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Deep dive into the most expensive NFT

Once upon a time, the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde said: “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” This expression is perfect for understanding the definition of the value of art.

But what exactly makes people spend millions of dollars on works of art that they can exhibit at home? Is it because of the bragging rights? What does art represent to them? Is it about the artist who created the work? Does it just look nice?

In particular, we will talk about NFT, non-interchangeable, and damn expensive tokens. Some of them were estimated at obscene amounts. However, before we look at some of the most expensive tokens sold, let’s first understand why these digital assets have increased in value.

Evaluating art is such a difficult thing because art, by its nature, has no intrinsic value. We do not eat it, do not drink it, do not wear it and do not use it for housing – the basic needs of any person. So what gives it value?

There are many factors involved in evaluating a painting, sculpture, or any kind of art:

  • Aesthetic appeal

First of all, the work must be aesthetically attractive. This standard may differ for each person, but the one who buys should feel comfortable when displaying works of art that he will see almost every day.

  • Biography, reputation and attractiveness of the artist

Sometimes art is defined by what is recognized and what people say about the artist. For example, even the smallest and simplest work by Pablo Picasso will eventually be very expensive due to his reputation in the art space.

  • The prospect of resale of the work

As in the case of real estate, works of art can be resold. Sometimes people can see the value of an aspiring artist and buy his early works, hoping to resell them in the future and make a profit.

  • Role in society

Another factor that plays a role in the value of a work of art is its role in society. Sometimes a work can become a story, and contribute to the understanding that society enjoys. An example is the painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, created in 1851 by Emanuel Leitze, which is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • How does the story affect the work

The story behind the work (if there is a fascinating story behind the work of art) can affect its value. Take, for example, “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” (1665). The famous portrait of Johann Vermeer, depicting a woman with a pearl earring, caused a lot of talk about the plot of the painting and how it was created. Who is depicted in the picture? How did he manage to convey the fantastic realism of the work? The more people talk about it, the more relevant the work remains.

  • Uniqueness

As a rule, the most unique works of art are the most expensive. It is the artist’s self-expression and creativity, and his ability to reflect our world, that give nuances to our culture. The more unique the work, the more desirable it can be.

What makes NFT Art so valuable

Does what makes paintings and sculptures valuable apply to digital art? Although the art sold as the most expensive NFT has a lot in common with the art sold as paintings or sculptures, the nature of each is completely different. Real paintings and sculptures usually have certificates of authenticity confirming their originality. NFT works of art have a similar certificate, but it is programmed in their code, not on a separate piece of paper.

Despite the differences, the factors determining the value of NFT works of art are similar:

  • Your perception of the work

What does this work of art mean to you? Is it something that you want to put on display, or a work of art that you want to keep in your collection?

  • The value behind the creator

Is the digital artist authoritative? What is their basic value?

  • Potential value

How much will this digital asset cost in the future? Does it belong to a promising artist or creator? Do celebrities support it?

  • Market value

How much are other works by the same author sold for?

All these factors affect supply and demand. NFTs are inherently low-supply as they are 1-to-1 assets. Therefore, what causes prices to rise and fall is demand. Log in to Coinmarketrate.com, and look at the value of cryptocurrencies. This mechanism drives demand.

Top Five NFT Sales of All Time

Now that we know what the value of these tokens consists of, let’s look at some of the most expensive deals with them:

Everydays: First 5000 days

Everydays is the work of renowned digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelman. Starting in 2007, he posted an image on the Internet every day, and then made a collage of the first 5,000 days to create this work.

Everydays First 5000 days
Everydays First 5000 days

Some of the images in this work are dedicated to such figures of pop culture as Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, and Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of the board of directors of Amazon.

The work was purchased for a huge sum of 69.3 million US dollars (which was paid for on the Air), which makes it one of the most expensive works of a living artist.

CryptoPunk № 7523

At the moment, NFTs are synonymous with CryptoPunks (as you will see later in the list). They dominate the digital art market, and four of their works are among the top 10 most expensive NFT ever sold.

These NFT-arts depict characters of 24×24 pixels in 8-bit style, which were released by Larva Labs in 2017. They represent a crypto-anarchist philosophy and were the first NFTs ever released on the Ethereum blockchain.

No. 7523, also known as Covid Alien, belongs to the CryptoPunks group with an alien variety – the most popular group. They have teal-colored skin, and 7523 specifically demonstrates this coveted alien skin with a surgical cap and mask.

CryptoPunks № 7523
CryptoPunks № 7523

Of the 10,000 CryptoPunks in existence, only nine have alien skin, making them more collectible than all the others. This copy, in particular, was sold for 11.8 million US dollars.

CryptoPunks № 3100

Given all the hype around No. 7523, it’s not surprising that another CryptoPunks with alien skin got on the list of the most expensive NFT sold (and it’s not the last one). No. 3100 depicts the same alien, only with a blue and white headband on his head, which distinguishes him from the other nine aliens.

CryptoPunks № 3100
CryptoPunks № 3100

This particular CryptoPunk was sold in March 2021 for US$ 7.58 million, and was immediately put up for sale again. It is currently at around 35,000 ETH, which at the time of writing is worth about 145 million US dollars. If it is sold at this price, it will cross out all other NFT sales in this list, and will be recognized as the most expensive NFT ever sold.

CryptoPunk № 7804

The third CryptoPunk alien included in this list depicts an alien smoking a pipe in a cap and sunglasses. It was also sold in March 2021 for US$ 7.57 million to an anonymous buyer who called himself Peruggia on Twitter.

CryptoPunk № 7804
CryptoPunk № 7804

Among 10,000 crypto punks, only 254 wear forward-facing caps, 378 smoke pipes, and 317 have small shadows. No. 7804 has all three of these attributes, as well as an alien skin, making it one of the rarest CryptoPunks, and the most expensive NFT.


To complete our list of the five most expensive NFTs, we return to Beeple’s work. The work, titled Crossroads, was a political statement by the artist that mocked Donald Trump, the former US president.


Although Trump was not Beeple’s first political target, “Crossroads” made quite a splash, and was sold for 6.66 million US dollars, as a result of which two of his works were included in the list of the most expensive works sold by NFT. This work appeared immediately after the election victory of President Joe Biden, and they say that if Donald Trump had won, we would have received another work, with the image of the former president with a crown walking through the flames.

The Emergence of NFT Art

There is no doubt that these record sales have created momentum in the NFT space. It currently shows no signs of slowing down and is likely to continue to shake the art world for the foreseeable future.

What awaits these compositions in the future? Will we ever say “crypto-punk” and “Mona Lisa” in the same comparative sentences? Now the future seems unclear. However, it also seems postivie. As for where NFT will lead digital art and artists along the way, we can only wait and see.

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