The word around the world is that NFTs are expensive. This is evident from the soaring high prices at which NFTs have been sold in the last years. NFTs find their first surfacing with the minting of Quantum in 2014. Then came a plethora of NFT projects such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoKitties, and many more which have risen in popularity and their soaring high finances cannot be ignored.
As NFTs have been developing by leaps and bounds, the financial aspect of it is also proportional to it and it keeps rising. There is no saying that the prices will remain as they are now. There are several new artists and developers that have been surfacing in the NFT space and are on the verge of owning six figures of money. There are also a lot of investors and celebrities getting into NFTs and spending a considerable amount of money on NFTs of projects such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, Veefriends, and many more.
You might be pondering the idea of the most expensive NFT sales. Well, how expensive are the most expensive NFTs? We have the answer right here for you. This article contains the list of the most expensive NFTs ever sold. Although to note, this list contains the single NFT sales rather than the sale of collections. When it comes to collections Pak’s Merge NFT collection sale, which garnered $91.8 million, is a notable one.
Well, without further ado, let’s get on to the most expensive NFT sales of all time.
20. Stay Free by Edward Snowden: 2224 ETH ($5.4 million)
The spot 20 NFT is for $5.4 million, well just imagine how high the others will be. Nonetheless, Edward Snowden, a whistleblower for the National Security Agency, sold the Stay Free NFT to PleasrDAO in April 2021 for $5.4 million. The profit that came with the sale was received by The Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The Stay Free NFT is a symbol or a representation of influential prisoners in their struggle for freedom. The NFT is illustrated visually by Snowden’s iconic Platon portrait. The portrait is made up of court records related to the landmark decision ruling the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance violated the law.
19. Ringers #879 by Dmitri Cherniak: 1800 ETH ($5.9 million)
Dmitri Cherniak found the highest popularity and did immensely financially as well with his generative art project. Ringers #879 aka the “Goose Ringer”, a single NFT from Cherniak’s generative project sold for $5.9 million in August 2021. It was sold to Three Arrows Capital, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency investment company.
Cherniak’s Ringers collection came as one of the first projects to be launched in 2021. The project consisted of 1,000 NFTs which through great sales and critical praise, it kept its historical worth. It is one of the most adored collections to emerge from the esteemed generative art site Art Blocks Curated. Owning a single Ringers NFT is frequently seen as both a status symbol and a wager or investment on the future of generative NFT art.
18. Ocean Front by Beeple: 3529 ETH ($6 million)
Beeple, a known name in the NFT space has done it again in terms of expensive NFTs. In March 2021, Beeple’s Ocean Front NFT was sold for $6 million to Justin Sun, a Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur and the creator of the TRON blockchain. The Open Earth Foundation received the sale proceeds as a donation.
The Ocean Front is included in the “Everydays” series of Beeple which everyone knows is extremely valuable. The Ocean Front NFT gives away the theme of the climate crisis and came with the statement “together we can solve this”.
The NFT was included in The Carbon Drop collection, which was launched jointly by Nifty Gateway and the Open Earth Foundation. Eight distinct “carbon negative” NFTs were included in the collection in an effort to make up for the underlying emissions from minting, which were motivated by the discussion surrounding NFT’s environmental impact.
17. A Coin For The Ferryman by XCOPY: 1330 ETH $6.02 million
A Coin For The Ferryman, an art NFT by a renowned artist XCOPY comes as one of the most expensive NFT sales. The unique art by XCOPY was sold for $6.02 million on 4th November 2021 to SuperRare user jpeggy, owner of XCOPY’s EVADER as well.
The Coin For The Ferryman is one of the art pieces created by XCOPY when his popularity as an NFT artist was just surfacing. The artwork was purchased for $139 in 2018, and it wouldn’t be traded again until November 2021. It was just days before the price of Ether reached an all-time high. The high-profile sale of A Coin for the Ferryman sparked rumors and restored faith in the long-term worth of 1/1 NFTs as cryptocurrency values continued to rise.
16. Free Ross by Ross Ulbricht: 1489 ETH ($6.12 million)
Free Ross is the earliest NFT released by Ross Ulbricht. The NFT was in an auction and after 6 days in the early days of December 2021 was sold for $6.12 million. The NFT was made available as a part of the Ross Ulbricht Genesis NFT Collection. The profits that came from the sale of the NFT were used to free Ross Ulbricht and to establish a donor-advised fund named Art4Giving. The fund’s goal is to lessen the pain of those who are imprisoned and their families.
Ross Ulbricht comes as a creator of Silk Road, an online black market. In one way or another other Ulbricht is related to the history of blockchain technology. Ulbricht was able to establish his identity on the blockchain in a fresh and cutting-edge fashion by presenting his genesis collection via the FreeRossDAO. With the project, his respect grew highly in the NFT space while still serving his sentence in prison.
15. All Time High In The City by XCOPY: $6.2 million (1630 ETH)
All Time High In The City artwork NFT by XCOPY was sold for 1,630 ETH to rarecollector3000 in January 2022, just a few months after being initially sold for 1,000 ETH. The artwork is magnificent and eye-catching as well. The NFT was minted in 2018 and is an illustration of the underworld’s version of a ferryman taking a man across the Styx.
XCOPY is one of the leading NFT artists and his unique style and originality are off the charts. His illustrations comprise dark, abstract, and dystopian themes. He also uses motion, flickering, and glitching effects in his artwork. If you see any other dystopian artworks in the NFT space, just know that the inspiration behind them is XCOPY, such as his impact on the NFT space and the art world.
14. Crossroad by Beeple: $6.6 million (4400 ETH)
A simple yet elegant artwork NFT, “Crossroad” found its way to “anonymous10” an incognito collector. It was sold to “anonymous10” by Pablo Fraile for $6.6 million around the February 2021. The Crossroad NFT was minted on 30th October 2020 and its first sale was for $66,666 to an influential collector Pablo Fraile.
One might wonder why the Crossroad NFT is highly valuable. It has its head around the presidential election and got a buzz around it. Crossroad became a 2020 presidential election meme before NFTs gained any truly noteworthy mainstream press coverage. According to Beeple, he had several versions of the work prepared depending on the outcome of the presidential election because it was intended as a mirror of the political turmoil in the United States.
13. CryptoPunk #8857: $6.63 million (2000 ETH)
2021 was the year of NFTs and the CryptoPunks were one of the biggest parts of it. The CryptoPunks were of the major NFT projects that fetched a far more high priced than one can imagine. CryptoPunk #8857 got sold at a unbelievable price of $6.63 million on 11th September 2021.
The CryptoPunk we’re dealing with here is a zombie CryptoPunk. The Zombie CryptoPunks are one of the most famous Punks and one of the rarest ones as well. There are only 88 Zombie CryptoPunks in the collection. In addition to it, the CryptoPunks NFT collection is one of the earliest NFT collections in the Ethereum blockchain and this added to its high value as well.
The sales that occurred which included Zombie CryptoPunks were also a cause for the upsurge in their price. The outrageous price was brought up by a reputed single-day transaction in which famed NFT collector Keyboard Monkey purchased a zombie Punk and then sold it for a profit of about $1 million. It was considered by many to be the zenith of zombie NFT trading. With the purchase of CryptoPunk #3831, we even witnessed the emergence of renowned investor Cozomo de’ Medici at this point in the undead Punk market.
12. Right-click and Save As Guy by XCOPY: $7 million (1600 ETH)
Cozomo de’ Medici comes up again and Right-click and Save As Guy was sold for $7 million on 9th December 2021.
Right-click and Save As Guy by XCOPY is of the foremost NFTs which came into existence 2 years before the NFTs got the biggest hype of the century. It was minted on December 6, 2018, which was years ago. When the iconic object was highlighted on BBC World News immediately after Beeple’s historic Everydays auction, it helped indicate a change in the public’s perspective of NFTs. The value of this NFT artwork increased by more than 3,500% as a result of Cozomo de’ Medici’s purchase. Before this NFT had only ever been sold twice for $90 (1 ETH) and $174,195 (99 ETH).
11. Ringers #109 by Dmitri Cherniak: $7.1 million (2100 ETH)
Ringers #109, a complex and magnificent NFT, was sold for $7.1 million on October 2021. This is the highest sale of the whole collection by Dmitri Cherniak. With this sale, Art Block Project became more prominent and gained more attention than ever.
Ringers come as the most famous NFT collection from the Art Block Curated and were one of the foremost NFT projects to be released in 2021. Though there were some issues over the project’s original inspiration that affected both Cherniak and Ringers, the sale of this particular elaborate ringer helped spread the discussion about plagiarism on the blockchain and broader artistic integrity in the crypto-sphere.
10. CryptoPunk #7804: $7.56 million (4200 ETH)
After Zombie CryptoPunks comes to the Alien Punks in terms of the highest-ever NFT sales. It was sold for a whopping $7.56 million or 4200 ETH on 11th March 2021. If this NFT was sold for the same amount around the end of 2021, then it would’ve fetched $17 million.
Alien CryptoPunks are the rarest in the NFT collection. One of the nine aliens that exist, Punk #7804 has certain unique qualities. But this purchase’s significance goes much beyond its cost. We observed the rise of NFT collector and social media influencer Peruggia not long after the Punk’s transaction occurred. Word around is that Peruggia might be the alternate account of a prominent investor Robert Leshner.
9. CryptoPunk #3100: $7.57 million (4200 ETH)
This is another Alien CryptoPunk with the highest NFT sales. This shows how influential CryptoPunks have become as one of the earliest NFT projects to be launched. CryptoPunk #3100 was sold for $7.57 million or 4200 ETH on 11th March 2021. Also, the sale of this CryptoPunk saw the end of the chain of the CryptoPunk sales that was going on in 2021.
It is clear that CryptoPunk #3100 is a significant and uncommon Punk because it is one of only nine known aliens. But unlike #8857, nobody stepped forward to give this well-known NFT a social media personality.
8. CryptoPunk #5577: $7.7 million (2501 ETH)
Here comes another CryptoPunk and this time it’s an Ape CryptoPunk. Adorned by a Cowboy Hat this punk was sold in February 2022 for $7.7 million or 2501 ETH. Robert Leshner is probably the one who purchased this NFT. As right after the sale of this NFT he went on to his Twitter to post “Yeehaw” which is enough for people to decode.
There are a lot of reasons for the Ape CryptoPunk to be this high in value. It is one of 142 cowboy hat-wearing punks and one of 24 ape punks. Ape Punks are still rising in value even though there is already the famed Bored Ape Yacht Club project deeming the significance of CryptoPunks extremely high.
7 CryptoPunk #4156: $10.2 million (2500 ETH)
CryptoPunks took the NFT hype by storm with its rare NFTs being sold for extremely high prices. This is another Ape CryptoPunk which is among the highest NFT sales. CryptoPunk #4516 was sold for $10.2 million on 9th December 2021.
More than its high price, this CryptoPunk is more famous for its trade. It became one of the most famous CryptoPunk sales in 2021. That’s because the persona of well-known NFT influencer and builder Punk4156 has come to be associated with bandana ape #4156. As a result, when the sales took place it was a huge turn in the NFT space and the community took it as a significant change.
Additionally, the sale signaled an important turning point for the CryptoPunk community. Both this significant trade and the decline in Punk prices towards the end of the year were caused by concerns over Larva Labs’ copyright policies, which Punk4156 has taken strong exception to.
6. Tpunk #3442: $10.5 million (120 million TRX)
This seemingly derivative rare “Joker” Tpunk was purchased by Justin Sen founder of TRON on August 2021. Justin Sun is a known person in the NFT community and was a bidder for Beeple’s Everydays: the First 5,000 days. Although at the final hour he was outbid by $250,000.
The Tpunks NFT collection comprises 10,000 avatars built on the Tron Blockchain. The collection has been clearly inspired by the CryptoPunks NFT collection. Out of all the derivative NFT projects, Tpunks might be the best NFT collection in the space.
5. CryptoPunk #7523: $11.7 million (4700 ETH)
Embellished by a mask and a red hat, CryptoPunk #7523 was sold for a colossal price of $11.7 million or 4700 ETH. The sale of this CryptoPunk came as the highest CryptoPunk sale of 2021. Although, the sale of this CryptoPunk is not recorded on the blockchain as it was sold on Sotheby’s Natively Digital auction in June.
The Punk’s second-ever collector, Sillytuna, and the original minter of #7523, Straybits are both well-known figures in the NFT community. As a result, the sale was viewed as a big victory for the NFT ecosystem and as a significant step toward the adoption of NFTs by the general public.
4. CryptoPunk #5822: $23.7 million (8000 ETH)
Another alien punk but this time with a blue bandana, CryptoPunk #5822 is one of the highest NFT sales ever and holds the distinction of the highest CryptoPunk sale. This CryptoPunk was sold for $23.7 million or 8000 ETH on 12th February 2022. This punk was purchased by Deepak Thapyali, the CEO of Chain. Once the purchase was made, he tweeted a picture of his punk. It narrowly missed becoming the most popular NFT at the time of sale by a few million units.
It was destined to sell for a high price because it is one of only nine aliens in the collection.
3. Human One by Beeple: $28.9 million (4700 ETH)
The Human One NFT by Beeple was sold on 9th November 2021 for $28.9 million or 4700 ETH. It was sold on Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale. The Human One NFT comes off as one of the most unique NFTs ever. The NFT and the electronic sculpture were sold together at auction as the renowned artist’s first-ever physical work.
It was an intriguing instance for this followed the sale of Beeple’s Everydays NFT and everyone was left wondering how much a price the Human One will get. Although the NFT fetched a high price on an auction at Christie’s.
2. Clock by Julian Assange and Pak: $52.7 million (16953 ETH)
The collaborative work of Julian Assange and Pak, Clock NFT, was sold for $52.7 million in February of 2022. The NFT is as unique as it can get. The NFT shows a countdown that displays how many days Assange has been imprisoned. It was chosen as a piece of the Censored collection put together by Pak and Assange, which also included a dynamic open edition.
Pak, is the most famous artist and ironically is the artist who no one knows in the NFT community. Pak choses to hide his true identity and has stood by it since the start of his career. Although, his anonymity does not stop his growing influence and popularity in the NFT community. Shortly after the auction ended, they said on Twitter that the project was “from people, for the people” and described it as “a drop with no creator, developer, platform, or middlemen share.” The group AssangeDAO bought the artwork, whose main goal is to defend the freedom of the WikiLeaks founder.
1. Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple: $69.3 million or 38525 ETH
Everyone knows about this NFT. This is the highest-ever NFT sale to date and another NFT breaking its record in the future is out of the question. Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days was sold for $69.3 million.
In addition to being the highest-ever NFT sale, the sale of this NFT played a crucial role in increasing the popularity of NFTs. With this sale, NFTs gained huge popularity and they reached the ears of a higher portion of the general populace. The act of minting, collecting, and selling NFTs was thought of as at best activity for NFTs before Christie’s decided to take a bet on them through their online auction. However, it became obvious that the time for NFTs had come after Beeple obtained the largest bag in all of them.
Well, from the above list we can see how far NFTs have come in terms of popularity, influence, and most importantly finances. The NFTs in this list have been sold for ridiculously high prices. By seeing this we can understand that the NFTs are here to stay for a very long time.