Not only that, but the sale of Everydays also helped the art gallery and auction industry which was drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming in our top spot is a piece known as The Merge by Pak. This particular piece is unique because it’s the only crypto asset we know of with multiple owners. Thirty thousand investors came together to meet the almost 9-figure purchase price for this piece.
This NFT purchase was part of a two-day “grand opening” sale event for the NFT exchange, Nifty Gateway. The token was divided into 266,434 total units and buyers had the opportunity to purchase as many units as they wanted during the 48-hour sale window. But, why such a high price?
In addition to being a beautiful piece of digital art, the Merge painting also has a built-in scarcity component. Every transfer of Merge combines with the existing coin in the recipient’s wallet to eventually equal the total mass value of one Merge coin.
During the two-day sale, each share of The Merge cost $575. If you happened to own previous NFT artwork by Pak, you could receive a discount of $299 per share. Further discounts were given to people buying shares in bulk. If a user bought 10 shares, they received an 11th for free. Anyone buying 1000 shares would receive an extra 300. The share price also increased $25 every six hours which added even another layer of scarcity.
This type of sale method is one of the most unique to date.
The high price tags of crypto art pieces have many people wondering if we’ve reached a peak. Digital art pieces selling for just shy of $100M has the investment community questioning how much higher we can go.
The truth is: no one really knows. What we do know, however, is that transactions of this size mean people are starting to take NFTs more seriously. What were once cartoon drawings of kittens and apes are now viable investment assets with a bold, bright future.
Want to learn more about digital investing in the web 3.0 landscape? There’s plenty for you to research on the FTX blog. And when you’re ready to take the plunge, download FTX’s mobile app to purchase and manage your NFT collection no matter where you are.