It isn‘t news that crypto is one of the most popular topics worldwide. And considering the latest events and the sudden changes in the cryptocurrency industry, it is understandable that almost everyone is talking about it, and so the number of crypto investors is increasing remarkably.
And among all the topics related to crypto, NFTs pique users’ curiosity with each passing day. Quite of a newcomer to the market, not only does this type of crypto asset challenge digital artists’ creativity, but it is an excellent opportunity of earning crypto through personal creations.
Thus, to prove how fascinating and profitable NFTs are, we will talk about some of the top NFT sellers and the most expensive non-fungible tokens ever sold.
NFTs at a Glance – How Do They Work?
Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that can be transacted online with cryptocurrency. The intriguing thing about them is that they are art pieces in many formats and can be created online or based on real-world assets.
Usually, NFTs can be collectibles, in-game avatars, photos, videos, GIFs, music, and many more. They are stored on blockchains and differ from one another, thanks to the computational metadata used for encoding them. And this is one of the most exciting facts about NFTs: there are not two such digital assets that are the same. For instance, while 1 BTC is just like another, an NFT will never have a counterpart.
Furthermore, unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs cannot be traded for one another unless their price tags are equal. And considering the so many NFT projects on the market with various features and unique details, this is quite improbable.
Why are NFTs Important?
Besides revolutionizing the art industry, NFTs come with great benefits for everyone. For instance, they can be considered an evolution of the basic crypto concept. Who would have thought that our generation would buy pieces of digital art to have them stored on a blockchain?
Another advantage of NFTs is their significant contribution to market efficiency. Digital artists do not need an agent and can connect directly to their audiences, as everything is conducted online. And when talking about market efficiency, certain businesses can benefit from NFTs, too. For example, a physical product having an NFT will be followed easier. This way, a buyer can learn more about its production, provenance, and the rest of the selling process.
How Are NFTs Valued?
Because NFTs base their existence on crypto, they are also driven by supply and demand. However, these are not the only two things determining an NFT’s value. For instance, the price can change based on information such as who developed the NFT or what artists or influencers say about a specific art piece.
Furthermore, an NFT’s value is impacted by utility, rarity, tangibility, social proof, interoperability, ownership history, speculation, and many more factors.
Top NFT Sellers
NFTs have become so popular that more artists start their NFT-creating journey daily. But some NFT creators are and will probably remain among the top sellers on the market.
Larva Labs Studio
Larva Labs Studio developed one of the most popular NFT collections: CryptoPunks. The two Canadian developers behind the project are Matt Hall and John Watkinson, and they founded the company to write apps for T-Mobile Sidekick. After creating 50 such apps and 20 more for Android and iOS, the two software developers started working with blockchain technology. Besides CryptoPunks, Matt and John founded blockchain projects such as Meebits and Autoglyphs.
Larva Labs Studio has strong client relationships with renowned companies, including Google and Microsoft.
Founded in 2017, Tron developed TPunk, another popular NFT collection. The Tron team focuses its work on accelerating the decentralization of the internet through DApps (Decentralized Applications) and blockchain technology.
Since the MainNet was launched in May 2018, the Tron network has gained more than 113 million users and almost 4 billion transactions on the blockchain.
Beeple, also known as Mike Winkelmann, is a graphic designer from the US who primarily focuses on creating short films, VR/AR work, and Creative Commons VJ loops. Beeple worked on various concert visuals for famous artists such as Eminem, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Bieber. One of the most popular Beeple NFT is The First 5000 Days.
Formerly known as Murat Pak, the digital artist preferred to keep his identity unknown. However, speculators suggest that Pak would likely be a team instead of a solo creator. Besides being well-known for creating the curation platform called Archillect, Pak is famous for working with non-fungible tokens.
Until now, Pak’s total artwork value has reached more than 200,000 ETH, with 66,529 artworks already sold.
Founded in February 2021, Yuga Labs is the creator of the world’s largest NFT project: Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The collection consists of 10,000 NFTs with an average price of $118,000 per artwork. The identities of the Yuga Labs founders remain unknown. However, the company was spearheaded by two individuals who used the pseudonyms of Gordon Goner and Gargamel.
Chiru Labs was founded in Los Angeles and has four anonymous founders who work under the pseudonyms of Zagabond, 2pm.flow, location tba, and HoshiBoy. However, one familiar face users may see at Chiru Labs is Arnold Tsang, a conceptual artist in the gaming industry. He is working on Azuki, which is their NFT project. Azuki gained much popularity since its launch and has a collection value of 129,039 ETH.
Founded in 2018 by Roham Gharegozlou (CEO), Mik Nayeem, and Dieter Shirley, Dapper Labs is based in Vancouver and currently has a valuation of $7.6 billion. One of the most popular projects ever developed by Dapper Labs is CryptoKitties, a blockchain game that allows users to purchase, breed, collect, and sell virtual cats with ETH.
Top 10 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold
CoinGecko’s latest NFT research has shown that 50% of the top 10 most expensive NFTs ever sold are part of the CryptoPunks collections. And even if Larva Labs Studio dominates the market with the most NFTs in the top 10 list, these artworks still sum close to 20% of the total sale value for the top.
10. CryptoPunk #3100 – $7.57 Million
Sold on March 11, 2021, CryptoPunk #3100 is one of the 9 Alien CryptoPunks from the CryptoPunks collection. It is the collection’s rarest punk type, and it has one particular attribute – a white and blue headband. Considering the fact that only 450 punks have it, it is clear that rarity impacted its high selling price.
9. CryptoPunk #5577 – $7.7 Million
CryptoPunk #5577 was bought with leverage in February 2022. The buyer is Robert Leshner, the founder of Compound Finance, and his $7.7 Million acquisition has the “Cowboy Hat” attribute, which may explain the NFT’s price.
8. CryptoPunk #41562 – $10.26 Million
The eighth most expensive NFT ever sold is unique for many reasons. Firstly, it was featured in one of Beeple’s artworks. Then, CryptoPunk #4156 proceeded to launch Nouns, another renowned NFT project.
Sold on December 21, 2021, the artwork brought a tremendous profit to the last buyer, as it was initially purchased nine months earlier for $1.25 million.
7. TPunk #3442 – $10.5 Million
Created by Tron, TPunk is another version of CryptoPunks. In August 2021, the co-founder of Tron bought TPunk #3442 for $10.5 million. The artwork has similar features to Joaquin Pheonix’s Joker, and the buyer’s status undoubtedly influenced its price. The NFT was then donated to APENFT, a Tron-based project dedicated to tokenizing artwork on the blockchain.
6. Alien CryptoPunk #7523 – $11.75 Million
Larva Labs Studio created only nine “Alien” punk types, and CryptoPunk #7523 was sold for the surprising amount of $11.75 million. Its mask reminds of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus giving a special significance to the NFT. It was bought by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of DraftKings, and it has various special features, such as a knitted cap and earrings.
5. CryptoPunk #5822 – $23.7 Million
CryptoPunk #5822 is currently the most expensive CryptoPunk ever sold. It was purchased in February 2022 by Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain. The NFT’s selling value reached $23.7 million, and it is one of the 333 punks with a bandana.
4. HUMAN ONE – $28.9 Million
HUMAN ONE is Beeple’s first real-world artwork, a 3D moving sculpture with four screens. It shows an astronaut exploring places at different times and represents the artist’s determination to create artwork outside digital space.
Although Beeple does not own the NFT, he remotely accesses and updates it regularly, as this art piece is developed with the thought of changing with time.
3. Clock – $52.7 Million
The third most expensive NFT ever sold has quite an intriguing and questionable story. Pak created the Clock to raise funds for Julian Assange’s defense following his 2019 detention. The artwork shows the days since Assange was imprisoned, and it was sold for $52.7 million in February 2022 to Assange DAO.
2. The First 5000 Days – $69.3 Million
Created by Mike Winkelmann or Beeple, The First 5000 Days shows the artist’s creations which he aimed (and managed) to complete during 5000 days by creating one piece of art per day.
The NFT was sold at Christie’s for almost $70 million, with the first bid of approximately $100.
1. The Merge – $91.8 Million
The most expensive NFT ever sold was created by Pak, and it was auctioned on December 6, 2021, on the Nifty Gateway marketplace. It was divided into 312,686 pieces and held by 28,983 investors; thus, it is fair to say that it was a collection of works people could purchase.
With a simple design featuring three white masses on a black background, the three objects increase based on how much mass investors acquire. Furthermore, the NFT has an inbuilt scarcity mechanism ensuring that the token supply declines in time.
The NFT industry is exceptionally profitable and allows creators to express themselves and earn crypto based on their artwork. The impressive amount of NFTs on the market is impacted by factors such as rarity, utility, tangibility, social proof, or ownership history.
Though there are some popular NFT creators on the market, there are always artists who can become as popular as the others, depending on their art pieces and the interest investors have in those.
While the top 10 list of most expensive NFTs ever sold includes many creators, CryptoPunks remains dominant in the top, covering 50% of the places and 20% of the total sale value for the 10 NFTs.