• Grace Dickerson

Top 10 NFTs Sold

NFTs are the newest and hottest thing. Ever since the sale of Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” sold for $69.3 million, people have been stumbling over themselves to get in on the NFT action, whether or not they understand exactly what NFTs are. NFTs come with a unique blockchain which ensures the “original” copy’s originality in spite of the fact that these pieces exist on the internet, and can be looked at, downloaded, and replicated for free. In spite of this, NFTs have speedily become a nearly 400 million dollar industry, with the majority of this growth happening in only one month.


We have compiled a list of the top 10 highest selling NFTs of all time, although it should be said that these pieces have all been sold within the first few months of 2021, proof of the rapid acceleration to profit and popularity that the NFT market has seen.



1. Everydays: The First 5,000 Days- $69.3 million


Beeple is a huge player in the NFT game. Although he was previously unknown by the majority of the art world prior to NFTs he has quickly risen to the top of every NFT list with his digital collage of 5,000 pieces of artwork. Every day Beeple, also known as Mike Winkleman, creates and posts a piece of digital artwork, and this highest selling NFT features his enormous collection. This collage has shot Winkleman into a position as one of the highest paid artists in the entire world.


Much of Beeple’s artwork is controversial and inflammatory. One of his other popular pieces has been sold for 6.6 million and features a naked, graffitied and presumably dead Donald Trump laying face down in a park with people passing unaffected. Does the political and culturally relevant nature of Beeple’s artwork contribute to its popularity? Possibly, but either way there is no denying the immense success of his work.



2. CryptoPunk #7804 - $7.5 million


The second highest NFT sale can be attributed to Dylan Field the founder and CEO of unicorn startup Figma. One of 10,000 “Cryptopunks,” described by their creators Matt Hall and John Watkinson at Larva Labs as “uniquely generated characters.” Originally given away for free, they were one of the first NFTs on Ethereum, and were quickly claimed. Now these 24x24 pixel characters are being resold by their original owners for millions.



3. The first ever tweet- $2.9 million


Jack Dorsey, the billionaire founder of twitter, is selling an NFT of the first tweet ever. An exciting narrative is chronicled in the tweet, “Just setting up my twitter.” This tweet was sold to a Malaysian businessman for $2.9 million. Dorsey announced that the money he makes off of the sale of his tweet will be converted to Bitcoin and donated to relieve poverty in Africa through an organization called Give Directly.



4. Genesis Estate for Axie Infinity Game - $1.5 million


Selling plots of virtual land has become very popular in the NFT scene. This “Genesis” collection of nine virtual plots of land broke the record for the highest sold NFT in a virtual game. Genesis NFT plots have a “unique aesthetic” and a valuable position in the Axis virtual universe. The anonymous buyer, Flying Falcon, defended his virtual land purchase by stating in a tweet, “Genesis land plots are the rarest and best-positioned plots in Axie Infinity, they were a natural fit for my thesis.” This checks out, as players can even rent out their virtual land plots and increase their property value by holding in-game events on their land.



5. Rick and Morty Artwork- over $1 million

Justin Roiland, creator of the hit Adult Swim show, Rick and Morty, released some of his sketches as NFTs. Among the sketches were some of his original drawings of the famous characters, Rick and Morty, as well as some sketches of the Simpsons characters reimagined as “the Smintons.” His most successful NFT collection, entitled, “The Best I Can Do” garnered around $1 million. He declared that he was, “testing the boundaries of crypto art. What makes something valuable?” The auction house Roiland sold through informed the public that all proceeds were going to help homeless people in Los Angeles.



6. Hashmasks- $16 million

Over 70 digital artists from around the world came together via Suum Cuique Labs to create a collection of living digital art comprised of 16,384 unique digital portraits. This huge collection of artwork was sold for $16 million, with the most expensive piece sold for $650,000 and featuring a wacky demon-creature with devil horns and a halo. These graffiti-like paintings are said to be inspired by the work of 1980s New York City painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.


What sets Hashmasks apart from other artwork and NFTs is the interactiveness that the Hashmask creators have embedded in their work. None of the 16,384 pieces in the Hashmask collection are named, instead the buyer of the work is expected to give it a name, giving the buyer and owner of the work a piece of the creative process in a way that has not been done before.



7. NBA Top Shots- over $230 million


The NBA is known for their dedicated fans and the massive amounts of revenue they generate. NBA Top Shots have shot to the top in popularity and have generated millions. Top Shots operate as a digital trading card of sorts and feature a “moment” of a game such as a particularly exciting play such as a dunk etc. They are often sold in virtual trading card “packs.” The highest selling moment of Top Shot history thus far features a dunk by popular basketball star LeBron James that sold for $387,000.



8. WarNymph Collection- over $6 million

Grimes, a musician known for her experimental style and her partner Elon Musk, came out with a collection of 10 NFTs. This collection that she created with her brother, Mac Boucher,centered around the War Nymph, a recurring character in her work, and consisted of stagnant images and animated videos featuring original music. The collection featured both unique pieces and pieces with thousands of copies available. “Death of the Old,” the highest selling piece in her collection, sold for $389,000 and was a music video featuring a cherub flying while Grimes’ original song played in the background.



9. Hairy- $888,888.88

This 3D figure of a blue and purple hairy man was developed by popular electronic music artist Steve Aoki with the help of 3D artist Antoni Tudisco. The figure, named Hairy, dances to Aoki’s music. The $888,888.88 price tag for Hairy was not only attention grabbing, but it set a record for the most expensive piece sold on NFT platform, Nifty Gateway.



10. Nyan Cat- $590,000

Ten years ago a gif of a poptart cat flying through space took the internet by storm. This year, Chris Torres, its creator, remastered his original creation and auctioned it off on a NFT platform called Foundation. Someone bought the beloved internet meme for over half a million dollars. In addition to selling this iconic meme, Torres has also licensed his creation so it can be featured in games or made into toys. Torres lauds NFTs, “It gives power to the creator… The creator originally owns it, and then they can sell it and directly monetize and have recognition for their work.”



Whether or not you agree that a collection of pixels that you could look at for free counts as priceless, high end art, these digital items are being sold as such, and it is a fascinating process to watch.

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