The NFT market boomed in 2021, thanks to massively popular projects such as Bored Apes and CryptoPunks. What the uninitiated may not know, however, is that NFTs had been slowly rising in popularity in the blockchain industry since 2015. In this article, we’ll be looking at the five most expensive NFTs ever sold, but first, we should probably answer the question “what is an NFT?”
What is an NFT?
An NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, is a digital asset that exists on the blockchain. By using blockchain technology, each NFT is authenticated as being wholly unique, and fundamentally incapable of being replicated. The non-fungible nature of these blockchain tokens makes them the perfect way to represent art and other creative assets as we move into an all-digital future.
For example, if an artist creates a specific work of art, they can put it on the blockchain and release it as an NFT. The NFT can then be used to verify, without any uncertainty, that it is the only true copy of that piece of art.
We’ve already seen several popular NFT projects sell very well. Let’s look at the five most expensive NFTs ever sold:
5. CryptoPunk #5822
Coming in at number five, we have a non-fungible token from the popular collection of CryptoPunks. CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for a whopping $23 million US Dollars, to an unknown figure, referred to simply as 0xDeepak. Sadly, the NFT may not prove to be a fruitful investment for 0xDeepak.
The mystery owner has tried to resell CryptoPunk #5822 for a profit several times, but so far bids have capped off at about $3 million; a fraction of the original price 0xDeepak paid.
4. Human One
Human One is possibly one of the most interesting use cases for NFT technology. Unlike most static NFTs on this list, Human One by the artist Beeple is an ever-changing work of art. Despite selling the rights to the NFT, the unknown artist retains remote access to it, enabling him to update it however and whenever he chooses. Human One was auctioned at Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale, and sold for $28.9 million US Dollars.
The intent behind the release of this NFT is somewhat controversial. The NFT, known simply as ‘Clock’, was released to raise funds for the defense of Julian Assange after his arrest in 2019. The NFT is a clock that depicts how long Assange has been in prison. The Clock NFT is owned collectively by over 10,000 supporters, who donated $56 million to the cause.
2. The First 5000 Days
The second highest selling NFT was also sold by the artist Beeple. It is actually a collage of 5000 other NFTs. The collage sold for $69 million US Dollars, and was bought by known crypto investor Vignesh Sundaresan. The First 5000 Days is the most expensive NFT ever sold to a single investor.
1. The Merge
The Merge is the single most expensive NFT ever sold; it also holds the record for the most expensive piece of art ever sold by a living artist, with a price tag of $91.8 million. What makes The Merge truly unique is that it uses blockchain technology to operate its own built-in scarcity mechanism.
The NFT is shared amongst 28,893 who purchased ‘mass’ within the art piece. Each unit of mass within the piece of art is itself an NFT. Holders can view a leaderboard to see who has collected the most mass.
The Future of NFTs
The market for NFTs seems to have declined sharply in 2022, but there are still many NFT enthusiasts who are confident that the technology will play a vital role in digital ownership as we move toward a Web3 future.