10 Most Expensive NFT Purchases & What Made Those NFTs Special


NFTs have changed the lives of numerous artists – the NFT space has been breaking art sales records. NFTs – and more specifically digital art – has taken the world by storm. With high demand and the right collection, the sky’s the limit for purchase prices. NFTexplained.info will explore the most expensive digital art pieces to ever be sold and explain why they sold for such a high price. 

1. Beeples’ “Everydays, the First 5000 Days” –  $69.3 million. A 21069 x 21069 piece the artist started on May 1, 2007 and is composed of 5,000 consecutive digital images which he composed daily.

2. Larva Labs’ “CryptoPunk #3100” – $7.58 million. One of nine alien punks from the 10,000 created. Currently the most expensive punk ever sold; features include a headband (only 405 headbands generated). 

3. Larva Labs’ “CryptoPunk #7804” – $7.57 million. This 24 x 24 pixel art collectable is an alien smoking a pipe, wearing small shades, and a forward cap. Famously sold by Dylan Field, the creator of Figma. 

4. Beeples’ “CROSSROADS’ – $6.6 million. A 10 second video clip depicting a naked, vandalized Donald Trump lying facedown on grass with a blue bird landing on him and featuring a clown emoji. 

5. Jack Dorsey’ “First ever published tweet” – $2.9 million. The CEO of Twitter sold a tweet stating, “just setting up my twttr.” Money was converted to BTC and given to GiveDirectly, a charity supporting African families in extreme poverty. 

6. Larva Labs’ “CryptoPunk #6965” – $1.6 million. A collectible generated by an algorithm; this particular punk was one of 24 Ape Punk and was wearing a fedora. 

7. Axie Infinity’ “Genesis Plot” – $1.5 million. One of the nine Genesis Plots of land from the Ethereum-based game known as Axie Infinity. 

8. Larva Labs’ “CryptoPunk #4156” – $1.25 million. A punk with multiple scarce features; this NFT is one of 24 ape punks wearing a blue bandana (only 481 bandanas created). 

9. Kevin Abosh’ “Potatoe #345” – $1.08 million. The famous Irish artist sold an NFT of a potato with a black background. Other ties for this spot again includes Abosh’ “Forever Rose” for one million; and, WhIsBe’ “Not Forgotten, But Gone” also for one million.

10. Pak’ “Metarift” – $904,413. Created by the anonymous digital artist; this NFT is a metallic, proton-like cluster surrounded by a transforming infinity symbol with a black background.

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are unique and verifiable pieces of digital media. This essentially allows a user to have a digital reciept since NFTs are created with blockchain technology. Additional capabilities can be added to an NFT. If you would like to become an NFT expert, our team has the perfect article for you. 

The NFT space is relatively new and therefore constantly seeing the release of new projects. It is important to note that this list of most expensive NFTs purchased does not include open auction editions (only 1 of 1 pieces). 

While the list is ever changing however, NFTexplained.info thinks it is unlikely that prices for the most expensive NFTs will surpass this range as the vast majority of people don’t have the purchasing power to buy NFTs valued above our list.  

In this article NFTexplained.info will cover what made the top 10 most expensive NFTs so valuable, the amount of money exchanged on NFT marketplaces, the average cost for a piece created by Beeple, the average price a CryptoPunk sells for, explain if selling NFTs is a profitable venture, and end the article by explaining the amount of energy an Ethereum based NFT uses.

What Makes Some NFTs So Expensive?

As a general statement, NFTs sell for high prices for a variety of reasons including having ownership that can be verified on the blockchain. Limited supply and high demand increases prices. The creators of NFTs that sell for high prices often have large audiences. NFTs can also have additional capabilities which likely increases value. 

One common theme you may have noticed is Michael Winkelmann’s name; he is more commonly known as Beeple and his artwork is often abstract and futuristic. Beeple is the creator of the most expensive NFT in the world

The digital artist has worked for numerous influential artists creating concert visuals and creates a variety of different digital work. If you would like to read the NFTexplained.info article explaining exactly who Beeple is and how he managed to achieve so much commercial success; that article can be found here. 

Another common theme within NFTexplained.info list are CryptoPunks. This line of NFTs was created in 2017 and is often thought as the instigator that began the NFT craze. 

This NFT line has been widely publicized for an array of reasons including the high prices they have sold at as well as the famous people who have talked about them. If you would like to read our in-depth article explaining CryptoPunks – including the famous people who own them – and the market trends driving them, click here. 

Jack Dorsey is a highly regarded entrepreneur – he is the CEO of Twitter. People are willing to pay high prices to have verifiable ownership for a piece of something from someone they admire or appreciate (often historical, like a first tweet from the creator of Twitter).

Virtual items in games often sell for incredibly high prices. This could be due to aesthetics as users of games want to stand out. In the case of the Genesis plot, the virtual item is from a game; however, everyone is able to see that they are the owner because of the minting process that occurred on the blockchain. With time, NFTexplained.info thinks that any virtual item from a game can be used across all metaverses. 

If you would like to read our in-depth article about Decentraland, one of the most popular blockchain games; that can be found here. The Decentraland game has made headlines numerous times for also selling incredibly expensive pieces of digital real estate.

Axie Infinity recently became the top earning decentralized financial application and currently houses the most expensive NFT collection. If you would like to read our complete Axie Infinity breakdown including how to get started, that can be found here.

Kevin Abosh is a world famous artist who has his works in The National Museum of China, The National Gallery of Ireland, The Hermitage Museum, and many more. Since he is an established artist in a variety of mediums, people are willing to pay a high price to own his work. His two entries into our top ten list feature a unique pieces of art with a sole focus on one object offset against a black background (‘Potatoe #345’ and the ‘Forever Rose’). 

Pak is an established digital artist who has been working in the space of digital art for decades. He has had his work featured by famous auction houses such as Sotheby’s and the artist (or group of artists) continue to remain completely anonymous. Pak does this in order to keep a focus on the artwork itself. If you would like to learn more about Pak, NFTexplained.info has created an in-depth article where you can learn much more about Pak.

How Much Money Has Been Exchanged On The NFT Market?

The NFT space is growing with widely publicized, famous people releasing their own NFTs. Crypto focused companies are also getting into the space as they see an opportunity to generate revenue. This results in growing competition as new companies are being founded with the sole purpose of creating a unique line of NFTs.

In 2020 NFT sales exceeded US $250 million. From the start of January 2021 to the end of March 2021, NFT marketplaces saw over $2 billion in transactions. Today, there are numerous, large NFT marketplaces so estimating the amount exchanged is a challenging process. Total NFT sales continue to rise as the public becomes more interested. 

This number is ever changing as NFTexplained.info expects more large fine art auction houses to sell NFTs; this will bring more awareness to the space. 

Famous people – musicians and athletes for example – with their enormous followings have the potential to make millions from selling NFTs. This is one aspect to consider as it would greatly increase the amount of money invested in NFTs. As a proof point, Logan Paul, the social media sensation, made US $5 million in a single day selling NFTs.

How Much Does The Average Beeple NFT Cost?

Screenshot taken from Beeple’s Instagram

Beeple is one of the artists widely known within the NFT space. Following an already impressive artistic career, he established himself as a top digital artist in a variety of mediums. 

The average sale price for a piece created by Beeple is greater than 120,200 Ethereum. Pieces have sold for much more or much less however the average sale is above 120,200 ETH. This number is an estimate; finding an average is challenging as Beeple has listed his work on numerous different NFT marketplaces.

NFTexplained.info was able to create this rough estimate by looking at all of Beeples’ collections using statistics provided by OpenSea. OpenSea provides statistics such as floor price and volume traded; two statistical metrics that allow you to find the average, lowest price that a Beeple piece commanded. 

Since Beeple is so established and has numerous fans, NFTexplained.info thinks this number is likely to change as time continues; we predict that the average sale price will increase in the years to come. Our in-depth Beeple article can be found here.

How Much Does The Average CryptoPunk Cost?

CryptoPunks is one of the most widely known NFT lines. Numerous NFT lines have since come out featuring the same algorithmic generator that creates randomized features. Numerous NFT projects have also replicated aspects of CryptoPunks, one reason being the success and amount of money the project amassed. 

According to Larva Labs, the creators of CryptoPunks, the average sale price for a punk over the last year was roughly 21 Ethereum or roughly $40,000. NFT prices are an ever-changing metric that is challenging to measure for various reasons. 

As a general statement, NFT collectables within a line of characters of similarly created digital images tend to do better. Looking at OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, NFTexplained.info thinks it is important to note that unknown artists who have created a line of similar NFTs tend to do much better than unknown artists simply producing one-off digital works. 

If you would like to read the article explaining what OpenSea is, how it works, and a step by step walkthrough is found here.

Is Selling NFTs Profitable?

NFTexplained.info

The NFT space has been rapidly growing and marketplaces like OpenSea are seeing over 4,000 ETH in monthly volume. This brings the question: is selling NFTs profitable?

As a general statement, selling NFTs can be a highly profitable business venture. With low production cost and high initial purchasing prices, the opportunity is material. Most marketplaces allow for lazy minting, which means NFT can be listed in the open market without paying the minting fee.  

Lazing minting means that the piece is not tokenized or minted; this means no miner has verified the transaction on the blockchain. Miners use a lot of energy and therefore receive the minting fee for the work of verifying a transaction. If you would like to learn about energy consumption and what makes an NFT use energy; that article can be found here. 

Those interested in creating their own NFTs will have more success if they have already built an audience; however, it is possible someone could come across an unknown artist’s NFT and purchase it. One reason could be the buyer simply found the work visually appealing and wanted to own it.

How Much Energy Does The Average Ethereum Based NFT Consume?

Ethereum is the most commonly used blockchain for NFTs, and uses a proof of work consensus algorithm. This Ethereum transaction uses roughly 48 kWh which can be equated to roughly the amount of energy used by a U.S. household for 1.5 days. It is the consensus algorithm that uses so much energy, not the NFT itself. 

If you would like to read our in-depth explanation about the different consensus algorithms that can be used for the creation of NFTs; that article can be found here. It is important to note that the consensus algorithm used greatly affects the energy consumed by an NFT. 

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