The hype over non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that overtook news cycles and crypto markets in 2021 has died down. Despite 2023's cooler market, NFTs continue to generate billions of dollars in trading volume. Sales of certain NFTs are still breaking the million-dollar mark, such as in February when Yuga Labs' “Golden Key” netted $1.6 million. This year also includes the $1.4 million sale of CryptoPunk 5066 and the $1.3 million purchase of a Bored Ape. In 2022 the highest sale of an NFT, CryptoPunk 5822, was for 800 ETH, at the time worth a whopping $23.7 million.
In some rankings you’ll see The Merge by Pak leading the list, but for our methodology we decided to limit the all-time list of most expensive NFTs to sales of single-edition NFTs rather than sales of open-edition NFTs. The Merge is a collection of 312,686 NFTs that were sold to 28,983 collectors over a few days in December 2021 for a total of $91.8 million. Pak also would have made the list for another open edition called “The Fungible” collection, which netted $16.8 million in sales over three days in April 2021. Don’t feel bad for Pak, though. The artist still made the list and holds the No. 2 spot.
Will any sales break into the top 10 most expensive NFTs? Here’s where the competition stacks up:
The 10 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold:
- Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple – $69.3 million
- Clock by Pak – $52.7 million
- Human One by Beeple - $28.9 million
- CryptoPunk 5822 – $23.7 million
- CryptoPunk 7523 – $11.75 million
- TPunk 3442 – $10.5 million
- CryptoPunk 4156 – $10.26 million
- CryptoPunk 5577 – $7.7 million
- CryptoPunk 3100 – $7.58 million
- CryptoPunk 7804 – $7.57 million
Here’s more information about each of these pricey digital artworks:
1. Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple
The NFT is a digital collage made up of 5,000 individual images that Beeple created every day (hence the title “Everydays”) for over 13 years. It was sold at Christie's auction house for $69.3 million in March 2021, making it the most expensive NFT ever sold.
2. Clock by Pak
This NFT is a clock that tracks the number of days that WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange has been imprisoned and raised funds towards Assange’s legal defense. Clock was sold for $52.7 million in November 2021 to AssangeDAO, who collectively raised the money to buy the piece.
3. Human One by Beeple
Beeple returns for the No. 3 spot on our list with Human One. This piece is unique in that it has both a physical side and a digital component that changes according to Beeple’s input, and will continue to change throughout the artist’s life. Human One was sold for $28.9 million in November 2021.
4. CryptoPunk 5822 by Larva Labs
The profile pic (PFP) NFT is one of 10,000 unique characters that were created in 2017. CryptoPunk 5822 is a rare "alien" punk, a trait which only nine CryptoPunks share. It was sold for $23.7 million in February 2022.
5. Cryptopunk 7523 by Larva Labs
Another rare CryptoPunk that netted a hefty price is another avatar with the "alien" trait that sold for $11.75 million in June 2021 in an auction run by Sotheby’s.
6. TPunk 3442 by TPunks
7. CryptoPunk 4156 by Larva Labs
CryptoPunks continues to make the list with this "ape" PFP. CryptoPunk 4156 was sold for $10.26 million in December 2021 and made headlines not only for its price, but also because it was the avatar for the investor then known as Punk4156, who changed their name to simply 4156 after.
8. CryptoPunk 5577 by Larva Labs
Yep, CrypoPunks again. This one also has the rare "ape" trait as well as a cowboy hat and sold for $7.7 million in February 2022.
9. CryptoPunk 3100 by Larva Labs
This CryptoPunk is another with rare “alien” traits like the other high-priced CryptoPunks on the list, selling for $7.58 million in March 2021.
10. CryptoPunk 7804 by Larva Labs
If you haven’t caught on yet, CryptoPunks with the “alien” trait are the most coveted, and this final entry on the list has it as well. It sold for $7.57 million in March 2021.
An AI contributed to writing this article, which was edited and fact-checked by our editorial staff.