10 Of The Most Expensive NFTs And The Staggering Amounts of Money Paid For Them

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Credit by BeatingBetting.co.uk via Flickr

NFTs are garnering more and more attention from the mainstream public. This is partly due to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology itself becoming more and more publicly known. However, more often than not, news surrounding the most expensive NFTs deals are the ones that put the topic directly under the spotlight. Crazy, in the sense that these items are not typically the ones that you would consider paying several million dollars with. Astounding, in the sense that the new owners are more than willing to spend that much in the name of decentralized authorization.

But as detached as all these seem to our daily, mundane lives, there have indeed been wildly expensive NFTs that were successfully sold one way or the other. What lengths are buyers prepared to go to to obtain the most expensive NFTs you ask? Well…

(NOTE: the original cryptocurrency/blockchain network used for the transaction is indicated under the entry’s data list. Also, the USD conversion values listed here are also equated at the time the deal was completed.)

10 Most Expensive NFTs Shortlist

  1. Cryptopunk #6487 and #4156
  2. Auction Winner Picks the Name
  3. The Genesis Estate
  4. Cryptopunk #6965
  5. The Best I Could Do
  6. The First-Ever Tweet on Twitter
  7. Doge
  8. Crossroads
  9. CryptoPunk #3100 and #7804
  10. Everyday’s – The First 5000 Days –

Honorable Mention: Forever Rose by Kevin Abosch ($1 Million)

Honorable Mention: Forever Rose by Kevin Abosch ($1 Million)

Even before the NFT craze, Kevin Abosch was already making a name for himself for his three-dimensional concept artwork. His previously most famous (infamous?) was a photo of a potato that was sold for a bit more than $1 million last 2016. Two years later, in 2018, he made history again with the “Forever Rose”, which again sold for about $1 million, or its equivalent amount in Ethereum during that time.

The following entire most expensive NFTs list has surpassed this record since then. But it is quite important to note the milestone that it has achieved, and of course, the buzz that it generated during that time when NFTs was considered a very niche concept.

10. Cryptopunk #6487, #4156 : $1.3 and $1.25 Million respectively

Cryptopunk #6487, #4156 : $1.3 and $1.25 Million respectively
  • Original “Creator”: Larva Labs
  • Current Owner: 0x4d8e16 and 4156.eth respectively
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Larva Labs, February 2021 (both)

Crypto Punks are essentially collectible characters that are available on the Ethereum blockchain. We’ve decided to combine a few Cryptopunk entries on this list since some of the final bids for them were close enough that it would make redundant entries in this list.

In any case, number 6487 and 4156 weren’t exactly the first to break the $1 million barrier, but they eventually arrived on the list as some of the most expensive NFTs that deal with collectible assets. The reason why some of these collectibles are sought after so much is due to the algorithm-generated nature of the images, and so there is a sort of technical rarity for each general theme’s unique appearance.

9. Auction Winner Picks the Name: $1.33 Million

9. Auction Winner Picks the Name: $1.33 Million most expensive NFTs
  • Original Creator: SSX3LAU (Slimesunday x 3LAU)
  • Current Owner: JohnL
  • Cryptocurrency used: none (debit/credit)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Nifty Gateway, March 2021

While visual assets are the overwhelming majority of NFTs being traded and sold, “Auction Winner Picks the Name” (yes, that was its initial official name) takes a different direction by being a music video. So, despite being already impressive enough with its highest bid, this collaborative entry also showcases the very wide scope of creative and exclusive items that can be developed for sale as an NFT.

8. The Genesis Estate (virtual land) : $1.5 Million

The Genesis Estate (virtual land) : $1.5 Million most expensive NFTs
  • Original Creator Owner: Danny
  • Current Owner: Flying Falcon
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Axie Infinity (in-game), February 2021

This particular piece of virtual land is actually an in-title asset from Axie Infinity, a game that is established on the Ethereum blockchain. The game’s mechanics revolve around raising and developing your fantasy creatures, named Axies, and the Genesis Estate is just one of the virtual plots of land you can own to accomplish this.

The deal did not seem to be an auction beforehand, meaning that the purchase was simply a direct deal between the two players. Nonetheless, it now stands as one of the most expensive NFTs when it comes to game-related assets.

7. Cryptopunk #6965 : $1.54 Million

Cryptopunk #6965 : $1.54 Million most expensive NFTs
  • Original “Creator”: Larva Labs
  • Current Owner: 0x99b57c
  • Cryptocurrency Used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Larva Labs, February 2021

Here is yet another entry on the most expensive NFTs that comes from the massively popular avatar generation “lab”. Ape-design based Crypto Punks aren’t exactly that much sought after. But having two out of twenty-four (24) main designs selling for far more than 600 ETH makes it quite notable, and hits a nice spot for this updated list.

6. The Best I Could Do (compilation) : $1.65 Million

The Best I Could Do (compilation) Most expensive NFTs
  • Original Creator: Justin Roiland
  • Current Owner(s): undisclosed
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Nifty Gateway, January 2021

This rather scribbly ‘The Simpsons parody’ illustration thing is just part of the entire NFT collection of Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland (if the name above doesn’t immediately ring a bell). Auctioning off the collection was a sort of experiment, to test the waters of the NFT craze, and to see the boundaries of what makes art valuable for people.

As hinted by the data above, the collection was not purchased by just one person, but several individuals that remained anonymous. The proceeds collected from the successful bids were then donated to charity, specifically to help homeless encampments in L.A.

5. The First-Ever Tweet on Twitter : $2.9 Million

  • Original Creator: Jack Dorsey
  • Current Owner: Sina Estav
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Valuables, March 2021

“just setting up my twttr,” … were the historic first words that ever graced the now massively popular social media website Twitter. Made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in March 2006, it had made a complete turnaround and was sold, almost exactly to the day fifteen years later, to the CEO of Bridge Oracle for a nice equivalent sum of $2.9 million.

Sina Estav heavily stressed the importance of this deal, stating that it was “like the Mona Lisa painting”, and indeed, this was around the time when the NFT buzz started to become much more noticeable in mainstream media. In any case, the proceeds of the auction were eventually donated to charity, specifically to GiveDirectly, an Africa-based organization that provides resources for the poor, as well as recent COVID-19 victims.

4. Doge (original meme image) : $4 Million

Doge (original meme image) most expensive NFT
  • Original Creator?: Atsuko Sato
  • Current Owner: pleaserdao
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Zora, June 2021

This unmistakable image of a Shiba Inu launched the entire doge meme that blessed the entire internet for the last few years. Originally though, the dog on the picture was owned by Miss Atsuko Sato, and as such she technically owned the meme. This is confirmed by Don Caldwell, the editor-in-chief of the primary internet meme database, Know Your Meme.

Ownership of the meme was initially a tough battle between twodollahotdoge and pleaserdao. But eventually, pleaserdao prevailed, with a rather delicious final bid of 1696.9 ETH, the USD equivalent of which is listed on this very entry.

3. Crossroads : $6.6 Million

  • Original Creator: Beeple (Mike Winkelman)
  • Current Owner: undisclosed
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Nifty Gateway, February 2021

Crossroads was part of the first batch of NFTs that digital artist Beeple sold successfully by the end of the year 2020. The image is technically a political satire, in which a giant, caricatured version of former president Donald Trump slumps down on the ground, having lost the previous presidential elections.

However, it never sold as much as listed above when it was first auctioned off. Crossroads was originally sold within a batch of artwork that was sold for $2.2 million. The $6.6 million purchase was a resale made by its previous owner, Pablorfraile, though unfortunately, the buyer has decided to remain anonymous.

2. CryptoPunk #3100, #7804 : $7.58 and $7.57 Million respectively

Crypto Punks most expensive NFTs
  • Original Creator: Larva Labs
  • Current Owner: 0x7b8961 and 0xf4b4a5 respectively
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Larva Labs, March 2021(both)

Even crazier than all of the other Crpyotpunk NFTs sold at the seven-digit mark within the last few months, numbers 3100 and 7804 both skyrocketed to almost $8 million in equivalent value to Ethereum (4200 ETH). This time, the theme is aliens. The first one sporting a hat, shades, and pipe, with the other wearing a sort of bandana, and having a strange, uncanny resemblance to the Spongebob Squarepants character Squidward.

1. Everyday’s – The First 5000 Days – : $69 Million

Picture of Beeple (Mike Winkelman) most expensive NFTs
  • Original Creator: Beeple (Mike Winkelman)
  • Current Owner: Vignesh Sundaresan
  • Cryptocurrency used: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Date and Place of Auction/Purchase: Nifty Gateway, March 2021

Perhaps the most expensive NFT that launched its selling potential to the general public, this is the culmination of all the artworks that Beeple regularly sells (he makes them every single day). Don’t fill your eyes with dollar marks just yet though, even if you’re a digital artist. As superficial as a sold JPEG image may sound, this is still a product of a dedicated artist who built up his career and fan base over the course of several years. You can get there, but don’t expect to fill your entire year-bills’ worth in just a single stroke of Pollock-esque inspiration.

As for why it was bought for its peculiar $69 million winning bid, you’ll have to ask Mr. Sundaresan for that.

Is This Just the Beginning?

Considering almost any virtual form of data is acceptable, it is only a matter of time, and figuring out energy and environmental efficiencies, until NFTs become the norm for any type of blockchain network-based transaction.

Although NFT prices currently reach exorbitant highs, we can expect to see a downtrend as the hype cools down on certain items. Trading collectibles, for instance, will still retain rarity levels for future items sold, but probably won’t be as expensive as they are now unless something really valuable (as agreed upon by everyone) pops up.

Well, the exception to this would still be artwork, we suppose.

All sources are provided as links and images within the article.

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