With a vocabulary of its own, the world of NFTs can be a quagmire albeit a booming quagmire. NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens have been the hottest trend for the past few years. What are they though?
A NFT can be described as a cryptographic token that defines an asset uniquely. Still confused about what they are? Take a look at our blog on NFTs for a 101 on everything you need to know to understand what these lucrative new digital assets are.
The past year saw a massive leap both in market capital and infrastructure development with regard to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. This exponential growth in 2021 led to the rise of NFTs and caught the attention of both the crypto community and the mainstream or traditional art collectors as well.
With the digital space being reshaped by blockchain, the art market has monetarily witnessed a meteoric rise. Let us take a closer look at five of the most expensive NFTs sold to date.
1. The Merge by Pak – $91.8 million
Having made almost $100 million in December 2021, The Merge by artist Pak became the most expensive NFT to ever be sold. It was bought by 28,983 collectors, allegedly making Pak the most expensive living artist in the world.
But what’s so special about it? According to the listing on Nifty Gateway, The Merge is an unusual dynamic NFT project created on an infinite canvas that has the ability to expand over time. The listing reads, “You may acquire as many mass units as you desire during the 48 hours sale. You’ll get a dynamic NFT with your accumulated mass.” With each “mass” being sold to its highest bidder, this artwork is an art collection in itself!
2. Everydays: the First 5000 Days by Beeple – $69.3 million
An NFT auction at Christie’s? You better believe it’s special. Starting at an initial bid of roughly $100 by traditional customers, this artwork quickly caught the attention of the crypto art community who sky-rocketed the bid to more than $1 million within the hour!
What makes it so interesting? Starting from 2007, American digital artist Michael Winkelmann known professionally as Beeple, pledged to create one piece of art every day. The artwork was completed in February 2021 and ‘The First 5000 Days’ went on to become one of the most expensive NFTs sold to date and paved the way for mainstream audiences to explore non-fungible assets.
Fun fact: this artwork was bought by Vignesh ‘MetaKovan’ Sundaresan — the pseudonymous founder of Metapurse, an NFT investment fund. Sundaresan then made the artwork accessible for everyone to download! Why? Because he believes in free information and equitable distribution of access!
3. Clock by Pak and Julian Assange – $69.3 million
Clock, a non-fungible token created by artist Pak and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a ticking clock that was sold for over $69.3 million in February 2022. It displays a digital clock counting the days of Assange’s imprisonment at London’s Belmarsh Prison, where he was being held awaiting extradition to the United States. The goal of this NFT was to raise funds for Assange’s legal defense and was ultimately purchased by AssangeDAO — a collection of over 10,000 people pooling their money to purchase the NFT and support Assange.
Assange is said to be one of the latest controversial figures to benefit from a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) set up to support his cause, bypassing traditional fundraising sites and scrutiny. Coincidentally, back in April 2021, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden too was able to raise $5.4 million by selling an NFT featuring his own face made from pages of a United States appeals court decision.
4. CryptoPunk #5822 — $23.7 million
This, now popular, NFT created by the Larva Labs studio went for $23.7 million in February 2022. Always trending in the “cryptosphere” this series is here to stay. The sale of CryptoPunk #5822 serves as the biggest CryptoPunks NFT purchase in history till date and smashed the previous record sale of the “COVID Alien” CryptoPunk #7523 at Sotheby’s “Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale” back in June, 2021.
Inspired by the London punk scenes, the cyberpunk movement and electronic music artists like Daft Punk, this experimental project, CryptoPunks, is a non-fungible token collection on the ethereum blockchain. The project started out in June 2017 by a two-person team called the Larva Labs studio consisting of Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson. More recently, as reported by Elliptic, “a CryptoPunk NFT (#5364) worth approximately $200,000 has also been sent to the Ukrainian government’s Ethereum account” to support their cause in the war against Russia.
5. Crossroad by Beeple – $6.6 million
Artwork credit: Beeple. Crossroad #1/1, The First Drop Collection, 2020. Courtesy Nifty Gateway.
Beeple’s Crossroad is a short, 10-second moving image and sold for $6.6 million USD in December 2020. It features a satirical take on the former US President Donald Trump lying on a field while bystanders ignore him. Artist Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple’s artworks are considered to provide his audience with relevant perspectives that make him specially respected by the crypto art community.
And with that we conclude our round up of the top 5 most expensive NFTs till date. It may be safe to say that the growing popularity of NFTs, aside blockchain and marketplace technicalities, can also be attributed to it being paletted by a larger, more dynamic audience because of its language and accessibility. We’re not sure what the future holds, but it looks hopeful for now.