It took years before NFTs became multi-million dollar investments.
- First created in 2014, NFT trading only happened to a small subset of people in the know-how.
- In 2017, Cryptopunks launched and it was the first profile-picture collectible NFT collection. It became the blueprint for most PFP collections today.
- Fast forward to 2021, and NFTs are now mainstream, with celebrities all over buying and minting their own pieces, and the noun ‘NFT’ having been voted ‘Word of the Year 2021’ by Collins dictionary.
In this new series, ArtCentral takes a deep dive to look into the most expensive 1/1 NFTs sold, with this first part dedicated to Ethereum, the largest chain for trading NFTs.
1. Everydays: the First 5000 Days — $69.3 million
When you think of most-expensive NFTs sold, the first name that comes to mind has to be Beeple. His iconic $69 million-sale of 5,000 of his artworks, minted as a single token, in early 2021 was a turning point for NFTs to be recognized as investable, valuable assets.
And a historic moment in the cryptospace: it was, and still is, the highest price paid for a single NFT.
This unique compound piece was bought by Metapurse, an NFT studio and crypto fund. They have been collecting NFTs since 2016 and had previously purchased another of Beeple’s work for $2 million.
When looking at Beeple’s floor prices for his current works, you can see how the sale may have been a good investment. Just one Beeple NFT can be worth over $69,000. Multiply that by 5,000 and you’ve got something worth potentially $345 million. Not too bad indeed…
2. CryptoPunk #7523 — $11.75 million
Claimed for 0.2ETH in 2017, the punk was resold a few weeks later by the buyer for 8ETH, a quick and significant profit. But in March 2021, the very same piece was sold for a record-breaking $11.75 million through a Christie’s auction by SillyTuna, one of the largest shareholders of Draftkings.
Several bids have been put in since then, including a giant bid last October of 20,400ETH (around $87 million!) which did not come through.
No doubt the buyer believed in the significance of being not only the most expensive Cryptopunk sold yet, but the only alien cryptopunk with a face mask. (A symbol for the biggest events of 2021: NFT and the Covid-19 Pandemic?)
3a. Cryptopunk #3100 and — $7.5 million
Before the Sotheby’s auction in July, two Alien Cryptopunks were purchased in March for 4,200 ETH each (around $7.5 million at the time of sale!) Back then, this broke all records of most expensive NFTs sold.
This particular punk was sold by Figma’s CEO, Dylan Field, who had bought the punk in 2018 for 12 ETH — an astonishing amount back then. In an interview, he outlined how he believed it to be the Mona Lisa of punks, with a sticky image that he could not stop thinking about.
Years later, he decided to make a point and set it for the record-breaking price of 4,200 ETH. His goal was to prove that there are others out there that value digital identities such as Cryptopunks as much as he did. And his point was proven ten fold, as sales records continued to climb.
The buyer of the punk later went on to bid and purchase on even more punks adding to their growing collection. They have so far spent 5,653 ETH on 16 different punks. There’s no doubt that they have invested with conviction and believe Cryptopunks a must-have for any investor.
More records could follow, as the punk also received a bid for 20,400ETH ($87 million) in October, but has not yet been resold.
3b. CryptoPunk #7804 — $7.5 million
Just a day after the record-breaking sale in March, another alien Cryptopunk was picked up for the exact same price. It was purchased using a new wallet that transferred funds in right before bidding the same amount on this punk as the 4,200 ETH bid placed the day before. The same wallet also purchased an Etherrock for 400 ETH.
Is the buyer the same buyer as #7804? We don’t know. However, with their Etherrock purchase, we know that they are serious about collecting and investing in provenance.
Cryptopunk #3100 has also seen offers for 20,400ETH (about $87 million), which compared to non-Alien Cryptopunks (currently selling for 60 to 100 ETH) is absolutely monumental.
Out of all 5 types, Aliens are the most rare and most expensive:
In terms of overall rarity, this headband wearing Alien Cryptopunk comes in 7th.
It is currently listed for sale at 35,000 ETH (a whopping $111 million) which would break all records if sold.
5. Beeple’s Crossroad — $6.6 million
Finally, another important sale in the history of most expensive NFTs is Beeple’s Crossroad. A dynamic 1/1 that changes based on the American presidential outcome. Beeple showed what could be done with the ERC 721 contract.
It was sold by @pablorfraile who had originally bought the NFT for $67,000 in October and is one of Beeple’s first collectors.
As mentioned before, many other 1/1 Beeple NFTs also see meteoric prices.
BONUS: Pak’s Merge on Niftygateway — $100 million
Although not for a 1/1 NFT, another historic moment in NFT art sales just happened a couple of days ago when Pak sold 257,077 NFTs for over $100 million. His last collection, LostPoets, launched 3 months before, had raised $70 million.
Sold through Niftygateway, Merge was, in Pak’s style, an interactive experience where your NFTs are able to merge with each other. Through merging, the NFT is burned by sending it to a burn contract, decreasing supply over time.
While this is sold as a collection with several collectors, in theory this could eventually become a 1/1 if someone were to collect each NFT and merge them all.