Most Expensive NFT Art Pieces Ever Sold 2023

Globally, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology experienced significant growth in 2021, with many digital assets hitting all-time highs.

 It is safe to say that this growth is down to global acceptance and adoption of different facets of blockchain-based projects and digital assets.

 Massive adoption has also led to increased infrastructure development and market capitalisation for the cryptocurrency markets.

Investors and collectors alike are looking for ways to get in on the latest blockchain trend with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

 A massive push for the NFTs has led to some of these tokens fetching insane prices.

 Let us examine some of the most expensive and iconic NFTs sales over the past few months. To begin, let us briefly review NFTs
Most Expensive NFT

Most Expensive NFT

The Merge: USD 91.8 million

The Merge is a unique digital artwork in the world of NFTs because, instead of being a single piece of work, The Merge is, what can be called, fragmented art.

Created by the renowned artist who goes by the pseudonym Pak, The Merge was sold on NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway between 2 and 4 December 2021. It fetched a record sum of USD 91.8 million — the most expensive NFT ever sold that is an artwork.
The Merge ntf USD 91.8 million
Image credit: Pak/@muratpak/Twitter

Instead of a single owner, The Merge is held by 28,983 collectors. This is because the artwork was sold in units known as ‘mass’. Thus, the collectors together bought a total of 266,445 masses by the time the sale ended on 4 December.

Each ‘mass’ cost USD 575 when the sale began. The price of the tokens went up by USD 25 every six hours.

This Changed Everything - USD 5.4 Million

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.
This Changed Everything nft

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.

Everydays The First 5000 Days : USD 69.3 Million

The record for the most expensive NFT ever sold (and one of the most expensive artworks ever sold) goes to EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS. The artwork, created by famed digital artist Mike "Beeple" Winkelmann, sold for $69.3 million at Christie's—the first time that the venerable auction house has ever sold a purely digital artwork.

The NFT represents a collage of 5,000 of Beeple's earlier artworks, demonstrating his development as an artist over the course of his career.

NFT of Horny Copia 721 : USD 10 Million

This NFT is somewhat strange, as it is simply an image that points to the artwork of a popular NFT artist, who was also the final buyer of the piece.

The NFT artist placed a winning bid of $10 million for a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain that offers him ownership of another smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain that makes him the owner of a version of his own work of digital art. Read that again!

NFT of Horny Copia 721

The buyer, Pierre E. Madskem purchased the NFT from an anonymous NFT art collector known by the pseudonym of Mierre E. Padskem. Since this is the first time and NFT pointing to another NFT is minted and sold at this price many believe that the two people are actually the same, but there is no viable way to confirm it .

Stay Free : USD 5.27 Million

Stay Free can be titled as one of the rarest and real-world NFTs ever sold.

The Stay Free NFT came into existence when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, entered the NFT bandwagon in April 2021. The Stay Free NFT covers the entirety of the 2015 Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision in ACLU v. Clapper, which ruled that the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities violated the laws.

Stay Free nft

“Emerging applications of cryptography can play an important role in supporting our rights,” Snowden had mentioned during the announcement of his own NFT. He further went on to add that the funds from the auction will allow the Foundation to develop privacy-protecting encryption, ensuring press freedom.

It was bought by PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization.

Stay Free portrays Snowden against the text of the hearing with his signature on the bottom right, which is a one-of-its-kind artwork. Snowden went on to sell the artwork for $5.27 million and donated the proceeds to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which is a non-profit that advocates for free speech and press freedom around the world. It is produced using open-source software.

All Time High in the City : USD 2.9 Million

All Time High in the City nft

All Time High is a pricey animated image created by popular NFT artist XCOPY. All Time High was initially sold for $2.9 million (then 1,000 ETH) in September 2021. Then in January 2023,  four months after its first major sale, this NFT was sold again for nearly $6.2 million (1,630 ETH).

Clock : USD 52.7 Million

‘Clock’ is a piece created by Pak and Julian Assange, and almost acts literally as a clock, counting the days that WikiLeaks founder Assange has been imprisoned.
Clock nft

The goal of the NFT was to raise funds for Assange’s legal defense and was ultimately purchased by AssangeDAO — a collection of over 10,000 people pooling their money to purchase the NFT and support Assange.

Human One : USD 28.9 million

On 9 November 2021, Beeple had his second-most successful NFT artwork sale. At an auction hosted by Christie’s, the American artist’s creation, Human One, went under the hammer for USD 28.9 million. The buyer was Swiss entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ryan Zurrer.
Human One nft
Image credit: Beeple/Christie’s

Human One is remarkably different from Everydays: The First 5,000 Days — the former is a hybrid digital and physical artwork, whereas the latter does not physically exist.

Beeple created a futuristic human-like sculpture, which was seven feet tall and appears to be perpetually walking across ever-changing landscapes. The 3D movement is presented through four video screens of 16K resolution, which come together to form a 4×4-feet box.

According to Christie’s, the kinetic video sculpture came with dual media servers and had a polished aluminium metal, mahogany wood frame.

Ringers 109 : USD 6.9 million

Ringers #109 is an artwork by Art Blocks, which is a project that creates loops around pegs using an algorithm. The artwork can be a 3D image, an interactive feature, or a static picture.

Ringers #109 is a static image of a series of loops around multiple pegs. The dominant colour is black on a white background. The balanced wrap orientation, the loop and the white background are three very rare attributes in Art Blocks’ creations. The rarest is, however, a red peg — the colour is present in just 0.3 percent of its tokens.
Ringers 109 nft

The NFT was sold for USD 6.9 million in October 2021 — a record price for Art Blocks. It is not clear who bought the NFT but according to The Crypto Times, the seller was AKIRA, co-founder of NarcissusGLRY, who revealed the sale on Twitter.

According to AKIRA, the NFT was bought by them for USD 550 in March 2021.

Right-Click and Save As Guy : USD 7.09 million

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.
Right-Click and Save As Guy nft

Interestingly enough, the buyer’s alias belongs to no other than hip hop legend and world-class celebrity – Snoop Dogg.

Ocean Front : USD 6 million

The Ocean Front is an artwork by graphic designer NFT artist Mike Winkelmann, popularly known as Beeple.

Ocean Front tries to create awareness around climate change and showcases a tree sitting atop cargo containers in the middle of the ocean. What makes Ocean Front one of the most popular NFTs is the way it highlights a real-world social problem.
Ocean Front nft

Justin Sun, Founder and CEO of the Tron Foundation won the winning bid for the artwork at around $6 million. The proceeds from the Ocean Front sale are going to benefit the Open Earth Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to avoid the existential risk of climate change.

The Open Earth Foundation is working on “raising assets to foster an imaginative open advanced framework for further developed administration of planet Earth helping track straightforwardly the worldwide advancement on the Paris Agreement to keep away from the existential danger of environmental change.”

The artwork was sold on Nifty Gateway.

CryptoPunk 7523 : USD 11.75 million

CryptoPunks are the “Rolex of NFTs” as they are often seen as status symbols for wealthy investors. Being one of the earliest NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, all 10,000 of them are now valued at a high price.

However, some CryptoPunks are more valuable than others, and the rarest one was recently sold for $11.75 million in a Sotheby’s auction.
CryptoPunk 7523 nft

CryptoPunk 7523 is not just an Alien Punk, which is the rarest type of the series, as there are only 9 of them available. It also wears a mask, a symbol which increased in importance during the past two years. It is therefore that Punk 7532 is known as the “Covid Alien”. 

The anonymous seller, only known as Sillytuna, mentioned that the Punk, which has been in his possession for the past few years had become part of his identity, and was struggling to make the sale. 

Bidding eventually started at $1.5 million dollars with final estimations ranging between $7 and $9 million. The final sale, as mentioned above, set the buyer back $11.75. Shalom Mackenzie, the largest shareholder of DraftKings was the winning bidder.

CryptoPunk #5217 : USD 5.59 million

The CryptoPunk #5217 is one of the 24 ape punks wearing a knitted hat and a gold chain. Features on the #5217, our second CryptoPunk on the list, are considered to be quite rare and unique by the Punk enthusiasts as well.
CryptoPunk #5217 nft
The CryptoPunk #5217 is currently owned by the address 0xe30161 and isn’t up for sale.

The crypto markets are “buzzing” with retail, corporations and now countries looking to buy bitcoin.

But crypto is so much more than just a financial service, and Ethereum has proven this by creating a place for digital art, with NFTs being the biggest thing right now.

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