NFTs are increasingly growing in popularity among investors and collectors. Over the past year, the NFT market has seen incredible growth with all-time high sales on digital art pieces sold as non-fungible tokens. The monthly sales volume of digital items has increased from about $400 million at the start of 2021 to about $2 billion at present, driving the NFT market cap to about $7 billion.
Although NFTs are widely used across a range of global industries, they are particularly dominant in the art market as a means of proving the authenticity of digital artworks. NFTs are unique digital assets that cannot be duplicated, deleted or stolen. Digital files can be turned into NFTs through a process referred to as ‘minting’, after which the token can be traded online.
Can you guess the price of the most expensive NFT sold to date? Take a look at the steep price tags on these record-breaking NFT artworks.
‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ by Beeple
Price: $69.3 million
The digital artist, Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple, holds the record for the most expensive NFT sold to date. The digital artwork, ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’, a collage of 5,000 pieces of art by Beeple from 2007, was sold by the auction house, Christie’s, for a staggering amount of $69.3 million. This event marked the first time that a major auction house placed an NFT artwork on the market and accepted cryptocurrency as payment. The NFT was bought by a Singapore-based investor who described NFTs as the start of a new era in art.
‘CryptoPunk #7523’ by Larva Labs
Price: $11.7 million
CryptoPunks occupy a number of the most expensive NFT sales. These NFTs are a randomly generated set of 10,000 digital characters, each with unique features. Developed by the American game studio, Larva Labs, CryptoPunks are some of the first NFTs that were released on the Ethereum blockchain. CryptoPunk #7523 is one of just nine rare alien punks and the only one adorned with a medical mask. The NFT was sold to the biggest shareholder of DraftKings, a fantasy and sports-betting firm, for $11.7 million.
Other CryptoPunks that also made waves in the NFT world include CryptoPunk #7804 (sold for $7.56 million), CryptoPunk #3100 (sold for $7.58 million), CryptoPunk #5217 (sold for $5.45 million), CryptoPunk #7252 (sold for $5.3 million) and CryptoPunk #2338 (sold for $4.32 million).
‘Crossroad’ by Beeple
Price: $6.6 million
Another NFT created by Beeple, ‘Crossroad’ was sold to an anonymous buyer for a considerable amount of $6.6 million. The artwork is a short animated video clip that depicts people walking past a body with derogatory insults written all over it. Beeple designed the NFT in such a way that the imagery would change depending on the outcome of the US presidential election, this version being the result of Donald Trump’s defeat. The NFT was brokered between the original owner and the buyer around four months after it was first purchased for about ten times the initial price.
‘Ocean Front’ by Beeple
Price: $6 million
Beeple’s record sale of nearly $70 million added major value to the artist’s work, resulting in another impressive sale of $6 million of his digital artwork, ‘Ocean Front’. The artwork features a tree sitting on top of a platform of shipping containers and trailers on the ocean. Sold to the CEO and founder of the cryptocurrency platform, TRON, the profits of the auction of this artwork were donated to Open Earth Foundation, a non-profit organisation that fosters sustainable development through art and education.
‘This Changed Everything; by Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Price: $5.43 million
This NFT is an artistic representation of the source code for the world wide web. ‘This Changed Everything’ includes timestamped documentation outlining the creation of the internet along with a letter written by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist credited with inventing the world wide web, and a digital poster of his full code. The NFT was sold to an anonymous buyer for $5.43 million.
‘Stay Free’ by Edward Snowden
Price: $5.4 million
Edward Snowden’s NFT, ‘Stay Free’, features a portrait of Snowden overlaying the court documents that declared the mass surveillance practice of the National Security Agency as unlawful. The NFT sold for $5.4 million to a decentralised autonomous organisation that was set up to acquire culturally significant pieces by pooling the resources of its investors. The proceeds were donated to Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit organisation that advocates for free speech and freedom of the press.
‘Save Thousands of Lives’ by Noora Health
Price: $5.1 million
Noora Health created the NFT, ‘Save Thousands of Lives’, to raise funds for the non-profit organisation’s efforts to support healthcare by working with local hospitals and groups in India and Bangladesh to improve outcomes for at-risk patients. The NFT was sold via OpenSea for $5.1 million, enabling Noora Health to save one life with every $1,235, according to their calculations.
‘Replicator’ by Micah Bowbak
Price: $4.1 million
‘Replicator’ is a digital artwork designed by Micah Bowbak to replicate itself by creating variant NFTs every 28 days, available to be sold by the owner. The NFT therefore allows its owner to sell multiple NFTs, each with its own resale value. This multi-generational NFT was sold for $4.1 million.
Price: $4 million
The iconic Doge meme broke the record as the world’s most expensive meme. Almost a decade after it first became popular on the internet, Doge lives on thanks to a $4 million sale on Zora. The meme also made headlines when the cryptocurrency Dogecoin was named after Doge. The online meme database, Know Your Meme, certified Doge ahead of the auction to ensure it was being sold by its rightful owner. A percentage of the sales were donated to a number of charities, including the World Food Program and the Japanese Red Cross Society.
The first tweet
Price: $2.9 Million
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet on Twitter was auctioned as an NFT and sold for $2.9 million. Posted on 21 March 2006, the memorable tweet reads “just setting up my twttr”. The NFT version of the tweet was minted through a platform that enables users to create NFTs that represent their tweets. Dorsey converted the proceeds of the sale to Bitcoin and donated it to Africa Response.
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