Let’s take a look at the most expensive NFTs up-to-date
People spent over $2 billion on NFTs during the first three months of 2021. The increase compared to the last quarter of 2020 is incredible – 2,050%. The prices of NFT artwork and collectibles increased as well since the demand is unprecedented.
1. Beeple “Everydays – The First 5000 Days” – $69 million
So far, no one can beat the stunning record of “Everydays” collage. In March 2021, Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer also known as Beeple, sold his artwork set at the 255-year-old auction house Christie’s. The famous digital art project has been going on incessantly for over fourteen years now. As comes from the name, the artist creates and publishes a new digital image every single day. Some of his artworks illustrate the hottest socio-economic topics, others are inspired by popular movie characters, while many early sketches are simple experiments with different artistic tools and techniques. Most images have sci-fi settings, feature grotesque figures, and are thought-provoking. Taken in retrospect, the artworks show the evolution of both Winkelmann as an artist and the larger society throughout those years. The buyer of the $69-million NFT Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as MetaKovan, admitted he was ready to bid even more as he was sure that moment was a historic turning point for all digital art.
2. CryptoPunk #7523 – $11.75 million
CryptoPunks remain the most popular NFT collectibles ever. Since they started trading, the unique characters have collectively been sold for over 232,000 ETH, equating to roughly $573 million USD. In 2020, a single CryptoPunk was priced on average 22 ETH, or around $54,000 USD. In June, CryptoPunk labelled “Covid Alien” (the only alien wearing a mask) was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $11.75 million. It added up to the list of record sales from Larva Labs’ first NFT collection.
This May, the CryptoPunks collection of 9 NFTs from Larva Lab founders was sold at the Christie’s auction for nearly $17 million. Thus, each Punk from that set was worth about $1.9 million. Before that, two individual CryptoPunks characters were sold for over $7.5 million each. Both CryptoPunk #3100 and #7804 are super-rare Aliens. It’s been recently reported that a single anonymous buyer has already accumulated more than 1% (100 characters) of the entire CryptoPunks collection. This Ethereum whale has spent over US$6 million on the spectacular collection.
3. Beeple “Crossroads” – $6.6 million
Another expensive artwork by Mike Winkelmann was a part of Beeple’s first NFT sale on Nifty Gateway. The unique nature of this 10-second video clip NFT was that the person buying the piece did not know what the final artwork would be. There were two variants created depending on the US presidential election outcome. As Joe Biden won, the clip shows the overthrown figure of Donald Trump covered in derogatory inscriptions lying on the ground. If the outcome had been the opposite, the picture would have presented the crowned former president walking in flames. The artwork was initially bought in October 2020 by Miami-based art collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile for almost $67,000. The NFT was later resold to the user Delphina Leucas. Beeple told Business Insider that the platform’s 10% royalty fee allowed him to make more off the resale than the original purchase.
4. Beeple “Ocean Front” – $6 million
Beeple’s environment-themed artwork is a reminder of what the world will become if climate change is not prevented. The artist promised to give the auctioned money to the non-profit Open Earth Foundation which is focused on building a global and digitally integrated climate accounting system to track progress on the Paris Agreement. The animated image was bought by the famous NFT collector Justin Sun, the founder of the cryptocurrency platform TRON. He owns four more NFTs from the “Everydays” series by Beeple.
5. Sir Tim Berners Lee, World Wide Web Source Code – $5.4 million
The historical piece of software code which brought people the Internet was sold for $5.4 million in the form of an NFT, after the program had been on sale for a week at Sotheby’s in New York. The lot included the original file with a timestamp and signature, along with an animated visualisation of the source code, a digital poster with the complete code and an essay by the British computer scientist about the code. The artifacts will all be digitally signed by the Internet pioneer. The auction for the NFT — titled “This Changed Everything” — started with a bidding price of $1,000.
6. Edward Snowden “Stay Free” – $5.4 million
In April, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s NFT was sold for over $5 million while the proceeds were donated to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. The work includes all the pages of a landmark court decision ruling the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance violated the law, put in a collage. The image of Snowden himself is overlaid upon the court decision text and signed by the iconic exiled whistleblower. His entrance to the NFT scene is a powerful reminder that decentralisation and cryptography can safeguard press freedom and serve the public in democratic societies.
7. Mad Dog Jones “Replicator” – $4.1 million
Michah Dowbak’s (also known as Mad Dog Jones) Replicator is a digital image of a photocopier housed in a downtown old-fashioned Los Angeles office. This piece of equipment was once the masterpiece of cutting-edge technologies, but now it’s increasingly replaced by newer machines and seems quite obsolete as well as other office details. However, the reason why the artwork was sold at such a high price is not pure nostalgia of office workers. The artist utilises the mechanics of the smart contract embedded in the NFT to create a self-generating Genesis piece which will continue to create new, discrete NFTs every month over the course of approximately one year. The same principle used in that old photocopier is now applied to the most innovative tech. In addition, the inherent algorithm can also jam. The jam creates a unique “Jam Artwork,” which will stop a generation from continuing to replicate, curbing exponential growth. Each generation may have up to three unique “jam” pieces. The sale has made Mad Dog Jones the most expensive living Canadian artist. The buyer of the work now possesses all subsequent replicants or jams from generation one.
8. Doge meme – $4 million
The famous image of an excited-looking Shiba Inu dog that has recently become the icon for the meme crypto Doge was sold for $4 million at the auction site Zora. The image was certified by the internet database Know Your Meme to make sure it was sold by the rightful owner. The first sale was initiated by Atsuko Sato, the owner of Kabosu – the dog pictured, who took the famous photo for her daily blog.
9. Jack Dorsey “The first tweet” – $2.9 million
The founder of Tweeter sold a piece of the history of the network in the form of NFT. A few simple words “just setting up my twttr” were sold on the online auction platform Valuables. The NFT was bought by Malaysian Sina Estavi, CEO of Bridge Oracle, who believes the legendary digital asset will only appreciate with time.
10. Xcopy “Death Dip” – $1.7 million
London based artist XCOPY explores death, dystopia and apathy through distorted visual loops. His flashing artwork was sold for 1,000 ETH via SuperRare DApp. Since the moment of sale, Ethereum has grown twofold, so the artwork would cost about $3.1 million now. The artist is a respectable pioneer who validated and raised up cryptoart since its very beginnings. The new owner has a nickname 4156 Collection after their favorite Ape CryptoPunk. They have plans to present cryptoart they own at a separate website in future.