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Ranking the Most Expensive NFT Sales in History

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CryptoPunks NFT Collection

In the realm of digital art, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have redefined ownership and sparked a revolution. This article delves into the most expensive NFT sales, exploring groundbreaking transactions that have reshaped the art market. From unique creations to evolving works, these NFTs challenge conventional valuations and rewrite the rules of ownership.

Top Most Expensive NFTs (Updated 2024)

10. CryptoPunk #3100 — $7.67m

CryptoPunk #3100 is among the limited collection of nine rare alien CryptoPunk figures. Adorning a distinctive blue and white forehead band, this NFT was created in 2017 and exchanged hands on March 11, 2021. The current owner of this unique NFT has it unlisted.

9. CryptoPunk #5577 — $7.7m

Purchased in February 2022, this particular NFT stands out as one of the exclusive 24 Ape Punks, ranked as the ninth most expensive NFT to date, this ape-themed creation hails from CryptoPunk. Noteworthy for its brown hat, this NFT found its way into the possession of Robert Leshner, the founder of the Compound DeFi protocol for 2501 ETH and he has it currently listed for 2900 or $12 million at the time of writing.

8. CryptoPunk #4156 — $10.26m

The featured NFT depicts an ape-skin CryptoPunk adorned with blue headgear. Originally sold by the username “Punk4156,” the current owner remains unidentified and is not currently listed. 

7. TPunk #3442 — $10.5m

The ‘Joker’ TPunk, part of a collection akin to CryptoPunks, shares distinct features with the iconic Batman character. Notably, the TPunk project holds the distinction of being the inaugural one on the Tron blockchain. The acquisition of TPunk #3442 involved a payment of 120 million TRX (Tronix), and the purchaser was none other than Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron Blockchain.

6. CryptoPunk #7523 — $11.75m

CryptoPunk #7523 stands out due to its unique medical mask attribute, one of the rarest features in the CryptoPunks collection. This rarity is attributed to the fact that the medical mask was introduced to the CryptoPunks collection in 2020, in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remarkably, it holds the distinction of being the sole masked crypto punk within the already scarce alien category. 

On June 10, 2021, CryptoPunk #7523 fetched an impressive $11,754,000 US dollars. Notably, prior to the resale of #5822, CryptoPunk #7523 held the title of the most expensive NFT within the project. The transaction occurred when a user named “SillyTuna” sold the NFT to an undisclosed buyer on the US-based broker platform Sotheby’s.

5. CryptoPunk #5822 — $23.7m

While the identity of the seller remains undisclosed, the buyer is confirmed to be Deepak Thapliyal, the founder of chain.com buying the piece for 8,000 ethereum at the time. The NFT in question is an Alien CryptoPunk distinguished by the presence of a blue bandana.

4. Beeple’s HUMAN ONE — $28.985m

HUMAN ONE changed hands on November 9, 2021, for a substantial sum approaching $30 million. This sale is intricately connected to Beeple’s prior piece, ‘Everydays,’ as revealed in an interview with Christie’s. This unique creation by Beeple is a fusion of physical sculpture and digital artwork, forming a hybrid masterpiece. The sculpture is in a state of perpetual evolution, with Beeple actively updating the images showcased on the screen.

HUMAN ONE is meticulously crafted to exhibit an astronaut’s evolving artwork over time. Beeple, also known as Mike Winkelmann, retains remote control over HUMAN ONE, enabling ongoing modifications to the NFT. The physical manifestation involves the presentation of the NFT within a transparent glass box.

3. Clock — $52.7m

Since April 2019, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has been serving a 175-year prison sentence for hacking attacks on the US government’s computers. To visually represent the time spent in imprisonment, a real-time timer known as the “Clock” was created. Recently, this unique piece was sold for 16,953 ETH to AssangeDAO, with the entire sale amount, 100%, directed towards supporting Assange’s defense through the Wau Holland Foundation.

2. Everydays: the First 5000 Days — $69.3m

Crafted over a span of 13 years by Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, “The First 5000 Days” is a digital art masterpiece comprising 5000 individual images. The compilation not only showcases computer-drawn elements but also incorporates some of Beeple’s hand-drawn works.

This notable NFT found its new owner in Vignesh Sundaresan, popularly known as Metakovan, following its sale at Christie’s in 2021. Christie’s, renowned for auctioning some of the world’s finest art pieces by iconic figures like Sir Joshua Reynolds and Leonardo Da Vinci, played host to the transaction.

Metakovan now possesses complete ownership rights to this unique collage, which features a diverse array of images, including snapshots of Jeff Bezos, depictions of homophobic stereotypes, representations of rap stars, and an image of Donald Trump superimposed over the White House.

As a testament to the growing significance of the metaverse, Metakovan has chosen to exhibit this NFT masterpiece within this immersive digital realm.

1. Pak’s ‘The Merge’ — $91.8m

“The Merge” is a unique creation, with its artwork evolving as more people acquire it and has approximately 28.8k owners.

Conceived by Pak, an artist of undisclosed identity, “The Merge” remains shrouded in mystery regarding whether it’s the work of an individual or a group. The project was offered for sale during a 48-hour period in December 2021.

Sold in parts called “mass,” the sale saw 295,417 units distributed among about 28,893 collectors, making it the world’s most expensive NFT.

What sets “The Merge” apart is its built-in scarcity mechanism, gradually decreasing the token supply over time. This mechanism involves each “mass” merging within the recipient’s wallet, increasing its value and culminating in the creation of a single coin.

Cryptopunks

Cryptopunks, is an NFT collection launched on the ethereum blockchain in 2017 by creators Matt Hall and John Watkinson, and consists of 10,000 unique 24×24 pixel art characters, each distinct in its design and attributes.

These pixelated characters, reminiscent of early computer graphics, have become iconic within the NFT space, symbolizing the intersection of technology and art. Notably, Cryptopunks are among the first-ever NFTs, predating the mainstream NFT boom.

Unlike many NFT collections, Cryptopunks were distributed freely to users in the early days of their release. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology ensures that each Cryptopunk owner holds exclusive rights to their digital avatar, fostering a sense of rarity and individuality.

The rarity and uniqueness of each Cryptopunk are encoded in its attributes, such as accessories, backgrounds, and even facial expressions. As a testament to their cultural impact, Cryptopunks have gained popularity not only among crypto enthusiasts but also within mainstream art and technology circles.

Beeple

Beeple, the digital art pseudonym of Mike Winkelmann, has emerged as a pioneering force in the world of NFTs, pushing the boundaries of creativity and ownership. Over the course of 13 years, Beeple has meticulously crafted a distinctive brand of digital art that resonates with the contemporary spirit of the internet age.

Beyond the sheer volume and diversity of his creations, Beeple’s art often delves into socio-political commentary, offering a reflection of contemporary culture. His work encompasses a myriad of subjects, from tech moguls like Jeff Bezos to societal issues and political figures, and he has become a symbol of the transformative potential of blockchain technology and decentralized ownership.

As a pioneer in the NFT space, Beeple’s influence extends beyond the digital canvas. His ability to seamlessly blend virtual and tangible elements has redefined the parameters of what constitutes art in the 21st century. With a distinctive style and an unyielding commitment to pushing artistic boundaries, Beeple remains a trailblazer, shaping the future landscape of digital and blockchain-based art.

Pak

Pak stands as a luminary in the world of digital art and crypto media, navigating the intersection of technology and creativity with a veil of anonymity. With over two decades of artistic presence, Pak has continuously pushed boundaries, harnessing evolving technologies to craft innovative artwork. 

As the founder and principal designer of Undream Studio and the visionary behind Archillect, an AI dedicated to curating and disseminating visually captivating content, Pak remains a trailblazer in the digital art landscape. Pak has firmly positioned themselves as a pioneering figure, renowned for impactful artwork, inventive token mechanisms, and the perpetual evolution of media.

Is this the Future?

Large purchases extend beyond traditional art, encompassing virtual real estate, virtual goods, and even virtual worlds. This diversification showcases the expansive possibilities within the NFT space, transcending conventional boundaries. The surge in large NFT transactions raises questions about the potential impact on traditional art markets. As digital assets gain prominence, there is a reevaluation of what constitutes valuable and collectible in the art world.

The NFT ecosystem’s growth is indicative of the transformative power of blockchain technology. Smart contracts, verifiable ownership, and decentralized platforms are redefining how we create, buy, and sell digital assets. NFTs represent a paradigm shift in how we perceive and exercise ownership in the digital age. The ability to truly own and trade digital assets with provable scarcity is reshaping the concept of possession in the virtual world.

A lifelong sports enthusiast with a recent interest in technology, Web3, and cryptocurrency. Every weekend you can find me watching football(soccer) and keeping up to date with stocks and crypto. Writing about the things I love and hopefully painting a picture for the reader.

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Editor's Picks

CS:GO Skins: A Digital Goldmine in the World of Video Gaming

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Inside the Economy of Illusion

Let’s talk about something wild.

If you have ever dreamt of making money out of your gaming hobby — you have probably turned towards livestreaming, social media or professional e-sports gaming.

Those are the usual suspects, anyway.

But there’s one class of investment that CS:GO has revolutionised — Skins. For an untrained eye skins were always just a gadget, something to make a person feel special, different than anyone else. But what if I told you that there are skins that go for tens of thousands of dollars?

And how You can make money on it?

How A Few Pixels Could Go For Such

Well, even before NFTs became a thing CS:GO was already making some hard cash

Back in 2013, the folks at Valve decided to spice up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive by dropping something called the “Arms Deal” update. And just like that, CS:GO skins were born. Think of skins as the ultimate gaming fashion statement. They don’t make you shoot faster or hide better (well, nowadays some of them have other perks on top), but they do make your weapons look epic.

And also make you extremely recognisable. Especially if you are a streamer on top of that, which can essentially boost the price.

Here’s where it gets interesting: these flashy skins quickly turned into something more than just digital swag. Imagine finding a digital sneaker in your game, only to discover it’s worth a small fortune in real life. That’s what happened with skins. They became a big deal, trading on the Steam marketplace like rare baseball cards.

The Wild West of Skins Trading

Beyond the official Steam marketplace, there’s an entire underground scene. It’s a bustling bazaar where skins are the main currency, and the rules of the game are decided by the players themselves. Here, a skin isn’t just a pretty accessory; it’s a ticket to the big leagues of virtual investment. Want to gamble, bet, or invest? Skins can do that. Ever heard of a gun skin selling for thousands? Yeah, it happens.

Examples? FuturePlay is now hosting a Dragon Lore AWP CS:GO Tournament and Giveaway, with a grand prize skin worth over $13,000. This tournament lasts till 15th June. Giving you an opportunity to enter the world of CS:GO investments easily.

But that’s not the only way of entering this investment world.

This phenomenon turned gamers into the Wall Street traders of the virtual world. They’re wheeling and dealing, making bold moves, and sometimes, making a killing out of their virtual inventory. It’s part startup hustle, part digital treasure hunt, and entirely a 21st-century phenomenon.

The Ripple Effects of a Gamer’s Gold Rush

But let’s get real for a second. The rise of the CS:GO skins economy isn’t just a cool story about gamer riches; it’s also a look into what we value. Digital or not, these skins mean something to people, to the extent they’re willing to pay real money for them. It’s a new way of looking at what ownership and value mean in the digital age.

Of course, with big money comes big questions — about legality, ethics, and above all, what it means for the future. It’s stirred up a lot of debates and made us rethink how virtual economies should operate.

What Lies Ahead

Is it going to have its up adn downs like the NFT market?

I’ll guess the answer is simply: no.

The CS:GO Skins market has been only frowing since 2012 (12 years now!) and it’s a stable market for investors and colectors.

As we dive headfirst into the future, CS:GO skins are more than just a lesson in digital economics; they are a symbol of gaming’s power to blur the lines between the virtual and the real. For players, traders, and curious onlookers, the economy of CS:GO skins is a playground of opportunity, a slice of the digital frontier where the thrills of gaming meet the realities of economics.

It’s a wild ride, and it shows just how far we’ve come in redefining what it means to be valuable. So next time you snag that rare skin in a game, remember, it might just be your golden ticket.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Want to know about the future play? Check us out!

Join the tournament and grab your chance to win a CS:GO Skin worth 13.000$

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