The top five most expensive NFT purchases in 2021

·3 min read

From Bored Ape Yacht Club to CryptoPunks, everyone in the cryptocurrency industry has become aware of the non-fungible token craze following a year of incredible volume, record sales and brand partnerships that look to take NFTs mainstream.

A form of digital status and a subtle ‘flex’ of wealth or early entry to a community, owning the rarest and most desirable NFTs has now become the latest status symbol for crypto-native investors.

Coin Rivet looks at the top five most expensive NFT sales of 2021 and the reasons behind their hefty price tags.

1. Beeple – EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS – $69.3m

Now-famous artist Beeple set the NFT space alight in March when he auctioned his landmark piece – EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS – at leading auction house Christie’s.

The piece represented the lifetime work of Beeple, who created a new digital picture every day for 5,000 days straight from 2007 through to day 5000 in January 2021.

Beeple EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS Coin Rivet
Beeple EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS Coin Rivet

The work represents Beeple’s – whose real name is Mike Winkelmann – lifetime work in the form of a collage

Following a frenzied period of bidding at the auction from late February to March, the NFT was claimed by Vignesh Sundaresan – also known as MetaKovan.

The sale marked the third-most-expensive work ever by a living artist and also introduced the world to NFTs on a grand scale – leading to the start of the incredible year for NFTs.

2. Beeple – Human One – $28.9m

Beeple’s second inclusion on our list, the sale of ‘Human One‘ in November marked the second high-profile NFT and the first venture into ‘physical’ NFTs for the artist.

The artwork. which also comes in digital form, features a “lone astronaut, forever striding through the wastes of a vaguely familiar world” and is capable of changing its visuals based on the time of day.

Beeple Human One Coin Rivet
Beeple Human One Coin Rivet

Human One features dynamic artwork that changes based on the time of day

Also sold at Christie’s, the sale of ‘Human One’ took Beeple’s overall 2021 earnings from NFTs to over $100m as he also sold ‘OCEAN FRONT‘ for $6m to Tron founder Justin Sun in March.

3. CryptoPunk 4156 – 2,500 ETH ($10.2m)

The $10m purchase of Punk 4156 marked a stellar year for CryptoPunks after the collection saw a resurgence in 2021 thanks to the hype surrounding the space.

One of 24 ‘Ape’ Punks, the Punk sold earlier in December for an astonishing 2,500 ETH thanks to its iconic status within the NFT community and scarce nature.

Punk 4156 remains one of the most recognisable Punks available

The sale marked the highest ever sale of an NFT in dollar value from the open market and not at auction – coincidentally stealing the top spot from two other CryptoPunks which are next on our list.

4. CryptoPunk #3100 – 4,200 ETH ($7.67m)

Punk #3100, which is one of only nine ‘Alien’ Punks – was purchased in March for 4,200 ETH each and held the top spot before Punk 4156’s entry to the list.

‘Alien’ Punk 3100 is one of the rarest Punks available

Little is known about the buyer, who splashed out $7.67m on the highly sought-after CryptoPunk. However, thanks to the highly desirable nature and rarity of the Punk, many feel that at the time, the Punk was worth its hefty price tag.

5. CryptoPunk #7804 – 4,200 ETH ($7.57m)

Much like the previous Punk, Punk #7804 is another ‘alien’ that sold for 4,200 ETH in March.

‘Alien’ punk 7804 is recognised as one of the most aesthetic punks available

Slightly cheaper than the previous Punk due to the price of Ethereum at the time of purchase, the punk has become synonymous in the NFT space thanks to its visually pleasing aesthetic and collectable nature.

Honourable mentions

Other top NFT sales throughout 2021 include the $7m purchase of ‘Right-click and Save As guy‘ by prominent collector ‘CozomoMedici’, a $6.6m ‘Zombie’ CryptoPunk sale and the highly-publicised $6.4m purchase of Ross Ulbricht’s debut NFT ‘Persistence’.

*Data was sourced from nonfungible.com and was correct at the time of writing.

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