They run on the cryptocurrency blockchain and are hailed virtually everywhere as the most innovative and exciting form of investing around. The NFT universe is constantly evolving. For some, it is a bubble that will soon burst, leaving empty pockets for investors who have chosen to invest significant capital. For others, it is the new frontier of digital art, a revolutionary form of shared and decentralized work that will play a decisive role in saving the art market and protecting and rewarding creators. But overall, what are the most expensive NTFs in the world? Here is a ranking of the 10 non-fungible tokens that are selling at incredible prices to take stock of a phenomenon that is attracting more and more gallery owners, curators, talents and major luxury and fashion brands.
Pak, Elon Musk’s favorite crypto artist (or artist collective), sold this digital artwork on the Nifty Gateway marketplace for $91.8 million. 28,893 collectors bought 312,686 units of the work at a price of $299 per share, increasing by $25 every six hours. The NFT consists of three large white masses (the shape is almost oval) on a black background: the more masses buyers collect, the bigger the marbles become. As in Gestalt theory, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. “This is the first time that such a result has been achieved and, moreover, not through an auction house managed by a third party, but within a web 3.0 technology company”, commented with satisfaction Murat Pak.
Days of the week: the first 5,000 days
The massive 5,000-image JPG collage by Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple sold for $69.3 million (42,329 ETH) at Christie’s. The great thing is that anyone can download the work for free from the internet. The buyer who owns the cryptographic certificate of authenticity is the collector MetaKovan, pseudonym of the entrepreneur and programmer Vignesh Sundaresan: the starting price was 100 dollars. Beeple collected these images – they include everything from portrait and handwriting scans to photos of Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos – over the course of 5,000 days and put them in exact chronological order, from Day 1 to May 1 2007 to day 5,000 on Jan. 7 2021. “I’m like a political cartoonist, but instead of drawing, I use the most advanced 3D tools to comment on the news, almost in real time,” the visionary and irreverent graphic designer and movement artist explained to 2.4 million subscribers on Instagram.
Pack again: The digital artist has created an NFT to support the fight for the freedom of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who is wrongfully detained in Belmarsh maximum security prison pending a decision by the British justice on an appeal filed by his lawyers against extradition orders to the United States. The US government accuses Assange of alleged violations of the Espionage Act: the journalist published military documents on war crimes committed by US officials and authorities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the illegal base of Guantanamo Bay. If extradited, the Australian journalist faces up to 175 years in prison on 17 counts. The work was auctioned on the Juicebox platform and purchased by more than 10,000 “Cypherpunks” from the AssangeDAO collective for 17,422 ETH, or $55.8 million. Clock is a digital counter which indicates the days spent by Assange in prison in London. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Wau Holland Foundation and will be used to fund the legal costs of the appeal.
Beeple again, this time with a sculpture: after the 69.3 million collected by Everydays: The First 5000 Days, Christie’s auctioned this mixed work (it is a physical-digital hybrid) among the masses of the nocturnal salt of the 21st century art. Human One is not a real Non Fungible Token: it is rather a single coin accompanied by an NFT. The sculpture is a “box” (some have called it a telephone booth) made up of four interconnected LED screens in which the “man” moves, an astronaut walking between liquid surfaces and dystopian scenarios. The images are constantly changing and are drawn from a body of visual creations that Winkelmann is constantly updating throughout the work’s existence.
“While a traditional artwork is more like a finished statement, frozen in time the moment it is completed, this artwork’s unique ability to update makes it more like an ongoing conversation,” he said. Beeple explained. The prestigious London auction house has sold Human One for 28.9 million dollars. The buyer is the Swiss Ryan Zurrer, the founder of the venture capital companies Dialectic and Vine.
Launched in 2017 by software house Larva Labs (now part of Yuga Labs) and initially offered for free, the CryptoPunks series is based on the ERC-721 token and is one of the most sought after and coveted in the NFT world. The 8-bit, 24-pixel works, among the first on Ethereum, are 10,000 profile photos of punks in the form of zombies, aliens and monkeys: value and rarity vary based on individual traits, characteristics to clothes. The punk number 5822 (an alien wearing a blue bandana) was sold on OpenSea for the astronomical sum of 8,000 ETH: 23 million dollars. The owner is collector Deepak Thapliya, better known as Deepak.eth and CEO of Chain.
One of the punk CryptoPunks went beyond NFT markets and ended up being auctioned off at Sotheby’s. The profile picture of the “Covid Alien” (as he has been renamed) has an earring, wears a brown stocking cap and wears a mask. The original owner was Alex Amsel (aka Sillytuna), a blockchain specialist, NFT collector, and one of the advisors for Decentraland’s racing game Battle Racers. The sale at Sotheby’s in London was a record: 11.8 million dollars. The buyer was Israeli entrepreneur Shalom Meckenzie, principal owner of DraftKings, a kind of fantasy football for NFL football. And to think that just four months before this sale, a crypto collector had offered 20,400 ETH ($65 million) for this PFP.
The CryptoPunks series never ceases to amaze: profile picture number 4156, that of the monkey in the blue bandana, has changed hands several times, but the last sale was particularly significant: 2,691 ETH, then $10.26 million . It was put up for sale by collector @punk4156, who a few days earlier had complained publicly via social media about the meager income from copyright exploitation: a cap of $100,000 per year just for the merchandising and the “no derivative works” limitation, no derivative works Specimen 4156 is particularly rare since only 5% of the punks in the collection wear a bandana and only 0.24% wearing this garment are monkeys.
This profile picture number 3100 of a blue-skinned alien wearing a headband (but looks more like a rubber band to hold his hair in place while running or exercising) sold for 4,200 ETH, or 7.67 millions of dollars. The price is high due to the Alien skin which is only 0.09% of the collection. The fact that you only have one accessory (the headband) makes it even rarer. It is the combination of these characteristics that explains why the value of this NFT is so high.
The last CryptoPunk in this ranking is number 7804: the blue-skinned alien who wears sunglasses and a cloth “deerstalker” cap (similar to the famous “closed cloth cap” of Sherlock Holmes, but without a mask -ears) and smokes a pipe like that of detective Arthur Conan Doyle. It was sold along with fellow #3100 for 4,200 ETH, or $7.67 million. The current owner is Punks collector @peruggia_v.
Beeple closes this list with his third work in the top 10: a short animation in which the corpse of a giant Donald Trump, naked among the garbage and covered in insults, lies on a lawn in the indifference of passers-by, while Twitter’s blue bird calls him a clown, and a rainbow appears in the sky. A powerful and controversial message of revolutionary-reactionary political art that came before Democrat Joe Biden’s disputed record victory in the 2020 presidential election. The artwork was added by Nifty Gateway to “The First Drop” collection and bought by graphic designer Delphina Leucas, aka @babybeluga, for $6.6 million. Maybe the sequel will arrive in 2024?