A Look Into the Most Expensive NFTs #3: Celebrity NFTs

Since NFTs started taking off in 2021, we’ve seen a lot of hype from celebrities getting in on the new tech. It definitely makes sense as NFTs solve a number of issues within the art and music industry where royalties and ownership are more clear-cut on the blockchain.

We took a look at how celebrities have embraced the NFT space and how they’re currently doing in the market.

This is the third piece of our series on Most Expensive NFTs. See our previous articles: A Look Into the Most Expensive NFTs: #1 Ethereum and A Look Into the Most Expensive NFTs: #2 Tezos.

Jay-Z x Derrick Adams on Sotheby’s

Weeks after Jay-Z showed his interest in NFTs by changing his profile picture on Twitter to a Cryptopunks icon, the legendary artist minted his first NFT via a Sotheby’s art auction last summer. This 1/1 NFT, called “Heir to the Throne” (or full name: “Heir to the Throne: An NFT in Celebration of Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt 25th Anniversary by Derrick Adams.”) commemorated the legendary artists’ debut studio album.

Composed of a single animated image of the original artwork rendered in bright colors, multi-layered textures, and flat surface dimensions, the image was inspired by his and artist Derrick Adams’s experiences with “life in the urban streets.” The piece began at $1,000 and ended with a $139,000 winning bid. A share of the proceeds from the sale to go to the Shawn Carter Foundation and other charities Jay-Z supports.

Grimes on NiftyGateway

Grimes has been in the tech space for years, her music and visuals aim to push boundaries, so it’s no surprise that she also dropped NFTs early on this year.

Her Newborn series was comprised of 4 white-listed collections of 100 NFTs minted at $20. The sale was immensely successful: the NFT Newborn 1 peaked at $7,999.99 over the summer, with a floor price now still at $1,100. 

Overall, the series has grossed over 1 million US$ in sales since February:

Earlier this month, Grimes uploaded a TikTok discussing the gamification of NFTs such as Axies, showing she is still very much in the space and passionate about the tech.

3LAU’s Ultraviolet Album Sale

3LAU’s NFT album all NFT record sales when he dropped his own album as an NFT in February 2021, which he sold for close to $4 million USD.

The first album ever to be tokenized and sold, it offered the buyer a physical vinyl, but also access to unreleased music and a custom song by 3LAU!

The limited-edition NFTs dropped as an auction that would reset the timer if higher bids rolled in: at the end of the auction, the price had reached 3,666,666 USD in two days, setting an incredible precedent for NFT records.

Paris Hilton x Blake Kathryn on NiftyGateway

Bedroom Bliss by Paris Hilton x Blake Kathryn

Paris Hilton, the queen of social media and now NFTs, has been heavily in the space all year promoting tech, art, and supporting new artists. 

Her drops partnered with NFT star Blake Kathryn to mint NFTs that have Paris’ trademark colors and style all over it. The visuals are intricately detailed, and include sound, offering an immersive experience to viewers.

Despite significant price fluctuation, Paris Hilton’s NFTs on NiftyGateway have seen plenty of secondary market sales, generating several hundred thousand dollars:

Rac on NiftyGateway

Rac is one of the original artists to launch NFTs, and one of the artists with the most expensive NFTs sold. Earlier this year, he launched a 1/1 NFT titled The Object which ended up auctioning for 300,000 USD.

The auction winner received 8 of the limited edition silent auction NFTs and 1 limited edition signed vinyl from the artist.

Eminem on NiftyGateway

Eminem was one of the celebrities to ride the NFT wave in April 2021. His first NFT collection dropped on NiftyGateway and quickly sold out, while also doing an AMA on Discord. 

Despite a very limited involvement within the NFT community, and his pieces currently reselling at about 50% of their original price, Eminem’s venture should still be qualified as successful. His NFTs generated lots of sales on secondary and grossed over $1million USD in the last months.

Mike Shinoda on Tezos

Mike Shinoda, musician from Linkin Park and Fort Minor, got into NFTs however strayed away from the juggernaut Ethereum and decided to focus his energy on Tezos, a chain popularized for making #cleanNFTs (NFTs that use less energy to produce).

He has hosted numerous spaces on Twitter and Twitch with other artists and Tezos evangelists to push the chain and NFTs to artists. His work is a mix of his passions: music, art, and tech.

His 3 biggest NFTs have grossed over $300,000 USD to date:

His latest collection, Ziggurats, are generative NFTs using both sound and art. It minted for 24 hours in December, with some with much higher floor prices already.

We already see musicians like 3lau build their own platforms, NBA stars like Steph Curry buy Pudgy Penguins, and A-list actresses like Reese Witherspoon enter the NFT space with a World Of Women NFT. With NFTs now mainstream, will we continue to see celebrities choose to launch their next projects on the blockchain?

Looking at past performances of projects, it seems that the NFT ecosystem appreciates celebrities that take the space seriously. Projects are likely to have more loyal holders when the artists are more active in the space and believe in the tech and art that they are dropping.

Sure, celebrity does not equate with systematic success with NFTs (John Cena has been vocal about his attempt at NFTs he deems a “catastrophic failure”). However, it is also clear that a significant part of the most expensive NFTs was sold by celebrities, making ‘fame’ a huge factor in the equation.

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