In 2023, the most expensive NFTs are represented by various works, from living sculptures and digital artworks to virtual real estate in the metaverse. Today, anyone can create an NFT, even on free platforms. World-famous companies and thousands of private investors invest in NFTs. In 2021, NFT trading volume grew by 43,000%, reaching $26 billion in turnover.
We have compiled a ranking of NFTs that made history due to multi-million dollar transactions. Find out what the most expensive NFTs are, what an NFT stands for, and why digitalization is the future in a crazy new world where a GIF costs more than a Ferrari!
What Is NFT?
NFT (non-fungible token) is a special form of cryptocurrency asset based on blockchain architecture, which became a sensation in 2021. Each NFT token is unique in its nature, so it cannot be replaced equally, like other coins. NFTs guarantee ownership of a meta-object and can act as an analog of a digital signature. NFTs are stored on the blockchain, which is, in simple terms, a kind of database, those all records are publicly available.
There are a few key things to know about the technology itself:
- the most expensive NFT images include artworks, but they can also be collectibles, media and audio files, avatars, memes, skins, etc. In fact, every digital object can become a non-fungible token;
- even the most expensive NFT paintings do not physically exist — they are stored as datasets that are unique to a particular work;
- in 2021, the value of all items sold on the NFT market was approximately $41 billion;
- the boom in digital art is largely due to the artwork ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ by popular artist Mike Winkelman, who became famous as Beeple. The artwork was sold for a shocking $69 million and was considered the most expensive NFT for a long time.
The first popular example of NFTs is CryptoKitties, a collection of artistic images of digital cats used in an Ethereum game. Users can buy, collect, breed, and sell them. NFT, in turn, allows for establishing the origin of a digital object, confirming its uniqueness.
Top 15 Most Expensive NFTs to Know
As mentioned before, NFTs have made waves in the art world with their record-breaking sale prices. Now, let’s take a closer look at the top 15 most expensive NFTs ever sold and explore the fascinating world of digital art and collectibles. Let’s get started!
#15 Jack Dorsey’s First Tweet
Sold for: $2.9M
Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, traded his first Twitter post in the form of an NFT token for $2.9 million. The sale took place through the Valuables trading marketplace, and Hakan Estavi, CEO of Bridge Oracle (BRG), was named as the acquirer.
#14 Replicator by Mad Dog
Sold for: $4.1M
Canadian Mika Doubek created the evolutionary NFT ‘Replicator’ and sold it for $4.1 million. Its peculiarity is that the NFT is made in the form of a printer placed in a night office. This composition includes seven unique generations of artwork. The NFT will produce one new image every month within six months. With each subsequent generation, the number of generations decreases. As a result, the buyer will receive up to 220 more NFTs, which can be resold.
#13 Save Thousands of Lives
Sold for: $4.5M
This is one of the most expensive NFT pictures from Noora Health. The company develops programs, equips, and trains carers in South Asia.
#12 CryptoPunk #5217
Sold for: $5.4M
The avatar in the red hat is the fourth most expensive CryptoPunk from the sensational collection of works by design studio Larva Labs. The artwork was bought by anonymous for 2,250 ETH, which at the current exchange rate at that time amounted to 5.4 million dollars.
#11 Stay Free by Edward Snowden
Sold for: $5.5M
Former NSA and CIA intelligence agent, Edward Snowden, released his own NFT through the Foundation exchange in April 2021. The work consists of scanned pages of the text of a US court order on the illegality of the methods of work of the National Security Agency. The funds received from the token’s sale went to support the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
#10 Ocean Front by Beeple
Sold for: $6M
The oppressive dystopian landscape, personifying the consequences of detrimental climate change, was bought by the founder of the Tron blockchain project, Justin Sun, on the Nifty Gateway platform.
This is not the most expensive NFT, but the artist has promised that he will use the money to solve environmental problems.
#9 A Coin for the Ferryman by Xcopy
Sold for: $6.01М
‘A Coin for the Ferryman’ is one of the first works by the now legendary crypto-artist from London under the pseudonym XCOPY. The artwork entered the rating of the most expensive NFT art of the last year.
#8 Beeple, Crossroad
Sold for: $6.6M
Crossroad is an NFT animation created by the already familiar Mike Winkelmann. The work is timed to coincide with the defeat of Donald Trump in the US presidential election (the lying body is depicted against the background of indifferent passers-by). The lot was sold on the Nifty Gateway cryptocurrency digital art market.
#7 Art Blocks, Ringers #109
Sold for: $6.93М
The NFT is a programmatically generated art from the Art Blocks collection with over 99,000 non-fungible tokens. According to a report from the decentralized platform DappRadar, the artwork was sold for 2,100 ETH.
#6 Xcopy: Right-Click and Save As Guy
Sold for: $7.09M
This is the most expensive Xcopy NFT token so far, for which he raised 1,600 ETH or $7.09 million. Judging by the buyer’s pseudonym ‘Cozomo de’ Medici’, the artwork was purchased by rapper, producer, and actor Snoop Dogg. Later this information was confirmed.
#5 Larva Labs, CryptoPunk #3100
Sold for: $7.58М
An alien with a headband instead of a headdress became part of the collection of Alien CryptoPunks, entering the top 3 most expensive NFTs in this series.
Interesting fact: only 406 out of 10,000-pixel punks have a headband. CryptoPunk #3100 was originally put up for sale for $2M but was last acquired for a price of 4,200 ETH, which was more than $7 million at the time.
#4 Larva Labs, CryptoPunk #7523
Sold for: $11.75М
Another Alien CryptoPunk #7523, nicknamed ‘Covid Alien’ for the mask on its face. It cost the current owner $11.75 million and was sold by Sotheby’s auction marketplace.
#3 Beeple, Human One
Sold for: $29.98М
Human One is a futuristic study depicting an astronaut walking endlessly forward against a backdrop of ever-changing scenery. The artwork is displayed on four screens with a total resolution of 16K.
The token was bought in November 2021 for $28.9 million at Christie’s by cryptocurrency billionaire Ryan Zurrer.
#2 The First 5000 Days
Sold for: $69.3M
‘This is going to be a billion-dollar piece someday. This has the potential to be the work of art of this generation. We are very happy to be part of history, and we’re still digesting the fact that we are part of history,’ said Twobadour, one of the people who paid $69 million for the NFT’ Everydays The First 5000 Days’.
The Metapurse Foundation of Singapore was the buyer of a collage of 5,000 digital images by Mike Winkelman. This fund was founded by a man hiding under the pseudonym Metakovan, and a certain Twobadour acts as a co-director.
#1 The Merge
Sold for: $91.8M
The Merge is a digital project created by an anonymous person named Pak. In December 2021, this work was successfully sold through the Nifty Gateway NFT service. It is important to note that the token is divided into 313,685 separate elements, which went to 28,983 investors. In fact, users bought separate pieces, which collectively form The Merge.
Today The Merge is the most expensive NFT in the world, whose cost has become an absolute world record.
NFT is a non-fungible token generated on the blockchain network. In essence, it is a digital certificate that proves the ownership of a virtual asset: an image, an audio file, a video clip, a GIF, etc. As a rule, the most expensive NFTs are the work of famous artists and other well-known market figures.
As of April 2023, The Merge, sold for $91.8 million, is the most expensive NFT ever sold. However, the industry is so dynamic that we won’t be surprised if the world record is updated tomorrow.