The 15 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold – Decrypt

By Stephen Graves, Daniel Phillips and Andrew Hayward
Feb 21, 2022Feb 21, 2022
10 min learn
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are altering the best way we take into consideration artwork—and buyers are beginning to take discover.
Within the final 12 months, NFTs have shot to the forefront of the crypto area. The cryptographically-unique tokens make it potential to create real-world shortage for digital objects, and artists have seized on the chance introduced by the know-how.
The NFT market exploded in 2021, producing some $25 billion price of buying and selling quantity, and the momentum hasn’t slowed to this point this 12 months. This record collects the 15 priciest single-NFT gross sales to this point (in U.S. {dollars}), starting from Beeple’s single-edition items to an array of CryptoPunks avatars—all of which have occurred during the last 12 months, as of this writing.
Test again usually, as we’ll be updating this record with new entries as much more jaw-dropping NFT gross sales make headlines.
The file for the costliest NFT ever offered (and one of the vital costly artworks ever offered) goes to EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS. The art work, created by famed digital artist Mike "Beeple" Winkelmann, offered for $69.3 million at Christie's—the primary time that the venerable public sale home has ever offered a purely digital art work.
The NFT represents a collage of 5,000 of Beeple's earlier artworks, demonstrating his improvement as an artist over the course of his profession.
It was bought by Vignesh "Metakovan" Sundaresan, who initially remained pseudonymous, however later revealed his identification. “The purpose was to point out Indians and folks of coloration that they, too, may very well be patrons, that crypto was an equalizing energy between the West and the Relaxation, and that the worldwide south was rising,” Metakovan defined.
The second-highest bidder on the piece was none aside from Tron CEO and founder Justin Solar, who bid a whopping $60.2 million earlier than getting sniped on the final second by Sundaresan.
Right here’s a collision of some scorching trade subjects: NFTs, decentralized autonomous organizations (or DAOs), and crypto-fueled fundraising. Clock is an NFT created by artist Pak, who is understood for utilizing novel token fashions and gamification to gasoline his well-liked NFT tasks.
The dynamic NFT exhibits the entire variety of days since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was imprisoned. AssangeDAO, which was shaped to boost funds for his authorized protection, finally raised and bid simply over 16,593 ETH ($52.7 million) to buy the NFT. Pak then donated the funds to the Wau Holland Stiftung Ethical Braveness Venture to help in Assange’s protection.
Pak additionally made a giant splash in December 2021 with the launch of Merge, an NFT undertaking that generated $91.8 million throughout its sale interval—though it’s not a single NFT. Practically 29,000 patrons every obtained a dynamic NFT based mostly on the variety of “mass items” they bought, and people may be mixed by buying different NFTs from the undertaking.
Beeple holds the highest spot on this record, however he’s no one-hit marvel within the NFT world. In late 2021, he unveiled his newest main creation, HUMAN ONE, a sculpture with digital screens on all sides that depicts an individual in a spacesuit strolling by way of an ever-changing atmosphere.
It’s a bodily/digital hybrid piece that displays Beeple’s rising inventive ambitions past the purely digital canvas—nevertheless it additionally comes with an NFT deed of possession included. HUMAN ONE secured a hammer value of $25 million at Christie’s public sale in November 2021, however landed at $28.9 million as soon as all charges had been added. Ryan Zurrer, previously enterprise accomplice at Polychain Capital, had the profitable bid.
Get used to seeing these pixelated faces: CryptoPunks make up numerous the entries on this record. The ten,000 Ethereum-based avatars had been minted 2017 and given away totally free by Larva Labs, a pair of builders from Canada.
Since that inauspicious begin, they’ve turn out to be the O.G. of NFT profile image tasks, inspiring a complete trade of followers—together with the Bored Ape Yacht Membership. Alongside the best way, they’ve generated over $2 billion price of buying and selling quantity, and yielded dozens of gross sales over the million-dollar mark—most notably, this one.
CryptoPunk #5822 offered for $23.7 million price of ETH in February 2022. The alien avatar sort is the rarest of the bunch, with solely 9 of them in your complete assortment, and this one offered to Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of cloud blockchain infrastructure agency Chain.
This CryptoPunks NFT was increased up on our record till not too long ago, with the above Punk sale doubling the earlier undertaking file. Like that one, CryptoPunk #7523 can be a uncommon alien. Its medical masks attribute additionally offers it a novel topicality in these COVID-influenced instances, one cause why it was snapped up in Sotheby's "Natively Digital" public sale for a whopping $11.8 million by DraftKings' largest shareholder, Shalom Meckenzie.
“I actually wished this explicit CryptoPunk,” Meckenzie informed Decrypt. “It’s a part of the alien assortment, which is the rarest of the punks, and the one alien that has a masks. I believed it was symbolic of Covid and the popularization of NFTs.”
The success of CryptoPunks has fueled an array of knock-offs, and nearly each blockchain platform that has NFTs has a model of Punks—from Solana to Stacks, Algorand, and past.
Even Tron has its personal CryptoPunks copycat, and whereas TPunks NFTs sometimes don’t promote for a lot—the cheapest-available is simply $130 as of this writing—this one specifically netted an infinite sale. TPunk #3442 offered for 120 million TRX, or $10.5 million price, in August, and it went to Tron co-founder Justin Solar.
Did he really want to pay $10.5 million for this TPunk? Given the value of the others, in all probability not. However the man is swimming in TRX and it seems that he wished to make a press release amid the surging NFT market on the time. And that he did. Solar mentioned that he donated the NFT to APENFT, a Tron-based undertaking that’s tokenizing art work on the blockchain.
Past the eye-popping sale value for CryptoPunk #4156, which modified arms in December 2021, there’s an much more fascinating angle: it was offered by somebody who grew to become well-known within the crypto world through his pseudonym, however then rejected his NFT namesake.
Punk 4156 first grew to become notable within the burgeoning NFT trade for getting the NFT for a then-record-breaking $1.25 million price of ETH in February 2021—Beeple even used the picture in a chunk of his artwork. However then 4156 gained reputation by turning into a thought chief within the area, and finally launching Nouns, an NFT undertaking that’s constructing open-source IP.
Over the course of the 12 months, 4156 grew to become disillusioned with CryptoPunks because of the creators’ dealing with of commercialization rights and makes an attempt to snuff out by-product tasks. Finally, 4156 moved on, promoting the NFT for about 8x the USD worth in lower than a 12 months.
The second-highest CryptoPunks ape sale got here in February 2022 with the sale of CryptoPunk #5577 for two,501 ETH, price $7.7 million on the time. This ape has a cowboy hat and is believed to have been bought by Robert Leshner, CEO of Compound Finance.
Dylan Discipline, the CEO of design software program firm Figma, is behind the sale of the fifth-most costly NFT in historical past—CryptoPunk #7804. The NFT offered for a cool 4,200 ETH in March 2021, on the time price simply over $7.5 million.
One other certainly one of simply 9 alien CryptoPunks, it additionally sports activities three equipment: a ahead cap, shades, and a pipe. Certainly, it's the one alien CryptoPunk to have a pipe or a ahead cap.
We weren't kidding once we mentioned there are loads of CryptoPunks on this record. Yet one more alien Punk, CryptoPunk #3100 sports activities a scarf and offered for 4,200 ETH ($7.51 million) in March 2021.
Ethereum generative artwork undertaking Artwork Blocks had a white scorching second of speculative frenzy within the late summer time and early fall of 2021, with a number of items promoting for hundreds of thousands of {dollars} every as folks noticed effective artwork potential within the assortment.
Ringers, by artist Dmitri Cherniak, has been one of the vital helpful tasks of the bunch, together with Tyler Hobbs’ Fidenza line. The most important Artwork Blocks sale to this point went to Ringers #109, which was bought for two,100 ETH or $7.12 million in early October 2021. It was picked up by Starry Night time Capital, a $100 million NFT funding fund co-founded by Three Arrows Capital and pseudonymous collector Vincent Van Dough.
XCOPY’s work “explores loss of life, dystopia, and apathy by way of distorted visible loops,” per his SuperRare profile, nevertheless it additionally typically displays the NFT scene itself—and the artist’s 1:1 animated items have turn out to be holy grails for critical collectors.
Proper-Click on and Save As Man references a standard critique of NFT art work—that anybody can simply save a duplicate of a picture—with a throbbing, glitchy avatar you could simply think about is somebody complaining about NFTs on social media. It offered for practically $7.1 million in December 2021, up from the earlier sale value of $174,000 in February of the identical 12 months.
Proper-click and Save As man circa 2018
They mentioned it at $100 they'll nonetheless say it at $100,000 #cryptoart
— XCOPY 🏴 (@XCOPYART) August 19, 2020

Fascinating twist: the NFT was bought by Cozomo de’ Medici, which rapper Snoop Dogg has claimed is his pseudonymous, NFT-collecting alter ego. Cozomo beforehand bought one other XCOPY piece for $3.9 million in September 2021.
CROSSROAD is an NFT created by acclaimed digital artist Beeple. It options anti-Trump messaging, and an enlarged Donald Trump-like determine laying in a defeated heap with profanities written throughout his bare physique. It didn't all the time seem like that, although; the art work was designed to alter based mostly on the result of the 2020 election. Had Trump received, it might've depicted him carrying a crown and striding by way of flames.
By @beeple
The #1/1 from beeple's first NG drop has simply resold on the secondary marketplace for $6.6 million.
Historical past has simply been made.
Congrats to beeple and naturally to @pablorfraile for the sale.
— Nifty Gateway (@niftygateway) February 25, 2021

Nifty Gateway, a well-liked market for digital collectibles, brokered the $6.66 million sale of the NFT between its authentic proprietor (Twitter person Pablorfraile) and an nameless purchaser.
The NFT was offered simply 4 months after it was initially bought, at roughly 10x its authentic value.
Right here’s one more CryptoPunks NFT that simply barely made the minimize at a sale value of about $6.63 million (or 2,000 ETH) in September 2021. CryptoPunk #8857 is a zombie avatar with 3D red-and-blue glasses, and this NFT was beforehand offered for simply $1,717 in Could 2018.
Right here’s one other dear XCOPY that has a title that feels proper at house within the crypto world. This pulsing, animated picture offered for practically $6.2 million (1,630 ETH) in January 2022, only a few months after its earlier sale at $2.9 million (then 1,000 ETH).


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