What Are the Most Expensive NFTs of All Time?

Rachel Curry - Author
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Feb. 15 2022, Updated 9:10 a.m. ET

There’s a new NFT king in town. A CryptoPunks NFT just sold for the most money of any individual on-chain NFT ever—$27.8 million. It blew past and more than doubled the previous record. What are the most expensive NFTs of all time?

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Here’s the rundown of six of the most expensive NFTs ever sold, including on-chain transactions, auction sales, and more. Plus, we'll cover why digital art bound by smart contracts is only getting more valuable.

CryptoPunk #5822 NFT sold for $23.7 million.

On Feb. 12, an NFT titled "CryptoPunk #5822" sold for 8,000 Ether (ETH), or the equivalent of $23.7 million at the time of purchase. This makes it the most expensive on-chain NFT (in contrast to off-chain auctions at places like Christie’s).

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A blockchain professional named Deepak Thapliyal bought the CryptoPunk NFT, which reflects Alien pixel art. Thapliyal is CEO of Chain, a blockchain infrastructure company. The purchase solidifies his dedication to decentralized finance and blockchain-based collectibles.

Thapliyal made the purchase using leverage from Compound Finance, an “algorithmic, autonomous interest rate protocol built for developers.” According to his Twitter bio, Thapliyal is also bullish on Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFTs, a sister token to Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).

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CryptoPunk #4156 holds the second spot.

The former most expensive on-chain NFT ever sold was CryptoPunk #4156, an Ape pixel art. It sold for 2,500 ETH, or the equivalent of $10.2 million at the time of purchase (less than half of its successor’s sale price).

An anonymous buyer purchased the CryptoPunk, and the anonymous seller netted $9.8 million in profit.

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CryptoPunk #3100 and CryptoPunk #7804 are next on the list.

Two more Alien CryptoPunks, CryptoPunk #3100 and CryptoPunk #7804, hold the third and fourth spots for most expensive individual on-chain NFTs ever sold, respectively.

As the seventh-rarest NFT, CryptoPunk #3100 sold for 4,200 ETH, or $7.58 million at the time of purchase. This transaction helped it surpass CryptoPunk #7804, which sold the previous day for 4,200 ETH or the equivalent of $7.56 million at the time of purchase. Rapidly fluctuating cryptocurrency values mean that an NFT that sells for the same number of tokens on different days can be worth different amounts.

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Pak’s "The Merge" and Beeple’s "The First 5,000 Days" are the most expensive off-chain NFT sales.

nft
Source: Christie's

Beeple’s "Everydays: The First 5,000 Days"

An NFT art piece called "The Merge" sold in December 2021 for a collective $91.8 million, netting the pseudonymous legacy creator Pak a huge sum. The purchase was a product of 28,983 collectors who banded together to purchase separate tokens, each reflecting a portion of the NFT. As more people bought tokens, the tokens steadily increased in price.

Artist Beeple auctioned the NFT piece “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days,” which sold to an individual bidder for $69.3 million. The piece is a collage of 5,000 pieces of Beeple’s artwork. He created an art piece a day beginning in 2007.

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Vignesh Sundaresan purchased the Beeple NFT. Sundaresan is a coder, blockchain technology angel investor, and founder of numerous companies.

Will NFT values continue to rise?

The myriad ways to purchase NFTs will continue to innovate. Factors like rarity, collectability, and utility in the Web 3.0 era are all important factors for NFT valuation growth. Some will flounder, while others will flourish. It likely won't be long until a new NFT leader takes the top spot.

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