NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have become a treasure store with some being sold for millions of dollars, but what is the most expensive NFT?
Instances of a piece of art being sold for more than $69 million, or a tweet fetching a price of $2.9 million are not a fantasy, but an incredible reality, thanks to NFTs.
In 2021, Beeple, or Mike Winkelman, a digital artist, sold his NFT for $69 million. This made NFTs a media hotspot and opened floodgates for other NFT sales, many of them selling for millions of dollars. The much talk about NFTs in both the mainstream media and the crypto community prompted stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Grimes, Eminem, and others to jump into the NFT hype.
In 2022, NFTs captured the attention of artists, investors, and collectors alike, a trend that continued in 2023. In this article, we have compiled a list of the most expensive NFT assets that have been sold to date.
Most Expensive NFT: What is an NFT?
An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a token issued on the blockchain to represent a unique asset, which can be a piece of art, video, photograph, or real estate. NFTs are not fungible because each NFT is unique and has a unique identifier.
Two NFTs may look very similar but they are not interchangeable. Thus, one Bitcoin can be exchanged for another Bitcoin, but an NFT cannot. That’s why NFT technology is used as a certification of ownership or proof of authenticity on the blockchain. They can be whole digital assets such as play-to-earn gaming items, metaverse land, or tokenized real-world assets.
What is the Most Expensive NFT Sold: What Gives NFTs Value?
The value of an NFT is determined by market demand and supply. It is easy to evaluate an NFT after it is created as a representation of a physical asset. However, most NFTs only exist on-chain, in the digital world.
Every NFT collection comes with a different supply and each NFT can have a different rarity. For an NFT to fall under the category of what is the most expensive NFT sold, it must feature rare traits in the digital asset. Limited series NFTs with specific use cases have more value. The development team behind an NFT, as well as artists and the community surrounding an NFT, can determine its demand.
In other words, what is the most expensive NFT depends on who created it, the NFT’s value in play-to-earn games, and the community or market sentiment.
What is the Most Expensive NFT?
To know what is the most expensive NFT, we have put together a list of the most expensive NFTs that have been sold to date. They include the following:
#1: What is the most expensive NFT sold: Everydays: The First 5000 Days – $69.3 million
Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” comes first in our list of what is the most expensive NFT. The artwork was created by Beeple, a digital artist, and sold for $69.3 million at Christie’s. This marked the first time the auction house sold purely digital artwork.
The NFT featured a collage of 5,000 of Beeple’s earlier artworks, representing his development throughout his career as an artist.
The piece of art was bought by Vignesh “Metakovan” Sundaresan, who was pseudonymous for some time but later revealed his identity. “The point was to show Indians and people of color that they, too, could be patrons, that crypto was an equalizing power between the West and the Rest, and that the global south was rising,” Metakovan said.
#2: Clock: $52.7 Million
You cannot talk about what is the most expensive NFT without talking about the Clock. The Clock NFT was created by artist Pak, who is popular for using novel token models and gamification to push his NFT projects.
The NFT shows the total number of days since the imprisonment of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. AssangeDAO, which was formed to raise the fee for his legal defense, raised and bid more than 16,593 ETH ($52.7 million) to buy the NFT, making it feature in the list of what is the most expensive NFT sold. Pak then donated the funds to Wau Holland Stiftung Moral Courage Project to facilitate Assange’s defense.
#3: HUMAN ONE: $28.9 Million
Artist Beeple holds the top spot in our list, but he has not hit the NFT world just once. He invented Human One, a sculpture that has digital screens on all sides and depicts a person in a spacesuit walking through a changing environment. This piece of NFT had to feature in the list of what is the most expensive NFT.
Human One is a physical/digital hybrid that depicts Beeple’s growing artistic ambitions beyond the digital canvas, and it comes with an NFT deed of ownership included. The NFT was sold for $25 million at Christie’s in November 2021, but it rose to $28.9 after all fees were added. The NFT was purchased by Ryan Zurrer, a former venture partner at Polychain Capital.
#4: What is the Most Expensive NFT: CryptoPunk #5822: $23.7 Million
CryptoPunks is a collection of 10,000 profile picture (PFP) avatars stored on the Ethereum blockchain. The NFTs were created by Larva Labs but were later acquired by Yuga Labs, the creator of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).
Most PFP NFT projects, including BAYC, drew their inspiration from the CryptoPunks. CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for ETH worth $23.7 million in February 2022.
It is the rarest NFT in the collection and there are only nine of them in the entire collection. The NFT was bought by Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain, a cloud blockchain infrastructure firm.
#5: CryptoPunk #7523: $11.8 Million
This CryptoPunk comes fifth in our list of what is the most expensive NFT. Just like CryptoPunk #5822, CryptoPunk #7523 is also a rare alien. It has a medial mask attribute which gave it a unique topicality during the Covid-influenced times, and that is why it was sold for $11.8 million at the Sotheby’s “Natively Digital” auction. The NFT was purchased by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder at DraftKings.
“I really wanted this particular CryptoPunk,” said Meckenzie after the purchase. “It is part of the alien collection, which is the rarest of the punks, and the only alien that has a mask. I thought it was symbolic of Covid and the popularization of NFTs.”
#6: TPunk #3442: $10.5 Million
The success of the CryptoPunks has fueled the emergence of CryptoPunks-related NFT projects, and some of the most expensive NFT assets. Every blockchain network that has NFTs has its version of Punks, including Solana, Algorand, and Stacks.
While TPunks don’t sell for much, TPunk #3442 was sold for 120 TRX or $10.5 million in August. At the time of writing, the collection had a floor price of $27.09. The NFT was purchased by Justin Sun, a Tron co-founder. Sun later stated that he donated the NFT to APENFT, a project based on Tron that is tokenizing artwork on the blockchain.
#7: What is the Most Expensive NFT Sold: CryptoPunk #4156: $10.26 Million
CryptoPunk #4156 had to feature in our list of what is the most expensive NFT. Other than being one of the most expensive NFT that changed hands in December 2021, this NFT has another interesting angle, it was sold by an individual who became popular in the crypto space via his pseudonym but rejected his NFT namesake.
Punk 4156 first became popular in the NFT world for purchasing the NFT for ETH worth $1.25 million in February 2021. Artist Beeple went ahead to use the image in one of his artworks. Punk 4156 became popular for becoming a thought leader in the NFT space. He also launched Nouns, an NFT project whose focus is to build an open-source IP. Punk 4156 managed to resell the NFT for 8X in USD value within a year.
#8: CryptoPunk #5577: $7.7 Million
This was the second-highest CryptoPunk ape to be sold, hence, it had to feature in our list of what is the most expensive NFT. CryptoPunk #5577 was sold in February 2022 for 2,501 ETH, which was worth $7.7 million at that time. The Punk has a cowboy hat and it was purchased by Robert Leshner, the CEO of Compound Finance.
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