Even though it’s well into 2022, it seems that the NFT obsession is here to stay. Non-fungible tokens, including cat memes, pixelated apes, popular NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and a ton—and we do mean a ton—of punk-style avatars—have continued to attract investment and collection dollars from wealthy investors and collectors.
In spite of recent declines in NFT prices, sales are actually on track to top last year’s total and reach a total of $90 billion by the end of 2022.
But what is it that’s actually driving the market and motivating people to spend tens of millions of dollars on NFTs? Here is a list of the top 10 most costly NFTs ever sold, so you can check it out for yourself
1. The Merge – $91.8 million
The most expensive NFT in history was actually purchased in December of last year for a staggering $91.8 million. The Merge was produced by well-known digital artist Pak, whose works have brought in more than $350 million. It was purchased for around $92 million by 28,983 participants who contributed a total of 312,000 shares (each of which is an NFT). Given that the initial cost of each of these machines was $575 and that it then increased by $25 every six hours, that is quite astounding. In the end, The Merge has elevated Pak beyond Jeff Koon’s Rabbit from 1986, which sold for $91 million, to become the most valuable living artist in history.
2. The First 5000 Days – $69.3 million
The world of NFT art truly destroyed it last year, breaking record after record. Digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann, who shot to fame after selling a collage of 5000 images created one per day for more than thirteen years and named “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” at Christie’s first-ever digital art auction in March 2021, helped drive the market to its all-time high. The Metapurse NFT project’s founder, Vignesh Sundaresan, commonly known as MetaKovan, a Singapore-based crypto investor, purchased the NFT.
Christie’s has characterized it “The individual pieces are arranged in a loose chronological order; zooming in shows images that are alternately magical, grotesque, ludicrous, deeply personal, and reflective of contemporary events. The dread and fixation humanity has with technology, the yearning for and resentment of money, and the present political turmoil in America are recurring themes.” Everydays is not only the second most expensive NFT sold to date but also the fourth most expensive living artist’s work ever to be sold at auction.
3. Clock – $52.7 million
The third most expensive NFT ever sold separates out from the other tokens on this list since it was created to support a charitable organization. The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Pak jointly created a non-fungible token called “Clock” that shows a digital counter of the number of days Assange has spent imprisoned at London’s Belmarsh Prison, where he is currently being held in anticipation of his extradition to the US on a number of espionage-related charges. It was made to gather money for Assange’s defense and was sold at auction for the equivalent of $52.7 million in February 2022 to AssangeDAO, a decentralized organization (DAO) founded to crowdfund the sale and with over 10.000 Assange supporters. The Time NFT is a component of the Censored NFT collection, which includes around 29,000 tokenized messages created by project buyers. They are accessible through OpenSea. The Wau Holland Foundation, which supports Assange’s defense, was one of the pro-freedom organizations that Assange and Pak selected to receive the revenues from this NFT series. This type of NFT endeavor has already been offered for auction, with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden raising $5.4 million by selling an NFT constructed from the pages of a US appeals court judgment that featured his own face the previous year.
4. HUMAN ONE – $28.9 million
Beeple, who appears to have a knack for creating NFTs in the millions, is back on our list once more, and HUMAN ONE is no different. Last year, this non-fungible token fetched a staggering $28.9 million at a Christie’s auction. It’s understandable why the auctioneer referred to the piece as a “triumphant follow-up to the artist’s infamous EVERYDAYS: The First 5000 Days.” The dynamic NFT for the kinetic video sculpture HUMAN ONE, which Beeple refers to as “the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse,” is also dynamic. An astronaut who appears to be perpetually walking through constantly-changing landscapes is projected on each of the four walls of the 4-by-4-foot artwork, which is a mix of physical and digital technology. Additionally, HUMAN ONE contains a custom smart contract that enables Beeple to keep remote control over the content being shown. As a result, unlike other NFTs, HUMAN ONE is a work of digital art that is constantly “in progress,” making the hefty price tag justified.
5. CryptoPunk #5822 – $23.7 million
The CryptoPunks are unquestionably among the top of the most popular tokens, regularly selling for record-breaking prices, making them one of the NFT collections that have attained cult-like status. The concept, which Larva Labs introduced in 2017, was influenced by the London punk scene, cyberpunk, and electronic music pioneers like Daft Punk. CryptoPunk #5822 comes in at the top of the list of most costly CryptoPunks and ranks fifth on the list of most valued NFTs. In February of this year, the token was sold for almost $23.7 million, and there seems to be a valid explanation for the high price: CryptoPunk #5822 is one of the series’ rarest alien editions, of which only 9 exist out of the 10,000 punks that were made. Additionally, this token has a bandana and is one of 333 in total. The CEO of Chain, Deepak Thapliyal, bought the NFT. We can anticipate that it will continue to be one of the most expensive NFTs available considering how uncommon it is.
6. Alien Cryptopunk #7523 – $11.75 million
Alien CryptoPunk #7523 has risen to the sixth spot among the most expensive NFTs ever sold because they are a rare commodity in the cryptocurrency industry. One of only nine Alien punks produced by Larva Labs, he has unique accessories such as an earring (2459 punks own one), a knit cap (419 punks own one), and a medical mask (175 punks have this). CryptoPunk #7523, also known as “Covid Alien,” was acquired by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest stakeholder of DraftKings.
7. TPunk #3442 – $10.5 million
We’ve seen why alien punks are so valuable, but the TPunks are a distinct breed that’s also drawing interest from investors. They are viewed as CryptoPunks in the Tron universe. Although TPunks NFTs normally don’t sell for much, TPunk #3442, which resembles the Joker in particular, sold for $10.5 million at a sale last year. Justin Sun, the co-founder of Tron and a prominent cryptocurrency investor, purchased it. But he did not keep the token; instead, he gave it to the APENFT market.
8. CryptoPunk #4156 – $10.26 million
Another Punk is responsible for this being one of the highest NFT sales to date. CryptoPunk #4156, which sold for $10.26 million last year, is being used this time. The pseudonymous collector Punk4156 decided to sell his collection after growing frustrated with the NFT project and the way Larva Labs handled community outreach, licensing advice, and communication. However, 4156 is still active in the NFT field after becoming well-known for establishing Nouns, an NFT project that creates open-source IP.
9. CryptoPunk #5577 – $7.7 million
Even after the 2021 NFT craze, the desire in CryptoPunks showed no signs of slowing down in 2022, with CryptoPunk #4156 selling for $7.7 million back in February. Robert Leshner, the creator of the Compound DeFi protocol, bought this token. He announced his purchase with a “Yeehaw” tweet as CryptoPunk #5577, which featured a cowboy hat.
10. CryptoPunk #3100 – $7.6 million
Finally, CryptoPunk #3100. The tenth most expensive NFT ever sold is none other than a CryptoPunk who also happens to be one of the rare alien avatars, wearing a white and blue headband. By this point, we already know that CryptoPunks holds a particular place in the hearts of NFT collectors and art lovers worldwide. Because so few other punks wear headbands, CryptoPunk #3100 is even more unique.
Digital art NFTs have unquestionably become one of the best technologies. The current state of NFTs and the current demand are presenting a bright picture in favor of NFTs; nonetheless, a number of issues have a substantial impact on the expansion of NFTs. If you have any NFTs on hand, selling them might bring you a tonne of cash.