NFTs are transforming the art world. Not only work from Beeple, CryptoPunk, Pak or BAYC, we now have Melania Trump’s eyes in watercolour pieces, Wikipedia’s first edit, Tony Hawk’s Last Ollie video and even more. Price matters, together with Preface, take a look at the most expensive NFT art sold around the world in 2021.
Rank of the top 30 most expensive NFTs sold in 2021
What is NFT (Non-fungible Token)? A very direct description of the works themselves would be digital assets, including video clips and jpegs. Some say it is a unique digital representation of a good for our purposes. Others describe them as a bubble poised to pop.
Dated back to 2013, when NFT was first created, there was not much attention ( at least not until the creation of CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks). After the NFT art boom, it never lost its vibe as the new art trend and projects even reached record-breaking sales.
Nevertheless, here you go the top 30 most expensive NFTs sold in 2021:
1. The Merge
The most expensive NFT sold in 2021 is “The Merge” by Pak that sold for US$91.8 million on Nifty Gateway on December 2nd. With 28,983 collectors snapping up 312,686 total units of mass, the price of the newest experimental Ethereum NFT by the digital artist was a record for an artwork sold publicly by a living artist, according to Nifty Gateway, a leading NFT marketplace. And even more importantly, the results established Pak as the most expensive living artist.
2. Everydays: the First 5000 Days
The latest buyer of the artwork, Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as MetaKovan, spent $69.3 million on a Beeple’s NFT earlier this year. Despite the fact that the Indian cryptocurrency entrepreneur and investor said in an interview that he’d be happy if everyone downloaded a copy of “Everydays: the First 5000 Days.”, the NFT art was the first piece of purely NFT artwork to be offered by a major auction house.
3. HUMAN ONE
HUMAN ONE is a kinetic video sculpture, with four video screens (16k resolution), polished aluminium metal, mahogany wood frame, dual media servers; endless video with corresponding dynamic non-fungible token.” The artist itself described his word as “the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse.” and aimed to change it over the course of his lifetime. HUMAN ONE was auctioned at Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale for $28,958,000.
4. CryptoPunk #7523
5. CryptoPunk #3100
Originally Released by Larva Labs. Sold for 4,200 ETH, one day after another 4,200 ETH sale.
6. CryptoPunk #7804
The work that sold via Nifty Gateway and resold from the original price of $66666.60 a few months earlier in October 2020, was designed as a response to the 2020 presidential election. Depending on the election’s outcome, one of two videos—one featuring a victorious Trump, the other featuring a despondent one—would play.
8. A Coin for the Ferryman
XCOPY, who is a renowned crypto artist, sold his work on SuperRare and broke his own record. Setting back the new owner 1,330 ETH, roughly $6.03 million at the day’s prices, the unique piece, named “A Coin For the Ferryman,” is regarded as one of the earliest creations of XCOPY.
Source: Crypto Briefing
9. OCEAN FRONT
10. CryptoPunk #5217
11. Stay Free
Sold for about US$5.4 million, the NFT work by Edward Snowden is called “Stay Free”. It is an image of Snowden’s face made from pages of a US appeals court decision that ruled the mass surveillance program Snowden exposed had violated US law. It is believed that the freedom of the Press Foundation will be benefited.
Source: The Verge
12. Save Thousands of Lives
The work is created by a public health nonprofit organisation called Noora Health, to support their work with underserved communities in South Asia. This NFT is different in that it is not tied to a digital file or work of art. Instead, the final bidder, Paul Graham, owns the knowledge that the money they spent to buy it saved lives, and proof that they were the one who paid for this project. The project was sold for 1,337 ETH in a charity auction.
13. Doge (meme)
In case it is under your radar, this smirking Shiba Inu has become popular on internet forums like Reddit and Tumblr since early 2010, but reached new highs as the face of cryptocurrency Dogecoin. The money goes to Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato, the owner of the actual Shiba Inu pictured in the meme. Her sale of the “doge” meme took place on digital auction website Zora, where it sold for 1,696.69 ETH in just three days. And it is still the most expensive meme to sell as a NFT.
Source: New York Post
14. CryptoPunk #2338
Published in 2017 by Larva Labs, as one of 88 Zombie Cryptopunks, #2338 has somehow turned out to be an iconic CryptoPunk among all the dominant ones.
REPLICATOR, Phillips’ first NFT sold for US$4.1 millon. According to what Mad Dog Jones (Michah Dowbak) told the auction house, “REPLICATOR is the story of a machine through time. It is a reflection on forms of past groundbreaking innovation and serves as a metaphor for modern technology’s continuum. I’m interested to see how collectors will respond as the work evolves and the NFTs in their possession continue to create new generations.”
Source: Arte Aldia
16. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
PleasrDAO, a cryptocurrency collective led by Jamis Johnson, has purchased the lone copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s album as an NFT for the equivalent of US$ 4million in USDC —— cryptocurrency. The American hip hop group’s album, as an NFT, was previously owned by former hedge fund manager and convicted felon Martin Shkreli. It is by far the most expensive music NFT ever sold.
17. Some Asshole
18. EtherRock #55
Basic information: EtherRock also called EthRock is an early Ethereum based non-fungible token project from 2017 that depicts various coloured rocks. The highest sale among the series is EtherRock #55, which received a bid for Ξ 900 Ether (US$3,590,712). The auction ended in only 2 days and 20 hours via fractional.art.
19. PEPENOPOULOS, 2016
This unique Rare Pepe, is the internet’s most famous and recognisable meme – Pepe the Frog. The character first appeared in 2005 in the on-line cartoon Boy’s Club. In that appearance, the character also first used its catchphrase, “feels good, man.” This particular cartoon frog, dubbed ‘PEPENOPOULOS, 2016’, was sold by Sotheby’s during the first auction on their “Metaverse”, a platform dedicated to NFT collectors.
20. BAYC #8817
BAYC, The Bored Ape Yacht Club, is a collection of 10,000 unique Bored Ape NFTs— unique digital collectibles living on the Ethereum blockchain. Brandon Buchanan, a.k.a. rhincodon, founder and managing partner of Meta4 Capital, spent US$3.4 Million USD for this Bored Ape NFT. Sotheby’s explained that “less than 1% of all Bored Apes have the gold fur trait, making it an NFT with historical significance.” #8817 is the most expensive ape sold so far.
21. Fidenza #313
The “Fidenza” line was launched by an artist called Tyler Hobbs in June and has already become one of the most popular collections on Art Blocks. The Fidenza line up has 999 pieces, all of which are different from each other upon minting. “Fidenza #313” was sold for 1,000 ETH (Ethereum) which is roughly US$3.3 million in August. Shortly after being minted as an NFT the artwork was sold for 0.58 ETH (approximately US$1,400) two months ago.
22. All Time High in the City
23. The first Tweet by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
After spending just over two weeks on the market, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had sold his first tweet (which was posted on March 21, 2006 at 4:50p.m.) as an NFT for the weirdly specific figure of $2,915,835.47. Sina Estavi, the winning bidder, eventually held the highest bid and the “work” was sold for 1,630.5 ETH on Valuables. Dorsey donated his proceeds to the charity GiveDirectly.
Source: The Verge
24. EtherRock #27
25. EtherRock #73
26. BAYC #8585
27. Self Portrait #1, 2020
28. A slight lack of symmetry can cause so much pain
29. TIME The Future of Business (Beeple Edition)
Beeple created a special cover for TIME Magazine’s May 10th/17th 2021 issue. The cover image depicts Beeple’s actual computer interface mid design, complete with a wireframe render of a figure interacting on the left and a more complete version on right. As usual from Beeple, the artworkwork includes elements of dystopian and post-apocalyptic worlds featuring up-to-date events and political leaders. The piece was eventually sold for 675 ETH, approximately equivalent to US$ 2.4million, on SuperRare.
30. Machine Hallucinations – Space：Metaverse
The work is a collection by digital media artist Refik Anadol. It includes richly diverse artworks inspired by his studio’s collaboration with NASA JPL which began in early 2018, and his long-term research into the photographic history of space exploration. The entire collection was created by using over two million raw images captured and recorded by the International Space Station, the Hubble and MRO telescopes, providing a vast dataset to train a generative adversarial network. It was sold for 18,325,000 HKD at auction by Sotheby’s Hong Kong