Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have soared in value in recent months. Occasionally, we see NFT examples that sold for millions of dollars. Even if they don’t appear to be worth much on the surface, the rising values of these digital arts are not slowing down.
NFT appears to be the new gold, as new millionaires are being created on a regular basis. For example, an Indonesian student named Sultan Gustaf Al Ghozali shot a portrait of himself every day for five years.
As a prank, he sold his selfies as NFTs. Ghozali was perplexed as to why his selfies had become so famous when his collection reached over $1 million in trading volume.
Also, Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, sold a five-word tweet for $2.9 million, which set tongues wagging.
The exorbitant prices paid for these digital tokens are worth investigating. Here are the 20 most expensive NFT examples that sold for millions.
1. EtherRock 70 – $1.4 million
The EtherRock 70 is one of the series of NFT arts made up of only 100 rock illustrations sourced from an unlicensed clipart database. They were one of the first crypto collectible NFT projects to be launched on the Ethereum blockchain in 2017.
Despite the fact that they are quite old, they are still extremely valuable. The first set of EtherRocks (EtherRocks 1–20) sold for between 0.0999 Eth (US$289) and 0.362 Eth ($1,046) in the first three years.
The price climbed with each additional rock minted. And when Gary Vaynerchuk tweeted about EtherRock in the early weeks of August 2021, it drove up the price even higher.
EtherRock 70 is the 70th of the 100 rocks and was sold for 420ETH @ $3,228.86/ETH (approximately $1.4 million) on August 25, 2021.
EtherRocks, unlike many other NFTs, serve no useful purpose other than to pique the interest of collectors who buy them solely for the purpose of ownership.
2. CryptoPunk #6965: $ 1.5 million
The CryptoPunk NFT family is made up of 10,000 uniquely generated NFTs built on the Ethereum blockchain. The American Larva Labs studio launched CryptoPunk in 2017. (a company founded by Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson).
The CryptoPunks are 24×24 pixel art images generated by an algorithm. The majority are punk-looking men and women, but there are also apes, zombies, and the infrequent alien among them. Every punk has its own profile page where it can display its traits as well as its current status.
Punk London, a cyberpunk community that includes William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer, the film Blade Runner, and the music group Daft Punk, inspired the project.
The original plan was for each of the 10,000 pieces to be free as long as the user had an Ethereum wallet. Users, however, quickly claimed all 10,000 pieces. Currently, the items for sale can only be purchased through a marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain or through exchanges such as opensea, Nifty Gateway, etc.
CryptoPunk #6965 depicts a quirky monkey with an unexciting representation wearing a fedora hat. He is one of the project’s only 24 monkeys, making him the second most rare Punk after the aliens.
CryptoPunk #6965 was sold for $1.5 million in February 2021. At the time of writing, it was worth 800ETH ($1.6 million).
3. Quantum: $ 1.5 million
Quantum is widely acknowledged as the first NFT art ever built. It was created with the help of NameCoin, a fork of Bitcoin’s blockchain software. Kevin McCoy, who has been hailed as a pioneer in the field of digital art, produced Quantum on May 2, 2014.
With his programmer partner Anil Dash, he set out to build a system that would allow digital artists to sell, track, and own their work, which was often posted without credit or attribution on blogs like Tumblr.
Quantum was advertised for sale at Sotheby’s “Natively Digital” auction in June 2021 along with artworks by Pak, Robert Alice, and the CryptoPunks collection.
Quantum was snapped up by the renowned NFT collector Sillytuna for $1.47million.
4. The First Tweet: $ 2.9 million
The first tweet on Twitter, by Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, has joined the list of NFT examples that sold for millions.
Jack posted the first tweet, “just setting up my twttr,” on March 26, 2006. On December 15, 2020, Jack minted and listed his first tweet for sale on the platform Cents’ Valuables, an ad-free creator network that allows users to create NFTs with their tweets and also list them for sale.
As part of his charitable efforts, Jack has pledged to convert 100 percent of his earnings into Bitcoin before donating them to charity (Africa Response).
On March 6, 2021, Iranian crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi made a $600,000 bid for the tweet. Estavi raised his bid from $700,000 to $2,500,000 after being outbid by Justin Son (@justinsuntron).
Then, on March 22, 2021, Sina Estavi paid $2,915,835 for Jack Dorsey’s NFT (1631 ETH). Estave expressed his delight at the prospect of working with such a valued organization, noting that the NFT’s uniqueness drew him in.
Estavi listed the NFT for auction on April 5, 2022, for 14,969 ether, or nearly $50 million. Unfortunately, the piece’s highest price was only $280. Estavi, on the other hand, has stated that he will not sell the first tweet for less than $50 million.
5. Fidenza # 313: $3.3 million
Fidenza is based on the Art Blocks of the Ethereum blockchain. The Ethereum blockchain now has the capacity to generate or mint unique and programmable NFTs on the fly thanks to Art Blocks. This is accomplished through the use of NFT drops, or the hash codes of buyer transactions.
Because the generated NFTs are only formed AFTER the buyer’s transaction hash code has been entered into the algorithm along with random parameters by the programmer, Art Blocks are also known as Predictive Art.
Fidenza #313 is one of a series of 999 NFT art developed by Tyler Hobbs using Art Blocks to create one-of-a-kind artwork. It was released on June 11th, 2021, and sold for 0.58ETH ($1,400) right away.
The item was auctioned on the Opensea platform for 1,000 ETH ($3.3 million) two months later, on August 23, 2021.
Three more Fidenza paintings, featuring bright rectangles and squares, are among the NFT examples that sold for millions.
6. The Replicator: 4.1 million dollars
The Replicator is a self-replicating NFT that produces hundreds of versions of itself, as its name suggests. The REPLICATOR as an NFT is conceived as a time machine that contains seven distinct generations of artworks. Generation 1 depicts a photocopy machine in an office environment.
Each of the six NFTs produced by this first generation NFT will be unique from the previous and following generations. After that, each subsequent generation will produce one fewer artwork throughout its lifetime until Generation 7, at which point no new NFTs will be made. Following the sale of an artwork, the new owner becomes the exclusive proprietor of all subsequent replicants from that NFT.
REPLICATOR, like a photocopy, can jam. When a “Jam Artwork” is created, it is one-of-a-kind for that generation, but it cannot be duplicated. For Generations 2 through 6, the jam rate is between 50 and 80 percent, which helps to limit exponential growth.
Each generation has the option of having up to three different Jam components. It is impossible to forecast the exact quantity due to statistical variance. After one million simulations, the average is around 220, with a 99 percent likelihood that the total number of artworks produced would be between 75 and 300, with a one-year turnaround time.
The REPLICATOR was created by Canadian artist Michah Dowbak (Mad Dog Jones) and was advertised for sale on the Phillips auctioneers platform on April 11, 2021.
Bidding jumped to $2.4 million in the first twenty-four hours after the NFT was listed for sale, dwarfing the opening bid of $100. The unnamed collector, on the other hand, paid a whopping $4,144,00 for this valued artwork.
7. CryptoPunk # 2338: $ 4.3 million
The CryptoPunk # 2338 on our list of NFT examples sold for $4.4 million in August 2021, making it one of the best returns on investment ever. It was purchased for 3.5 ETH ($443) by its former owner in November 2018, and he achieved a staggering 1,000,000 percent return on his investment in less than three years.
Punk # 2338 is one of 88 Zombies in the 10,000 CryptoPunks collection, and one of only four with the faint mohawk characteristic. There’s also a single tuft of hair sticking up in the center of his head and bloodshot eyes.
The CryptoPunk collection houses some of the most valuable NFTs, each of which can fetch millions of dollars.
8. The World Wide Web source code: $ 5.4 million
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the architect of the World Wide Web, stunned many when he stated that he would sell an NFT representing the original Internet source code at a Sotheby’s auction.
To be clear, Tim was not pitching the internet as we know it today. Instead, Tim was selling an NFT – an artistic depiction of the web’s code base, which is open-source, public, and completely free for everyone to access and copy.
A time-stamped record of 9,555 lines of source code written between 1990 and 1991 was included in the NFT. Some of the internet’s core structures were built on the source code, including the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and Universal Document Identified (UDI).
The NFTs of a 30-minute animated visualization of the code, a digital poster of the code, and a digital letter written by Berners-Lee in June 2021, reflecting on his invention, are also included in the purchase.
Tim put the NFT up for auction on Sotheby’s marketplace. It was sold to the highest bidder on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, after bidding began at $1,000 and ended at $5,434,500.
9. Stay Free: $5.4 million
Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) informant, coined the phrase “Stay Free.” The sculpture is actually a figure of a thinking Snowden set against the wording of a U.S. Court of Appeals judgement that declares that the law does not enable the NSA to collect and monitor the telephone records of U.S. individuals.
On April 16, 2021, Snowden sold the artwork to PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that won the bid for $5.4 million (2,224.00 ETH).
All of the money from the sale will go to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden presently serves as president and campaigns for freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and pro-government media.
10 WarNymph collection $6 million
The world’s richest man and billionaire Elon Musk’s girlfriend and multi-talented artist Grimes demonstrated her ultra-creative side when she sold her WarNymph NFT collection for some $6million.
A sequence of ten digital graphics, brief video clips, and original music comprise the work, which is a mix of gamer fantasy, anime, and science fiction. Miss Anthropocene, the rapper’s record, inspired the WarNymph collection.
The video, “Death of the Old,” which features flying cherubs, a cross, a sword, and brilliant light and is set to an original Grimes song, was the most popular item in the collection. The successful bidder paid approximately $389,000 for it.
Another painting, a depiction of a baby guarding Mars, drew so much attention that it sold for more than $300,000 in under 10 minutes.
The bulk of the sales came from two pieces with thousands of copies available that sold for $7,500 each. Nearly 700 copies were sold for a total of $6 million before sales closed.
11. Ocean Front — $6 Million
The piece Ocean Front is yet another example of NFT art that got tongues wagging. The NFT shows a tree atop trailers and shipping containers on a platform, with the phrase “together we can solve this.”
Ocean Front is part of the Carbon Drop series and was designed by Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, a graphic designer. The NFT includes themes on environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. It was primarily developed to encourage environmental and climate change awareness.
Ocean Front was offered on the Nifty Gateway platform on March 23, 2021, and the bidding began at $2.77 million. Bidders such as Justin Sun and 3F Music competed to outbid one another until the auction’s closing minutes.
Justin Sun, a well-known NFT collector and the founder of the Tron Foundation, was the successful bidder.
The Open Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to tracking worldwide progress toward the Paris Climate Agreement, received the proceeds from the auction.
12. Beeple’s Crossroads — $6.6 million
The Beeple’s Crossroads is another NFT example that sold for millions. This NFT art was designed in reaction to the 2020 presidential election in the United States. The painting depicts a miserable person, ostensibly Trump, laying on the ground with obscenities scrawled across his nude body, and represents the former president following his election loss.
Crossroads also featured two films, one triumphal with Trump marching through flames while wearing a crown, and the other melancholy. What happened, in the end, was determined by the election results.
Crossroads was minted and auctioned on the Nift Gateway platform, an online cryptocurrency marketplace for digital art, on October 31, 2020.
The Crossroad was finally sold for 6.6 million dollars to an unnamed bidder, making it one of the most valuable NFTs ever sold for millions.
13. Right-click and Save As Guy — $7.1 million
Right-click and Save As Guy is a satirical NFT art developed to remind individuals who don’t believe in the exorbitant prices paid for NFTs. They say that the image can simply be right-clicked and saved, so why are the costs so high?
The NFT, on the other hand, serves as a reminder that owing to blockchain technology, it is the receipts linked with the art that cannot be replicated, not the picture itself.
Right-click and Save As Guy is one of almost 1,900 NFTs published by XCOPY, a London-based artist known for employing twisted visual loops to portray dystopia, death, and apathy.
The NFT bidding finally finished at 1600ETH, which is around $7.1 million, after being listed on December 9, 2021. Snoop Dogg, the happy victor, purchased XCOPY’s NFT Right-click and Save As Guy, his second NFT from the same artist.
14. CryptoPunk #7804 — $7.5 million
The CryptoPunk number #7804 is one of the Ethereum blockchain’s 10,000 unique characters. It is not just one of the most valuable NFTs ever sold, but also one of the most uncommon in the collection.
It’s special because it has an alien skin that just 0.09 percent of the collection has. A pipe in the mouth, which only 3% of the collection has. Shades are also scarce, accounting for only 4% of the whole collection. There’s also the “cap forward” feature, which appears on just 3% of NFTs. Finally, it is the only CryptoPunk alien who puffs on a pipe.
On March 11, 2021, CryptoPunk #7804 was put up for auction. The deal was orchestrated by Dylan Field, the CEO of Figma, a software design business located in California.
In March 2021, the NFT was sold for 4,200 ETH, which was approximately $7.5 million at the time. The buyer, Yuga Labs, is the innovator of the modern profile picture project.
15. CryptoPunk #3100 — $7.58 million
CryptoPunk #3100 is an example of NFT that shook the digital art world. This NFT art is another of the CryptoPunk collection that raked in massive figures. It also has the alien skin, as one of the nine Alien Punks, which is a crucial component in driving the token’s value up.
A white-and-blue headband completes the appearance of the NFT with bluish-green skin. Only 406 people out of 10,000 in the collection wear a headband, demonstrating its rarity.
CryptoPunk #3100 was first released in 2017 and rose to notoriety after a $2 million offer in March 2021, when it was finally purchased for $7.58 million in the same month.
The unknown owner of CryptoPunk 3100 put it up for sale on August 30th, 2021, for the staggering price of $111 million. He got a bid of $87.6 million two months later, on October 29th, 2021. The bid was immediately retracted, and as of November 9, 2021, the latest bid was hovering at about $419.
16. CryptoPunk #7523 — $11.7 million
In the whole 10,000 collections, CryptoPunk #7523 is one of nine Alien Punks. CryptoPunk #7523, like the other pricey NFTs in the series, contains a slew of unique characteristics. It stands out since it has three traits that only 24% of the collection has, as well as an earring that only 25% of the collection has.
A knitted cap is another unique feature, while the surgical mask is only worn by 2% of the collection, earning it the moniker “Covid Alien.” There are 24 apes, 88 zombies, 3840 females, and 6,039 men among the remaining 9,991 Punks.
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, CryptoPunk #7523 was auctioned off at Sotheby’s in London. CryptoPunk 7523’s last public sale occurred in 2017 for 8 ether, which was worth $1,646 at the time. The item was purchased for $11.7 million by Shalom Meckenzie, the main stakeholder in the digital sports firm DraftKings.
Sillytuna intends to give 5% of the money to Larva Labs to fund the development of future NFT initiatives, and the remaining 5% to COVID-19 aid groups.
17. Human One — $28.9 million
Human One is an example of NFT that combines both digital and physical hybrid pieces of artwork. It was created by Beeple. It’s a three-dimensional digital lightbox with four LED panels that features an animated digital depiction of a seven-foot-tall sculpture. The NFT depicts an astronaut wandering across several changing surroundings over time.
On October 28, 2021, the human-sized 3D NFT was minted. It’s “the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse,” according to Beeple. The fascinating aspect about “Human One” is that Beeple intends to alter it over the course of his life. As a result, he’ll keep remote access to the artwork and update it on a regular basis.
On November 8, Christie’s auction house held an auction for Human One. Ryan Zurrer paid $28,985,000 for this unusual work of art.
Zurrer is the founder and director of two firms, Dialectic and Vine Ventures, and is a Swiss businessman and venture capitalist.
18. Clock NFT – $52.74 million
Clock is another mind-boggling NFT example sold in millions. The artwork depicts a timer that counts the number of days Assange has spent in Belmarsh Prison in London, where he is being imprisoned pending extradition to the United States.
The goal of Clocks is to generate cash to defend Julian Assange following his controversial arrest in May 2019. Due to his involvement with WikiLeaks, a website he established, Assange is facing espionage accusations.
Pak, a well-known artist who rose to prominence through anonymity and has maintained it throughout their career, collaborated with Assange to develop the NFT Clock.
The NFT was purchased for $56 million by AssangeDAO, a group created in December 2021 with over 10,000 supporters. This indicates that the NFT is owned by over 10,000 supporters.
However, Pak has indicated that the revenues from the sale of the NFT would go to the Hamburg-based Wau Holland organization, which welcomes donations for Assange’s legal defense.
19. Everydays: The First 5,000 Days: $ 69.3 million
Everydays: The First 5000 Days is an NFT art created by the famous digital artist Beeple (Mike Winkelmann). Beeple’s work is a square image file (21,069 by 21,069 pixels) comprised mostly of 5000 separate pictures featuring his graphic designs, 3D works, and drawings, which he has put on the internet one per day, every day, since May 1, 2007.
The piece was minted on the 16th of February, 2021, and was listed for auction at Christie’s on March 16, 2021. Bids began at $100, but in the final ten minutes of bidding, the price surged, peaking at $69.3 million.
Everydays was bought by Singapore-based programmer Vignesh Sundaresan, better known online as MetaKovan. Vignesh is the originator of the Metapurse NFT project and a cryptocurrency investor.
20. The Merge: $91.8 million
The Merge is the most well-known and most expensive NFT example ever sold. The Merge NFT, also known as fragmented art, creates world-scale art by utilizing the endless canvas of the blockchain and internet. The Merge is a mash-up of “masses” rather than a static artwork. The NFT began with three huge dots on a black backdrop. The size of the dots grew in proportion to the number of purchases.
The Merge includes a scarcity mechanism that reduces token supply over time. As a result, every Merge token transfer combines it with the token in the destination wallet, accumulating the total value and generating a single currency.
On December 2, 2021, the Merge was offered for auction at the Nifty Gateway. Buyers could buy any number of tokens starting at $575 per token. This, on the other hand, grew by $25 every six hours.
Existing Pak’s NFT owners, however, received a $299 early access discount. There was a discount for large purchases. You get one free for every 10 units you buy, and purchase of 1,000 units earns you 300 more.
A total of 28,983 collectors purchased 312,686 units of mass, and the tokens sold for a total of US$91.8 million at the end of the auction. The Merge is now the most expensive NFT ever sold.
What the Future Holds
Here, we have considered some of the most expensive NFT examples that set world records and prepared the stage for more innovations in the metaverse space. NFTs have made a striking statement and are becoming more powerful by the day. While some may be concerned about the attention being paid to them, there is no disputing that they can no longer be ignored. With fresh surprises appearing on a regular basis, NFTs are a lucrative option for anyone who can invest in the appropriate projects and be patient.