2021 was the year when cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology witnessed massive growth, both in market capital and infrastructure development.
One thing that caught the attention of the crypto community and the mainstream audience was the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFT). In case you’re unfamiliar with what these are, please take a look at our video guide on NFTs, or its written version.
They saw exponential growth in 2021, as the digital space was being reshaped by the blockchain, where anything could be tokenized and turned into an NFT. With billions of dollars swirling in the industry, we take a look at some of the most expensive NFTs sold to date.
10 – Save Thousands of Lives — $4.5
Save Thousands of Lives is an NFT created by Noora Health, an organization that saves the lives of at-risk patients in South Asia. The artwork was sold for 1337 ETH, worth $4.5 million in May 2021. The profits were allocated to the organization’s program aimed at saving newborns’ lives instead.
9 – This Changed Everything — $5.4M
This Changed Everything is an NFT of the source code used for one of the earliest versions of the World Wide Web. It was sold on June 30, 2021, to an anonymous user for $5.4 million via Sotheby’s.
The NFT comes with several perks for the owner, like a letter written by Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, an English computer scientist and the inventor of the internet, a digital poster of the code written by him, and time-stamped documents recording the history of the internet in its early days.
8 – Beeple, Crossroad — $6.6M
Crossroad is an animated NFT created by Mike Winkelmann, better known for his artistic pseudonym Beeple. It features the former US President Donald Trump laying on a field while bystanders ignore him.
It was sold for $6.6 million in February 2021 on Nifty Gateway, but the sale execution was made on the secondary market.
7 – Art Blocks, Ringers #109 — $6.93M
Ringers #109 is a generative art collectible from the Art Blocks collection. It consists of a total of 99,000 Art Block NFTs.
Ringers #109 was sold for 2,100 ETH worth $6.93 million in October 2021, according to Dappradar.
6 – Xcopy: Right-Click and Save As Guy — 7.09M
Right-click and Save As Guy is an NFT image auctioned on the decentralized marketplace Superrare, sold for 1,600 ETH worth 7.09 Million on December 10 to Comozo de Medici.
Interestingly enough, the buyer’s alias belongs to no other than hip hop legend and world-class celebrity – Snoop Dogg.
5 – Larva Labs, CryptoPunk #3100 — $7.58M
CryptoPunk #3100 is part of the 9 Alien Punks series, and it’s slightly above CryptoPunk #7804 as one of the most expensive Alien Punks sold to date. #3100 is an Alien wearing a blue and white headband.
It’s worth noting that only 406 of the 10,000 CryptoPunks have a headband. It was first released in 2017 and rose to prominence with a $2 million bid in March 2021, eventually selling for $7.58 million that same month. The NFT is currently for sale for 35000 ETH, which is around $100 million at the time of writing.
4 – Larva Labs, CryptoPunk #7523 — $11.75M
The CryptoPunks is an NFT collection that consists of uniquely generated characters based on the Ethereum blockchain.
On June 2021, London’s auction house Sotheby’s saw CryptoPunk #7523, also dubbed “Covid Alien,” sold for $11.75 million, making it the most expensive CryptoPunk sold to date. The NFT belonged to a series of rare aliens, which consisted of 9 “Alien Punks.”
3 – Beeple, Human One — $29.98M
The Human One is a dynamic, life-generative sculpture created by Beeple. It consists of an astronaut wandering across shifting environments and can change depending on the artist — Beeple has promised to “update” the Human One during his lifetime so the art will never remain static.
The concept attracted numerous investors at Christie’s, but it was crypto billionaire Ryan Zurrer who snapped it up for $29,985,000 on December 9, 2021.
2 – The First 5000 Days
Everydays: The First 5000 Days is an NFT artwork created by Michael Winkelmann, a digital artist known as Beeple. The artwork was auctioned at Christie’s with an initial bid of roughly $100 made by traditional customers.
But the bigger bids came shortly by crypto enthusiasts. Beeple was well-known in the crypto art community with six-digit sales like Crossroads, so it only took an hour for the piece to skyrocket to more than $1 million, with the final result being $69 million for the piece completed on the 21st of February 2021.
The First 5000 Days is an important artwork in the NFT community as it paved the way for mainstream audiences to explore on-fungible assets.
Fun fact: the art piece was bought by MetaKovan —the pseudonymous founder of Metapurse, an NFT investment fund. He wants everyone to download and copy the expensive artwork he bought. Why? Because he believes in free information.
1 – The Merge — $91.8M
The Merge is a digital artwork created by an anonymous digital artist nicknamed Pak. It was sold on Dec. 6, 2021, for $91.8 million on the NFT decentralized marketplace Nifty Gateway. However, the piece was fractionalized to 312,686 pieces distributed to 28,983 buyers. The catch here is that The Merge was a single artwork composed of a collection of “masses” that users could buy.
These pieces could be stockpiled to make a bigger mass and sell it on the secondary market. By the end of the sale, a total of $91.8 million was spent, making it the most expensive NFT sold to date.