Top 10 Most Expensive NFT Sales So Far

Top 10 Most Expensive NFT Sales So Far

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity recently, with some selling for millions of dollars. As the NFT market continues to grow, we have seen truly staggering prices paid for these digital assets. In this article, we will explore the 10 biggest NFT sales to date.

“You can now own anything from digital art to memes as an NFT. The transparency of blockchain lets you verify ownership and the scarcity creates immense value for rare pieces.”

What makes an NFT so valuable varies – it can be the artist’s reputation, the story behind it, its scarcity, or innovative use of technology. But the results are certainly eye-opening, with multi-million dollar price tags that perplex traditional art collectors.

№10 CryptoPunk #3100 – $7.67 Million

CryptoPunks are algorithmically generated pixel art characters, with just 10,000 in existence. Their scarcity and generative nature makes certain rare attributes highly coveted by collectors.

Punk #3100 is one of just 9 extra-terrestrial “aliens” from the collection. This alone gives it huge value. Add to that its single headband accessory, putting it amongst just 406 Punks with that trait. Such attributes combined to sell for a whopping $7.67 million on March 11, 2021.

In October 2022, the current owner tried reselling #3100 for nearly $10 million but found no takers.

№9 Pak’s The Merge – $91.8 Million

Perhaps the most unique and ambitious NFT on our list is The Merge by artist Pak. Rather than just a single digital artwork, The Merge is comprised of three virtual planet-like spheres that increase in size based on the number of owners.

Over 28,000 collectors purchased units to collectively spend $91.8 million on this record-setting NFT in December 2021. The Merge represents an evolution of digital scarcity and community ownership. As Pak commented, “This demonstrates what’s possible when you decentralise access and distribution.”

What The Merge Represents

The Merge has left a profound impact on the NFT landscape. It represents not just million-dollar sales, but how NFTs can enable shared participation in digital art. Allowing over 28,000 collectors to own part of this dynamic artwork shows the democratic possibilities of blockchain technology. As Pak intended, The Merge blurs the line between the physical and virtual worlds – a theme we can expect more exploration of.

№8 Beeple’s Human One – $28.9 Million

Digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, is one of the most recognised names in NFTs. He made history selling multiple works for tens of millions each. Beeple’s HUMAN ONE NFT was auctioned by Christie’s in November 2021 for $28.9 million.

This sale came on the heels of his record-breaking Everydays NFT at over $69 million. So what is Human One? It’s a unique digital sculpture of an astronaut, displayed with evolving scenery and landscapes over time. The physical kinetic sculpture exists in the real world, moving when its NFT artwork changes as well. This hybrid approach between physical and virtual captivated buyers.

№7 Clock by Pak and Assange – $52.7 Million

In February 2022, an NFT titled Clock sold for $52.7 million. Created by artist Pak and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Clock is literally an artwork of a clock counting the number of days Assange has been imprisoned.

The aim was to raise funds and awareness around Assange’s continued detainment. Over 10,000 people contributed to buying Clock and donating it to AssangeDAO, supporting his legal case. This shows the unmatched ability of NFT technology to blend artwork with activism.

Assange remains imprisoned as his lengthy legal battle continues. The funds raised were able to support other awareness campaigns around his detainment as well.

№6 CryptoPunk #5822 – $23.7 Million

CryptoPunk #5822 holds the distinction of being the single most valuable CryptoPunk ever sold publicly. One of just nine ultra-rare aliens, the blue bandana accessorizing #5822 certainly contributed to the $23.7 million price tag in February 2022. The buyer, CEO Deepak Thapliyal posted on Twitter about his new prized NFT acquisition.

There has been increasing interest in the CryptoPunks in recent months by prominent collectors. More public figures proudly displaying these in online profiles could continue to stoke demand. But aliens and apes might already be reaching their limit unless interest skyrockets.

№5 CryptoPunk #7523 – $11. 75 Million

While CryptoPunk #7523 comes from the popular CryptoPunks series, it stands out as even rarer than #5822. Only one of nine extraterrestrials, #7523 generated tremendous bidding interest at Sotheby’s ‘Natively Digital’ auction in June 2021. Its final price tag: a staggering $11.75 million.

Besides its rare alien type, #7523 also wears the equally uncommon surgical mask accessory. Let’s provide some quick context – when the COVID pandemic broke out in 2020, the artist who created CryptoPunks aptly released some new accessories, including masks. Out of the collection of 10,000, just 177 Punks wear this new 2020 trait. So you have an ultra rare alien punk, with a topical surgical mask, selling at the peak of NFT mania. No wonder collectors competed fiercely for it at auction!

This shows how both provenance and current trends contribute towards spectacular valuations with certain non-fungible tokens.

№4 CryptoPunk #4156 – $10.26 Million

CryptoPunk #4156 holds the distinction of the largest price gain for any Punk sold publicly. In May 2021, it traded hands for $1.25 million. Just seven months later in December, the bandana-sporting ape punk sold again for a monumental $10.26 million! Talk about ROI. The lucky December buyer likely felt it was still a bargain given the mania around CryptoPunks at the time.

The huge jump epitomizes the rollercoaster ride of hyped NFT valuations in 2021. For #4156’s buyer, their multimillion-dollar monkey may keep paying off if the wider NFT market sees a resurgence. But such optimism remains speculative.

№3 TPunk #3442 – $10.5 Million

In March 2022, Tron founder Justin Sun purchased TPunk #3442 for 120 million TRX, valued at $10.5 million. The rare collectible is one of just six ‘Joker’ variants in the collection of 10,000 unique avatars. Even more impressively, Sun instantly resold #3442 for the same price to the APENFT Foundation to display in their metaverse gallery.

That symbolic gesture may be even more culturally significant than the headline-grabbing purchase price itself. As Sun showed, expanding accessibility for high-valued NFTs through metaverse galleries helps more people interact with this avantgarde artform.

№2 Beeple’s Everydays – $69.3 Million

When Beeple’s aptly named ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ NFT sold for a groundbreaking $69.3 million in March 2021, it catapulted digital art and NFT awareness into the mainstream. The artwork itself is also fittingly monumental – a collage of 5000 individual images Beeple created each day for 13 straight years!

Christies describing it as “a unique work by an acclaimed digital artist” likely relieved some hesitant traditional art collectors. But such staggering prices largely come down to the community driving up valuations. The iconic nature of Everydays and Beeple’s story contributed to frenzied interest. But even one of the most famous NFTs benefits from hype cycles.

The new owner, crypto investor ‘Metakovan’ called it “the most valuable piece of art for this generation”. Only time will tell if that prediction holds true in posterity. But regardless, Beeple ushered in a digital art renaissance which we continue benefitting from.

№1 Pak’s The Merge – $91.8 Million

And so we arrive back at our number one. Earlier we covered the unique concept behind Pak’s The Merge NFT and how over 28,000 collectors raised $91.8 million collectively acquiring it. As a rapidly shifting digital sculpture representing the merging of realities, The Merge exemplifies the bleeding edge of crypto art while making it financially accessible to tens of thousands of people globally.

It is the future Pak envisioned, saying: “As we move closer together across all boundaries, it becomes more and more apparent that the old models of centralized control cannot sustain us.” Decentralized ownership of The Merge reflects that very ethos Pak describes.

No other NFT before or since has sold for a higher price. Which brings us to the final, and perhaps most important question: what does the mind-boggling sale of The Merge mean for culture in an increasingly digitized society?


From radical experiments in ownership like The Merge to iconic collecting crazes like CryptoPunks, NFTs promise to keep shocking observers with evermore astronomic sales. But are seven-figure NFT valuations the best signifiers of cultural impact?

Perhaps more crucially, crypto art seems positioned to empower more creators than ever before using NFT trading dynamics. Digital artists in particular gain greater independence while attracting support from collector communities. Even if current mania subsides until the next hype cycle, NFT infrastructure now penetrates art, gaming, fashion and beyond.

Just as the earliest internet pioneers could hardly predict its evolution over 30 years, NFT technology remains very nascent. We certainly cannot foresee what innovation and adoption the next decades will bring. But early indications point to an expanding digitization across creative fields using blockchain models.


What are the main NFT marketplaces?

The largest NFT marketplaces are OpenSea, Rarible, NBA Top Shot, and Magic Eden. OpenSea leads with the biggest collection and trade volumes, followed by Rarible. But niche marketplaces like NBA Top Shot for sports moments and Magic Eden for Solana NFTs continue gaining momentum.

What risks exist buying expensive NFTs?

Despite explosive growth, the NFT market retains volatility and speculation. The recent crypto winter also rapidly cooled the market. This can mean decreased floor prices or demand for newer projects. Without utility or community attachment, overpaying for PFPs and hype-driven collections carries significant risk. The safest high-value NFTs come from artists with prestige and cultural footprint.

Which are the most popular NFT collections?

CryptoPunks continue reigning as the bluechip NFT collection with Combinations, BAYC, Azuki, Moonbirds and VeeFriends representing newer additions with high trade volumes. However most weekly volume comes from highly specced collections perpetually launching and crashing thanks to influencer and whale manipulation.

How do artists establish high valuations for their NFT drops?

Reputable artists like Beeple, Pak and FEWOCiOUS developed their personal brand and art style for years before entering web3. Combining an early community of collectors with genuine scarcity and cultivation of hype sustains demand. Lesser known artists struggle proving legitimacy and uniqueness early on.

Could regulations affect expensive NFT prices?

Regulation remains a background threat if authorities interpret NFTs as securities. Most jurisdictions assess crypto assets on a case-by-case basis. Over-promising future utility or profit sharing returns could cause scrutiny. But responsibly managing a community and avoiding Investment terminology circumvents most regulatory tripwires currently.