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Non-fungible tokens are unique and non-exchangeable units of data stored using blockchain technology. They come in all shapes and sizes, the most common being collectibles, digital art, event tickets, and in-game currency. Some of these virtual assets are sold for millions of dollars. Read on to find out what the most expensive NFTs are and how much they sold for.
15. Beeple’s ‘Crossroad’ – $6.6 million
Designed in response to the 2020 presidential election, this piece depicts former President Donald Trump lying flat on his stomach with derogatory words splattered all over his body. The digital artwork, which would change depending on the election results, was sold in February 2021 for $6.6 million through the Nifty Gateway marketplace.
14. ‘CryptoPunk 8857’ By Larva Labs – $6.63 Million
“CryptoPunk 8857” is one of the 88 Zombie Punks created by the software company New York, and it is an impressive example of return on investment. It was bought in September 2021 for 2,000 Ethereum, then worth $6.63 million. It was last sold for $1,717 in May 2018, Decrypt reported.
13. ‘Right Click and Save as Man’ by XCOPY – $7.09 Million
The price for this exploration of “death, dystopia and apathy” skyrocketed from $174,000 paid last February to $7.09 million in December 2021, when Snoop Dogg allegedly bought it under his pseudonym Cozomo de’ Medici, Decrypt reported.
12. ‘Ringers #109’ by Dmitri Cherniak – $7.12 million
“Ringers #109” is an Ethereum-based project created on the Art Blocks platform. It is a generative piece that is randomly generated based on the collector’s style choice prior to purchase. According to the current listing on NFTGates where you can buy a cool $6.89 million, the resulting piece can be a static image, a 3D model or an interactive experience.
11. ‘CryptoPunk 7804’ By Larva Labs – $7.57 Million
In plain sight, “CryptoPunk 7804” can look just like any other pixelated face produced by Larva Labs. However, if you look closely, it has some features that make it unique. The now famous Alien Punk has small sunglasses, a cap that faces forward and a pipe in his mouth. It was sold in March 2021 for $7.57 million.
10. ‘CryptoPunk 3100’ By Larva Labs – $7.58 Million
At this point, are you even surprised that there is yet another CryptoPunk on this list? This piece is the third of nine Alien punks sold for a hefty price tag. The feature that makes it unique is the blue and white headband. “CryptoPunk 3100” sold for $7.58 million and was relisted for $140.9 million.
9. ‘CryptoPunk 5577’ By Larva Labs – $7.7 Million
Robert Leshner, CEO of Compound Finance, is said to have been the buyer of this NFT – an Ape Punk with a cowboy hat. It sold for 2,501 Ethereum earlier this year, which was worth $7.7 million.
8. ‘CryptoPunk 4156’ By Larva Labs – $10.3 Million
Number 4156 is an Ape Punk with a bandana that sold for 2,500 ethereum, which Benzinga said was worth $10,315,300 at the time. The sale closed in December 2021.
7. Tpunk #3442 by Tron – $10.5 Million
Created to help content creators monetize their work, the Tron blockchain created this CryptoPunk knockoff and sold it to Tron co-founder Justin Sun, according to Decrypt. Sun “donated the NFT to a Tron-based project that will tokenize artworks on the blockchain,” Decrypt reported.
6. ‘CryptoPunk 7523’ By Larva Labs – $11.75 Million
While Larva Labs has launched tens of thousands of pixel art collectible characters like “CryptoPunk 7523,” this piece is one of the most expensive to date. It sold for $11.75 million at the Sotheby’s auction last June. This Alien Punk has a knit hat, earring and medical mask to keep up with the times.
5. ‘CryptoPunk 5822’ By Larva Labs – $23.7 Million
This Alien Punk NFT from Larva Labs sold for 8,000 Ethereum, which was worth $23.7 million. The same buyer bought another Punk for 99.9 ETH – a bargain at the equivalent of $327.19 at the current exchange rate.
4. Beeple’s ‘Human One’ – $28.9 Million
A “bunch of TVs on rolls” inspired the artist known as Beeple to combine the sets in a four-screen box of wood and metal for his first NFT work, which Christie’s auctioned last November. The screens continuously show an avatar Beeple created to tell a story he hasn’t quite figured out yet. It doesn’t matter – Beeple told Christie’s that he considers “Human One” a lifelong project. He will update it regularly so that the collectors get a piece that they can find new meaning in as the years go by.
3. Pak’s ‘Clock’ – $52.7 Million
The second highest prize for an NFT was $52.7 million for a joint project by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the artist known as Pak, created to support Assange’s legal defense. The work, which consists of a digital counter that tracks the number of days Assange has spent in prison, was purchased by a blockchain-based activist collective known as AssangeDAO, according to Wired. Pak donated the purchase price to the Wau Holland Stiftung Moral Courage Project to offset Assange’s legal bills, Decrypt reported.
2. ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ by Beeple – $69.3 million
Until recently, Beeple the record for the most expensive NFT ever sold. His piece “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” a collage of 5,000 digital artworks he’s created since 2007, sold for $69.3 million at an online auction by Christie’s — the highest price ever for a piece of digital artwork, reported The New York Times at the time. It was bought by Vignesh Sundaresan – aka MetaKovan – who said he would have paid even more. Sundaresan surpassed Tron founder Justin Sun by more than $9 million, according to Decrypt.
1. Pak’s ‘The Merge’ – $91.8 million
Pak’s second work on this list takes the top spot as the world’s most expensive NFT. It is an open edition with three masses, or dots, on a black background that was sold in “units of mass” over a 48-hour period, at prices increasing every six hours. Like “Clock,” “The Merge” has multiple owners — about 28,000, according to iTechPost, who bought more than half a million units of the piece.
Investing in collectibles is nothing new, but NFTs have certainly given this practice new meaning. The hype about these virtual assets probably isn’t going away anytime soon, so we can expect to see more of these pieces selling for astronomical prices in the future.
Good to know
The main characteristics that generate value in the NFT environment are scarcity, usability and tangibility.
Daniela Rivera-Herrera contributed reporting for this article.
Information is correct from May 18, 2022†
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About the author
Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications from Centenary University, both in New Jersey.