Topics NFT
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Jul 5, 2022

17 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have been making headlines lately as their prices have soared to astronomical heights. They've changed the way people view art — and investors have noticed. In 2021, the NFT market generated around $25 billion in trading volume. While the hype has died down a bit in the last few months, the market is still going strong.

So, what exactly are NFTs? Simply put, they’re unique digital assets that cannot be replaced. That's because each NFT is stored on a blockchain, a decentralized ledger that records all transactions. This makes NFTs immutable, meaning they cannot be altered or duplicated.

Will the NFT market continue to grow? Only time will tell. For today, we’ll look at the 17 most expensive crypto art NFTs ever sold.

Why Are NFTs So Valuable?

Before we move on to the list, we should answer one frequently asked question: Why are NFTs so valuable?

First and foremost, they're unique. For instance, the first-ever tweet was minted and sold for a whopping $3 million — although it didn't even crack our list. The person who bought it, businessman Sina Estavi, said, "This is not just a tweet!" For Estavi, it's a piece of history and it's worth every penny.

Another reason ‌NFTs are valuable is that they're scarce. For example, CryptoKitties only has a limited supply of digital cats, so when someone buys one of these kitties, the floor price rises because there are fewer kitties available for purchase.

Of course, it's also a matter of status. If the NFT you're buying is rare or made by a popular artist, you're going to have to pay a premium. After all, not everyone can say they own a Beeple NFT.

Additionally, keep in mind that not all NFT art is expensive. An average NFT now costs under $2,000. We only get to hear about NFTs whenever there's been a major sale because, well, it's newsworthy.

It's the same with physical art. You only hear when someone has paid multiple millions for an art piece, and never hear about the sales that were made for a few hundred bucks.

17 Most Expensive NFT Sales

The NFT space is still in its infancy. It will continue to grow and go through changes. That means record sales will be broken, and new artists will emerge. So this list is subject to change!

But for now, these are the 17 most expensive NFTs ever sold.

1. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #9998" (Sold for $529.77 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #9998" — a pixelated white-haired person

Source: Larvalabs.com

Technically, this Punk is the most expensive piece of NFT art ever sold. However, some people don't consider the sale valid.

In October 2021, the owner of #9998 bought the Punk from himself using a flash loan. He then used the same transaction to repay the loan. This incredible transaction is akin to a wash trade in a conventional securities market. While technically valid, the Larva Labs website announced that they had rejected the bid.

2. Pak: "The Merge" (Sold for $91.8 Million) (The Actual Top-Selling NFT)

Pak "The Merge" — two gray planets in black space

Source: Gemini.com

For many years, Pak has been one of the biggest names in the industry, selling thousands of NFTs on platforms like SuperRare, Sotheby's and Nifty Gateway. So it’s not surprising that The Merge broke the record for the largest-ever NFT sale by a living artist. It was sold for $91.8 million on Nifty Gateway in December 2021.

The Merge collection showcases the use of blockchain technology to create digital art. Powered by Gemini, its unique smart contract mechanism rewards collectors who bought multiple units of “mass” during the sale period of two days, an NFT that grows bigger when more “mass” is consolidated.

More than 28,000 collectors gathered to purchase over 312,000 units of "mass" that were later merged to create the final NFT.

3. Beeple: "Everydays: the First 5000 Days" (Sold for $69.44 Million)

Beeple "Everydays: the First 5000 Days" — 5,000-image collage

Source: Beeple-crap.com

You surely knew that this one was coming. The dynamic NFT by Beeple is the third most expensive NFT ever sold. It comprises 5,000 different images.

Beeple started working on the piece in May 2007. He posted single pieces continuously for the next 13 years. The art was bought by a crypto entrepreneur and investor, MetaKovan, for over $69 million at Christie's.

Following the sale, Beeple became a huge celebrity, gaining 1.8 million Instagram followers and collaborating with brands like Louis Vuitton and Nike.

4. Pak x Assange: "Clock" (Sold for $52.7 Million)

Pak x Assange "Clock" — a black image with white words “ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN” printed on it

Source: Censored.art

"Clock" is an NFT that came from the “Censored” NFT collection, a collaboration between the anonymous artist Pak and Julian Assange, the incarcerated creator of WikiLeaks. The NFT counts down the number of days Assange has spent in prison.

In February 2022, it was bought for nearly $53 million by 10,000 members in the AssangeDAO. The AssangeDAO was established in December 2021 to free Julian Assange, who faces extradition to the U.S. and a possible life sentence.

5. Beeple: "HUMAN ONE" (Sold for $28.9 Million)

Beeple "HUMAN ONE" — a 3-D video sculpture of an astronaut on a planet

Source: Christies.com

This dynamic NFT created by Beeple is one-of-a-kind. A physical/digital hybrid, it was the first NFT sold by a major auction house, Christie’s, during Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale in November 2021.

The 3-D video sculpture is displayed in a box that has four screens on a constant loop, projecting the image and giving it the appearance of a moving painting. It comes with an NFT, which contains a smart contract specially coded for Beeple to retain control over the image display so that it will continuously evolve.

6. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #5822" (Sold for $23.7 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #5822" — a pixelated blue-skinned Alien Punk wearing a blue bandana

Source: Larvalabs.com

Brace yourself for a series of CryptoPunks: This is the most expensive Punk of all time, sold in February 2021 for 8,000 ETH (approximately $23.7 million at that time). This Alien Punk has one signature trait, the blue bandana on its head. For a long time, #5822 was one of the most expensive NFTs ever sold.

The current owner is Chain’s CEO Deepak Thapliyal, who bought it using Compound Finance's DeFi Protocol. This means that Thapiliyal took out a crypto loan for the purchase.

7. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #7523" (Sold for $11.75 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #7523" — a blue-skinned AlienPunk wearing a grey mask

Source: Larvalabs.com

In June 2021, a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and NFT hype led to the nearly $12 million sale (2,500 ETH) of this Alien Punk wearing a medical mask. For a long time, it was the most expensive Punk ever sold (until #5822 broke the record).

There are only nine Alien Punks in existence, and this one has three distinctive attributes. Apart from the medical mask, the Punk wears a knitted cap on its head and has a gold ear piercing. There are no listed bids for #7523, and since it was sold, it has remained at the same address.

8. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #4156" (Sold for $10.26 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #4156" — a pixelated Ape Punk wearing a blue bandana

Source: Larvalabs.com

The owner and namesake of Punk#4156 sold it to an anonymous collector, 0x4c1194, for 2500 ETH, or more than $10 million at point of sale. Its value is due to its rarity. After all, there are only 24 Ape Punks out of the 10,000 set collection.

9. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #3100" (Sold for $7.58 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #3100" — a blue-skinned Alien Punk wearing a white and blue headband

Source: Larvalabs.com

CryptoPunk #3100 is an Alien Punk wearing a headband. With only 4% of all the punk profiles wearing headbands, this NFT is considered relatively rare. It sold for 2,500 ETH back in 2021 to 0x7b8961, who also owns several other punks, including Actor Punk #47 — Bruce Willis, Singer Punk #3 — Britney Spears, and Sailor Punk #0, among multiple others.

10. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #7804" (Sold for $7.56 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #7804" — a blue-skinned Alien Punk smoking a pipe

Source: Larvalabs.com

In the next spot is another Alien Punk. It was sold in March 2021 to a user by the name of Peruggia. The name “Peruggia” may be a direct reference to Vincenzo Peruggia, the famous thief who stole the Mona Lisa in 1911. After all, the former owner and Figma CEO Dylan Field has called #7804 the “digital Mona Lisa.”

11. XCOPY: "Right-click and Save As guy" (Sold for $7.09 Million)

XCOPY "Right-click and Save As guy" — a grainy person in a hoodie with a pixelated backdrop

Source: superrare.com

This GIF portrait was sold for 1,600 ETH, and it was also created by the notorious XCOPY. Created four years ago, there's only one edition of this NFT, and it's been listed on SuperRare.

XCOPY is one of the top-selling crypto artists of all time, typically known for dystopian work, but this NFT takes a more light-hearted tone.

It’s actually more of a parody, mocking the non-NFT users who don't understand how NFTs work, and claiming that they can easily save an image on their computers for free instead of spending millions of dollars.

12. Dmitri Cherniak: "Ringers #109" (Sold for $6.93 Million)

Dmitri Cherniak "Ringers #109" — an image of spirals and dots

Source: Opensea.io

Cherniak is a famous digital artist, situated in New York City. The Ringers, one of his notable collections, features 1,000 pieces, with a total trade volume of nearly $73 million. The most expensive piece, Ringers #109, sold for over $6.9 million in October 2021. The Ringers collection is generated through a unique transaction hash, making each NFT a truly individualistic piece of art.

Since it was originally sold, the NFT artwork has exchanged hands multiple times. It's now owned by an anonymous OpenSea user that goes by 55FAF0.

13. Larva Labs: "CryptoPunk #8857" (Sold for $6.63 Million)

Larva Labs "CryptoPunk #8857" — a pixelated green-skinned Zombie Punk with 3D blue-and-red glasses

Source: Larvalabs.com

Zombie Punks were all the rage a few years ago. This one features a wild hairstyle and 3D glasses. It's one of the 88 total Zombie Punks, and it sold for 2,000 ETH back in May 2018.

At the time of the purchase, it was worth over $6.6 million. It's owned by the user who goes by 0xdf37ac. This punk isn't listed for sale on any of the major NFT marketplaces.

14. Beeple: "Crossroads" (Sold for $6.6 Million)

Beeple "Crossroads" — People walking past Donald Trump lying on the grass

Source: niftygateway.com

"Crossroads" is another one of Beeple’s famous digital artworks sold for a record $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway. The work shows the former American president Donald Trump, with graffiti drawn on his skin after his loss during the 2020 presidential elections. Anti-Trump imagery has been popular among artists, and this piece is no different.

That said, Beeple had also created a positive version just in case Donald Trump won the election.

15. Ross Ulbricht: "Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection" (Sold for $6.2 Million)

Ross Ulbricht "Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection" — a pencil-drawn eye with multiple eyes within the iris.

Source: superrare.com

This piece of art has some fascinating history behind it. Called "Perspective," it was hand-drawn by Ross Ulbricht in pencil while in prison. It's a part of the artist's 10-piece series, the “Genesis Collection,” which was sold as a single NFT using the KSPEC protocol.

A part of the proceeds from the sale of the collection will be used to fund efforts to relieve the suffering of incarcerated people and their families. The remaining funds will be used to fund Ulbricht's legal defense.

The decentralized autonomous organization called FreeRossDAO bought the collection for 1,446 ETH, which was around $6.2 million at the time. The foundation originally raised 2,836 ETH from over 4,000 members across the globe.

More than half of that money was subsequently used to secure the landmark NFT.

16. XCOPY: "All Time High in the City" (Sold for $6.19 Million)

XCOPY "All-Time High in the City" — black and red imagery of a ferryman transporting a man across the River Styx

Source: superrare.com

This XCOPY NFT is the epitome of XCOPY’s usual style, featuring a skeletal ferryman transporting a man across the River Styx. The title of the piece is "All-Time High in the City" and it was also minted on SuperRare in 2018.

In January 2022, it was bought by rarecollector3000 for nearly $6.2 million. Currently, it's listed on SuperRare for more than 33,666 ETH, about $39 million today. It seems a little overpriced, especially in the current landscape, but who knows — maybe, one day, someone will pay that much for it.

17. XCOPY: "A Coin for the Ferryman" (Sold for $6.03 Million)

XCOPY "A Coin for the Ferryman" — a grainy man in distress with a rainbow background

Source: superrare.com

This rainbow-hued GIF, entitled "A Coin for the Ferryman," was one of XCOPY’s earliest works, created in 2018. In the same year, a user by the name 0xclipse bought it for 0.5 ETH, which amounted to less than $140 back then. In 2021, a user named jpeggy on SuperRare bought it for 1,630 ETH, which was $6.02 million at the time. At the moment, this NFT isn’t for sale.

Most Expensive NFT Collections

Now that we’ve looked at single pieces of NFT art, let's take a step back and look at the most expensive collections.

Axie Infinity

Founded in 2018, Axie Infinity is a digital pet game that's based on the Ethereum blockchain. The game allows players to buy, breed and sell digital pets called "Axies." And they're not just any digital pets — they come with their own characteristics, and can even battle each other.

At the moment of this writing, Axie Infinity — now an expanded digital platform — has a daily trading volume of over $222 million. That's more than any other NFT game.

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties is a blockchain game on the Ethereum Network, developed by Dapper Labs, a Canadian design studio. The game allows you to buy, sell and breed these virtual cats.

The first generation of CryptoKitties, Gen 0, is capped at 50,000, which may sound like a lot. But not all of them have been released. As they cannot be bred, they’re considered valuable. In late 2019, CryptoKitties also created a new game mechanic, called the Shiny Fancy which increased the level of difficulty in breeding rare CryptoKitties.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)

You've surely seen Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs before, as they're some of the most popular and expensive NFTs around. Some Bored Apes have sold for over $1 million a piece.

The entire collection is pretty rare. In the case of BAYC, there are just 10,000 Bored Apes, each with a unique expression, color and clothing. At the moment, fewer than 6,500 Bored Apes have been sold.

CryptoPunks

The collection that started the craze. CryptoPunks, is considered so valuable because it's the first collection ever created on the Ethereum blockchain. These NFTs actually inspired the ERC-721 standard that powers most digital art today.

While the images themselves aren’t exactly the prettiest — after all, it's a collection of pixelated images of people with punk hairstyles — they're still highly coveted. Just like Bored Ape NFTs, there are only 10,000 CryptoPunks in existence, each one unique.

Where Can I Buy NFTs?

Now that you know why NFTs are so valuable, the most expensive NFT for 2022, and the most expensive NFT collections, you may be wondering, “Where can I buy NFTs?”

If you’re looking to invest in the next big thing, the Bybit NFT Marketplace is the place to be. It has a wide variety of NFTs from up-and-coming artists. No matter what type of NFT you're looking for — be it digital art, in-game assets or even music — you'll find it on Bybit.

Buy NFTs on Bybit NFT Marketplace Now

Bybit provides convenience with its support for multiple payment methods. You can easily make payments using the token the NFT is priced in, including BIT, USDT and ETH. It's also worth noting that each NFT on Bybit is priced with one type of token. For instance, if the NFT you want to buy uses BIT as its pricing unit, you can't use other tokens.

Of course, Bybit isn't the only NFT marketplace out there. Other popular options include OpenSea, Rarible and Foundation. These marketplaces have been around for some time, and have built up solid reputations in the space.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are NFTs so valuable?

Like physical objects, the value of digital art depends on how much someone is willing to pay for it. That can come down to multiple factors. NFTs are so valuable because they're rare and unique. There are only a limited number of NFTs in existence, and each one is different from the next. That makes them highly prized by collectors.

2. Is NFT art a good investment?

The NFT market is still relatively new and volatile. If you’re an art enthusiast, and truly believe NFTs are the future of art, then it makes sense to invest in them. That said, only invest what you'd be comfortable losing.

3. Which is the most expensive NFT ever sold?

At this moment, the most expensive NFT is The Merge by artist Pak, which sold for $91.8 million in December 2021. While CryptoPunk #9998 is technically more expensive, since the owner sold and bought the same NFT, it is generally considered an invalid transaction.

4. Who owns the most expensive NFT?

Instead of a single person, over 28,000 collectors own the currently most expensive NFT, “The Merge,” through a collective buying effort made over a 2-day sale.

5. Why are Bored Ape NFTs so expensive?

First, there are only a total of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs in existence, each one of them different. Some permutations are particularly rare, making them highly sought-after by collectors. The collection’s art quality is also considered to be superior to many older NFTs, which tend to be highly pixelated.

In addition, the Bored Ape team has done a great job marketing their NFTs. Various celebrities own them. Furthermore, the Bored Ape NFT universe is continuously expanding, and owning a Bored Ape NFT gives one exclusive benefits. All of that has helped to drive up the price of Bored Ape NFTs.