Top Ten Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold

Introduction to the NFT Phenomenon

Back when NFTart was emerging, nobody saw the phenomenon that would follow in 2021-2022, that digital artworks would fetch staggering sums. While initial hype has cooled, the trend continues. Traditional art auctioneers like Sotheby’s now hold regular NFT sales, crypto investors and artists frequently hold or mint a multichain NFT portfolio, and some consumers are purchasing certain NFTs as a store of long-term value. 

The excitement around NFT sales is showcased by running through the top 10 most expensive NFTs ever sold. In this article, we discuss the value of high-priced NFTs and their impact on digital asset markets. We also review the continued explosion in the popularity of NFTs and how it could lead to more record-breaking sales in the future, thanks to fractionalization methods driving ownership of fractions of a single NFT. 

The Top Ten Countdown

Our list focuses on NFTs that were purchased by a single wallet holder. In ascending order of dollar value, here are the top 10 highest dollar value NFT sales:

10. A Coin for the Ferryman by XCOPY – $6.02m

9. Everyday Ocean Front #4344 by Beeple – $6m

8. Ringers #879 (The Goose) by Dmitri Cherniak – $6.2m

7. CryptoPunks #5577, #3100, #7804, $7.5m to $7.7m each*

6. CryptoPunk #4156 – $10.26m

5. TPunk #3442 – $10.5m

4. CryptoPunk #7523 – $11.7m

3. CryptoPunk #5822 – $23.7m

2. Human One by Beeple – $28.9m

1. Everydays: the First 5000 Days by Beeple — $69.3m

*Actually top 12, as we grouped three closely-priced CryptoPunks in 7th place. 

Exploring the Value Behind NFTs

Intrinsic to NFTs is digital proof of ownership, copyright and licensing, giving NFTart the ability to command prices previously only seen with physical art. NFT market trends have shown that the astronomical prices of NFTs are driven by a number of factors including scarcity, rarity, artist reputation, demand, and historical significance. For example, some of the most expensive NFTs sold have been for one-of-a-kind works by well-known artists. NFTs may also be valuable because they are associated with a celebrity or represent a significant cultural moment. 

The Impact of These Sales on the NFT Market

Record NFT sales draw massive attention to their project of origin. Many cite record-breaking sales as healthy for the NFT market. But could there be some drawback? Here is a look at some pros and cons. 


  • Elevated interest and hype: As prices in the millions grab headlines, they attract  new investors and collectors to the NFTart space. The thinking goes that if one can be worth so many millions, its listing platform must be full of other worthy investments. 
  • Price Benchmarking: When one CryptoPunk fetches $7m or $11m, others  with  identical traits are priced at a similar level. This cascades to subsequent levels, from thousands to dollar NFTs. Measuring past sales against rarity traits provides the market with a price guide. 


  • Unsustainable Inflation: For a good to be valuable, it must be scarce. Expensive NFTart can lead to the over-inflation of other goods. Consequently, when rapid deflation occurs, when demand can’t meet over-hyped supply, investors who got in at the peak are left disappointed. 
  • Overly Speculative: Art NFTs have the potential to be highly speculative, with collectors purchasing them solely for investment purposes. This speculation could create an unstable market, leading to price volatility and a bubble. A rapid rise in market prices will be followed by a crash. So it’s always important to evaluate whether NFTs are being sold above their true value. 

The NFT Revolution: A New Era of Digital Art Ownership

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have transformed the concept of digital ownership by giving individuals more control over their digital assets and interactions. Utilizing blockchain technology, NFTs ensure security, transparency, and verification of ownership, which helps mitigate the risk of fraud, thereby building trust in digital transactions.

No longer do artists need to rely on intermediaries or gallery owners to showcase their talents. Artists can now authenticate their digital masterpieces, sell them directly to their fans, and even earn a percentage of future sales through smart contracts embedded within the NFTs. 

What the Future Holds for NFT Valuations

NFTs continue to bring revolutionary new means of digital art ownership. The latest wave set to change the landscape lies in fractional or tokenized NFTs – when multiple individuals own fractions of the same digital art. 

How and if this model of shared ownership will influence art valuation is still unknown. Regardless, the market’s maturity, adoption, and evolution will remain contributing, (and potentially,​​ driving), factors in art valuation. 

Breaking Records: The World’s Most Valuable NFTs

Our top ten list would be incomplete without mentioning NFTs that not only sold for a record price, but also signal the trend of fractionalized ownership. 

Clock -Julian Assange and Pak, $52.7 million (16593 ETH) 

Purchased using funds donated to the AssangeDAO, the sale resulted from over 10,000 people banding together. Backers of the AssangeDAO fundraise to secure the freedom of Julian Assange. 

The Merge – Pak, $91 million

28,983 collectors purchased 312,686 total units of this artwork. This price was a record for an artwork sold publicly by a living artist.

Free Ross – Ross Ulbricht – $6.12 million 

This is a crowdfunded effort by the FreeRossDAO. The sale includes the digital rights to paintings and drawings Ulbricht has made in prison, along with a childhood drawing and an essay. Ulbricht was given 2 life sentences for creating the famous silk road dark web marketplace, and the DAO supports efforts to free him. 

From Beeple And CryptoPunks: Icons of the NFT Marketplace

Beeple, also known as Mike Winklemann, began his journey before NFTs were a thing, creating a piece of art daily for 13 years straight.  An icon within the NFT space, Beeple’s story represents the perseverance and grit needed by artists. 

CryptoPunks was a computer science 2-person team who devised how to generate each ‘punk’ individually, according to algorithms. Once the patterns and variables for traits were set, 10,000 punks were minted at random, instantly becoming iconic as the first-of-a-kind pfp (profile picture) NFTart. 

CryptoPunks and Beeple have heavily influenced NFT market trends, and their influence continues to guide the evolutionary direction of the market. CryptoPunks introduced the concept of uniqueness and scarcity in digital art, influencing many NFT projects that followed. Beeple’s record-breaking sales highlighted the potential of digital art, propelling the market to new heights. His works also exemplified the growing trend of blending art with social commentary. 

Owning these NFTs can act like status symbols and VIP passes to an exclusive virtual club, or even to real world gatherings and events. Owning certain types of NFTs and enabling their use as avatars has become a global experiment in digital identity, furthering the iconic status of the earliest pioneers. 

Understanding the Value: What Drives NFT Prices 

Several factors determine the value of NFTs and drive their pricing. Here’s a few of them: 

  • Artist or Creator Significance: who is behind the work? A creator’s track record, a well known artist, a pioneer of some sort, a celebrity, can significantly impact art value.
  • Rare and Scare: limited editions and unique works carry weight in the NFT world. Collectors will always value the scarcity of an NFT over other items in a collection as the rarest item [typically] commands the highest price. 
  • Utility and Functionality: does the NFT provide the owner with exclusive rights, access to an experience, or is it a means of generating revenue? 
  • Historic or Cultural Significance: an NFT’s tie to a cultural event, an achievement, or as a commemoration of a historic milestone could drive up its value. 
  • Collaborations or Partnerships: collabs between bands, artists, celebrities, and brands can attract publicity and subsequently the demand of an NFT, driving up its price; especially when said collaboration resonates with buyers.  

The Future of NFTs: Trends and Predictions

Future NFT prices and market dynamics aren’t the easiest to predict. But judging by sales volume, liquidity, and the number of new entrants, there is more to come. 

At Ilunafriq we believe the future of NFTs lies in cross-chain NFT marketing and management. Our platform is built for artists who long for a single showcase portal for their multi-chain NFT portfolio. Sign up today for free.

Times may have cooled somewhat since some of the NFTs on this list sold. However, there will be more record-busting sales as NFTs continue to grow and evolve, particularly with innovations such as fractional ownership enabling multiple parties to hold pieces of an NFT. If previous record-breaking sales were derived from communities pooling together, sale records based on fractional ownership of tokenized NFTs could be unlimited.  


NFTart continues to have a cultural and economic impact on the broader art world. Christie’s and Sotheby’s now regularly hold NFT auctions that meet the strictest fine art criteria. Furthermore, NFTart has changed the economic aspects of dealing art as these assets have fluidity and instantaneous transfer by transacting on the blockchain. 

Though the hype was initial, we remain bullish on NFTs, believing that they are here to stay, grow, and evolve. 

This is not investment advice.