Despite the pandemic, the growth in cryptocurrencies and blockchains was immense in 2021. It affected both infrastructure and market capital. NFTs became stronger as well, demonstrating record sales. Both traditional art galleries and auction houses introduced NFTs via new platforms and succeeded.
Non-fungible tokens known as NFTs have proven that almost anything can be tokenized and sold out. The market has shown that it is ready for this kind of new art and can produce really big sales.
Let’s take a look at the 7 most expensive NFTs that were sold in 2021, providing exponential growth in this part of the digital market. You can find the updated information on the prices on ICOholder or other informational websites.
1.Beeple. Ocean Front
Ocean Front, sold in March 2021, cost $6 million. It was really impressive and made its creator, Mike Winkelmann, working as Beeple, one of the most famous and successful NFT artists.
Ocean Front sends a straightforward message about climate change. It shows an image of a tree which grows on the platform made of used containers, trailers, and other technological waste. This NFT is a part of ‘Everydays’ series and introduces a caption and idea of ‘Together we can solve this’.
<blockquote><p>The profit from the sale has been sent to The Open Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization whose motto is ‘improved management of planet Earth’</p></blockquote>
2.XCOPY. High-Click and Save As Guy
This NFT was sold for $6.57 million or 1,600 ETH in December 2021. The seller was SuperRate platform and the buyer was Cosimo de Medici, a musician also known in the world of digital art as Snoop Dogg.
XCOPY is a digital artist from London whose images are devoted to the topics of death, indifference, and destruction. He is a successful author who has sold over 1,900 of his artworks. His NFTs are becoming more and more popular in the world of digital art and they make up a great asset.
The name of the NFT is a well-known mock phrase used for those who do not believe that NFTs can be valuable. Later, in September, Snoop Dogg would buy another NFT from XCOPY. It was Some Asshole, and it cost him $4 million.
This is one more digital masterpiece from Beeple and another NFT of his that gained an honorable place in the 2021 list of the most expensive NFTs. It was sold by the Nifty Gateway platform for $6.6 million. That happened in February 2021 preceding the immense success of other Beeple’s work – Everydays: The First 5000 Days.
<blockquote><p>This NFT was created as a response to the 2020 presidential elections. It had two versions – one created for Donald Trump’s victory, and the other – for his defeat</p></blockquote>
Like many other NFTs, this work involves a digital signature protected from duplication and a reliably encrypted video file.
This NFT was bought on the 11th of March 2021, and its price was 4,200 ETH or $7.67 million. It is a part of the famous NFT CryptoPunk collection, and it is the earliest example from it.
CryptoPunk #3100 had been created before NFTs became immensely popular in the market. The collection was released on the Ethereum’s blockchain in 2017, and it contains several other samples that have gained still more popularity and proceeds, such as CryptoPunk #7523, sold for $11.7 million by Sotheby’s auction held online.
CryptoPunk was bought by an unknown owner, and it is currently for sale. It is one more interesting fact about it.
You may wonder why this simplistic image is so expensive. The explanation is very simple, and it can be as follows. CryptoPunk collection comprises several items that were the first collection of NFTs designed on the ETH blockchain. That is why it is regarded as immensely remarkable. The collection is limited, so only a few people can purchase and own one of these NFTs. That is another explanation of the high value.
5.Beeple. Human One
Beeple seems the most successful digital artist of 2021. His Human One was sold for $28.9 million at Christie’s. The auction was held in November 2021.
The artwork is a combination of digital and physical sculpture, providing an unforgettable experience.. It is a hybrid including video and kinetics, and it is meant to represent development of artwork over time. Beeple has retained the right for remote access and control over the piece’s content despite this sale.
The NFT features a lonely astronaut striding the deserted world. The picture reminds of the Earth’s landscapes with sand dunes and faded plants. Everything is seen in decay and perversion. Noah Davis, the Head of Digital Sales at Christie’s, shared his impressions of the piece as ‘polished hallucinations’. This work can be regarded as the Everydays series continued in a renovated shape with the completely new approach.
6.Beeple. Everydays: The First 5000 Days
This is one more Beeple’s masterpiece from the Everydays collection. Its sale broke all possible records with the price of $69.3 million paid for it. It is an outstanding collage of 5,000 digital images. The NFT was bought by Vignesh Sundaresan who paid 42.329 ETH for it. This is a well-known Singaporean cryptocurrency investor who does a lot for NFTs’ development and introduction in the market.
Some images here represent the public figures, such as Donald Trump or Jeff Bezos, and others reveal different sides of human life. Some of them were severely criticized for certain misogynistic, racial, or homophobic stereotyping. The project was inspired by Tom Judd, an American artist, in 2007. The idea was to create an artistic image for every day of the next 5,000 days in a row, and its implementation is fascinating.
7.Pak. The Merge
This NFT is an open project presenting mass tokens which are compatible with other tokens in collectors’ wallets. A single owner can gather as many tokens as they want, and that changes the overall image and increases the final mass. The project is a product of the anonymous artist known as Pak, and it has distributed 250,000 NFTs to 26,000 different collectors for a total amount of $91.8 million. The big purchase was held in December 2021.
<blockquote><p>The project challenges all the existing standards of digital art. Though sold in pieces, it has a great potential to be collected and unified in one piece of art</p></blockquote>
The co-founder of the Nifty Gateway platform, Duncan Cock Foster, has already admitted that it is the largest sole artwork sold publicly in pieces. The NFTs here are fully encoded on the blockchain and their metadata is reliably encrypted.
As you can see, NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are gaining more and more popularity as digital art pieces and investment means. You may consider some prices as not reasonable because there are still many people who question the overall viability of such forms of digital art.
However, as the year of 2021 showed, digital creations can earn millions. It means that all the possible doubts are likely to vanish soon. Even if we wonder why some NFTs are even pricier than certain well-known fine art pieces, the previous year has shown their prospects and attractiveness to both collectors and NFT artists. It means that, despite the high price, NFTs have a great future.