You can see but never touch them. They’ll cost you a fortune but still won’t be yours. Have you guessed them already? They are your favorite non-fungible tokens, NFTs.
Since Ethereum changed the game with smart contracts, the possibilities haven’t just been limitless but unimaginable, to say the least. Who’d have thought a home you would never be able to enter physically could cost more than the real home that shelters you from the elements, or a $69m art piece you can neither touch nor share. One wouldn’t be so wrong to say NFTs marked the start of the ‘future’.
What are NFTs and why do they cost a fortune?
NFTs are crypto tokens on a smart contract blockchain used to represent a host of unique digital assets. NFTs can simply be any type of art that can be digitized or sufficiently represented digitally, this could be music, art, video game relics, the list goes on. So how do these digital creations get backed with value. Non-fungible tokens mostly get their value based on their physical representation and rarity, meaning an NFT with great value can be identified by its founding fathers and its availability.
Additionally, NFTs are valued based on the hype around them, and hype equals to total sales volume. So, to pump the value of an NFT, its investors or founding fathers often find themselves engaging in elaborate Wash trading schemes. This is simply when investors buy and sell to themselves, moving funds around to create an illusion of high activity and trade volume. The unaware trader views this and presumes that there’s good traffic surrounding that collection, thereby falling for the scam.
NFTs sprung to fame in 2021, and that same year they rapidly took a huge chunk of the global market, being valued at $15.70b. Here we would share a list of the most expensive NFTs sold, helping to push its global figures.
Merge — $91.8 million
At first place we present this amazing art by Pak, Merge. What’s peculiar about this minimalist art is its kinetic ability. Pak’s Merge is unique as it grows over time. Yes, Art-in-motion. The spherical shaped mass is ever expanding based on its number of buyers. Merge started as 3 dots on a black background, and as purchases of its mass increased, so did its size. Merge’s sale began on December 21, 2021, for a 48-hour period. With value increasing exponentially with sales, it hit a total of $91m, breaking the digital art sales record.
Who is Pak? A digital artist, crypto enthusiast, and programmer with an unknown identity. Some say it might be a team. But no one really knows.
Everydays: the First 5,000 Days — $69.3 million
Even after being knocked off the #1 spot, this NFT is still regarded as a game changer, after spending 8 months as the most expensive NFT. Everydays: the First 5,000 Days is a massive mashup of 5000 artistic pieces by graphic designer, Mike Winkelmann or Beeple. In 2007 Mike set a target to create an art piece every day, since then he’s created 5000 pieces. In February 2021, it was eventually sold for a whopping $69.3m.
Clocks — $52.74 million
In a bid to raise funds for the defense of renowned activist and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, following his imprisonment in early 2019, Clocks was created. Pak features on this one as one of the creators with Julian Assange himself. Clock displays the days Assange has spent in jail awaiting trial. It was eventually sold for 16,953 ETH ($52.74 million) in February 2022
Human One — $28.9 million
An innovative piece of art. Human One was created to evolve over time by giving remote access solely to Mike Winkelmann who updates it periodically. This 3-dimensional art piece which is displayed using chromed-out LED screens can be classified as a digital sculpture, a living NFT. Human one depicts an astronaut journeying through what seems to be an earth-like planet. In November 2021 Human One was sold at Christie’s for $28.9 million.
And it’s only right at this point I introduce the Crypto Punks NFT.
CryptoPunk #5822 — $23.7m
Released in June 2017, Crypto Punks is a collection of 10,000 uniquely generated pixelated art. It was created by Larva Labs, designed by John Watkinson & Matt Hall. The first sale of the year, #5822 broke the crypto punks record. #5822 is an extremely rare piece with only 8 other pieces like it, especially with its 333 bandana. #5822 was sold in February 2022 for 8,000 ETH.
CryptoPunk #7523 — $11.75m
The next Crypto Punk on the list is #7523. Released during the pandemic, its price was heavily influenced by COVID as it appears to be the only Crypto Punk with a nose mask. Yes, #7523 is the only Crypto punk following COVID precautions. In June 2021 it was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $11.75m.
CryptoPunk #4156 — $10.26m
So far, it’s clear the crypto punk collection is clearly winning the NFT game. The third on this list from its collection is #4156. The Bandana attribute comes to play a part in the value of this crypto punk, sharing it with the above, #5822. The number, 4156 was bought in February 2021 for $1.25m and later sold for $10.26m in December of the same year.
CryptoPunk #3100 — $7.67m
The penultimate Crypto Punk on this list is #3100. Sold on March 11, 2021, a day after the last Crypto Punk on the list, #7804. It won’t be so wrong to say the value of Crypto Punks are related to head wear. Not exactly a bandana in this case but #3100 appears to be sporting a headband, a rare crypto punks feature.
CryptoPunk #7804 — $7.6m
The last Crypto Punk on the list goes to #7804. Referred to as the digital Mona Lisa by former owner and Figma CEO, Dylan Field. #7804 was later sold for $7.57 million in March 2021.
Yes, that’s the end of Crypto Punks on this list..
Beeple’s Crossroads — $6.6 million
Ending the reign of Crypto Punks is Beeple again. This time with a controversial art piece titled, Crossroads. Said to be a response to the 2020 Presidential elections in the United States, Crossroads appears to feature what seems to be former United States President, Donald Trump. Crossroads was sold on the 21st of February 2021 for $6.6 million.
Since the introduction of cryptocurrencies most of the world have prepared for the digital age. Originally, items of great worth were valued based on their physical characteristics, but the digital age is here and the opposite is the case. NFTs take this idea a bit further as various digital assets have values many would perfectly describe as a fortune, and the fact is, NFTs are here to stay. We have revealed to you the most expensive NFTs sold till date, keep watch for an updated list.