The world of NFTs is growing all the time, with more and more people getting involved in this new digital craze.
Like any other ‘boom’ we have noticed in the last decade, especially revolving around the internet, there is a huge surge of interest.
People who would once have laughed at the idea of an NFT are now avowed collectors.
Those who once viewed it as nothing more than another example of capitalism gone mad have seen the potential for huge returns.
And so, with that in mind, we now live in a world where the most expensive NFT changes on a regular basis.
In this article, we will try to break down the key factors in NFT pricing, and give some of the leading examples of hugely expensive NFTs that have proven this is an in-demand market.
What determines the price of an NFT?
The price of an NFT is determined by the market demand. Given that these are essentially collectible items, they are valued at the price someone is willing to pay for it in the first place.
For example, think about art for a quick moment. A photo of an apple sitting in a bowl might be, to you, worth a few dollars.
To someone else, though, the sentimental or emotional value of that piece might make it worth multiples of what you might pay.
So, the price is driven entirely by what someone might be willing to pay. That NFT might be worth a meagre $10 to Person A, but to Person B it could hold immense value and be worth $1000, or more.
So, the price of an NFT is not something that is really set in stone; this is not like buying something off the shelf with a recommended retail price (RRP). This is set by the seller, or more pertinently it is set by the demands of a buyer.
How much do NFTs start off at?
Again, the market demands this. Someone selling the ownership of a photo of Kyrie Irving scoring his title-winning three point shot for the Cleveland Cavaliers, for example, would start off at a pretty high price.
Something more miniscule and less culturally noticeable, though, could be much more realistically priced.
As an NFT is first put out there – or “minted” as is the term for such things – it is typically priced at around $50 to $150. That is a standard starting price, and then it is up to market demand and intrigue to help push that an extra layer or two further.
What makes an NFT rise in price?
There are numerous reasons as to why an NFT might suddenly balloon in price. For the most part, this is when the product is sold on what is known as a “secondary market”. An example of such a market would be OpenSea.
On OpenSea, people can buy and sell NFTs to each other and set the rate to whatever they choose, basically.
Again, the market determines the price. If there is not much demand, it might never rise above the floor pricing. If there is a lot of demand and interest, though, that price can skyrocket pretty quickly.
The determining factors in a price rise, though, can be matched more or less to the NFT itself. Just some of the factors playing a role in this rise will include:
The novelty. The novelty of an NFT matters. For example, some of the first ever NFTs sold at a high rate simply because they were the beginning of the trend and thus set the tone.
The popularity. An NFT based on something that is a big part of popular culture is more likely to fetch a high price than something from an obscure market that few people understand.
The hype. When an NFT starts to gain traction, community groups will speak about it openly and thus it will begin to gain a lot of traction. This can play a role in jacking up the price.
The interest. All it takes is one big NFT influencer or one ‘celebrity’ within a particular community to announce interest and soon there can be a great many people interested.
For example, Cryptopunk NFTs are going for a lot of money because they were among the first NFTs to be sold.
That creates a kind of minor history. It would be like being able to buy the first ever piece of clothing.
On its own the garment might not be very impressive, or even very useful, but it is a mark of history.
NFTs are growing all the time in popularity, and thus they are becoming something of a historical fad. Even if they eventually fade out from memory, there will still be a historical landmark around the first NFTs being sold.
If you were to have bought an early NFT before the market really took off as it has, you could likely re-sell it for a much higher fee. Why? For one, more people can now see the value in NFTs. Others want to get in on the fad before it explodes too much.
NFTs are a wider part of the cryptocurrency era. People who feel like they missed the boat there might try to get involved in NFTs, so they do not miss out for a second time. Naturally, this can have an impact on the pricing.
What are the most expensive NFTs?
So, we have tried to break down what drives the NFT market and why it can so often go out of hand in terms of the pricing and mechanisms related.
Now that you can understand better how an NFT is driven by price, let us take a look at the most expensive NFTs sold as of November 2021.
[Please note that NFT records are being broken all the time. For example, this August 2021 list of NFTs is great and already lots has happened since then, with many more new records. In the middle of a craze like this, the lists keep changing.]
1. Cryptopunk NFT #9998 ($532m)
So, at the time of writing, this particular NFT is the most expensive of all-time. It sold in late October 2021 for a whopping $532m in price (give or take). However, while this sounds insane for what is basically a little sprite drawing, it isn’t quite what it seems.
You see, allegedly and according to this Bloomberg article, the buyer bought this from a seller who was none other than himself.
The money was moved from one wallet to another, and the owner is the same person.
The ‘buyer’ was apparently loaned the money by others using what is known as a ‘flash loan’ – allowing people to loan dizzying sums of cryptocurrency if they met a certain contract criteria.
Some say this is a publicity purchase, to essentially have it covered in the news. Others believe that it was a means of ballooning the price of this particular CryptoPunk product. We will likely never know, but this is the most expensive NFT sale so far. Albeit with some caveats.
2. Everydays: The First 5000 Days ($69.3m)
The next highest on the list at the moment would be this particular piece from Beeple.
Beeple is beginning to build a Banksy-esque reputation within the NFT art world. This sold for a whopping $69.3m, and is a collage of some 5,000 different pieces of work from the artist himself.
This was the result of a project that ran from 2007, with Beeple intending to create one piece of art per day. This is the amalgamation of all of that art into one place, basically.
Given the amount of money that has been brought in for the purchase, though, it is safe to say that all of that hard work and effort must have paid off for Beeple – who is without doubt one of the biggest names in NFT art.
3. Cryptopunk #7523 ($11.75m)
Next on the list is another CryptoPunk drawing, this one pulling in well over $10m.
However, as you might notice, the price here is a fraction of the above two.
In a way, this shows the way that these NFT art pieces are skyrocketing in sales. We have gone from one of the largest being around $12m to being well into the $60m range – and then into the half-billion range.
This is the most expensive Cryptopunk that was bought by another person.
It’s the third rarest, apparently, and comes with a stupendous price tag to match that. We wonder how much the two rarest will eventually go for, should they ever be sold on for the kind of fees listed above.
Cryptopunk pieces are by far and away the most expensive option on the market, and this shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
4. Cryptopunk #3100 ($7.67m)
With his bald head and headband, you might wonder why this particular Cryptopunk has sold for so much. This ‘alien’ brand has become very popular among Cryptopunk collectors.
The inclusion of the headband was another deciding factor in the price. The Cryptopunk #3100 is regarded as being in the top ten rarest finds out there, so the fact it managed to net such a large price is no surprise.
This is a growing part of the trend, and a big reason why so many people today are so keen to keep buying up these Cryptopunk images.
As they continue to bring in interest and intrigue from across the spectrum, expect Cryptopunk #3100 to become another on the list of rare pick-ups.
NFT art is growing in value, and this one – the seventh rarest in the Cryptopunk set – was deemed to be extremely valuable as a result.
5. A Coin for the Ferryman ($6m)
This one-of-a-kind piece developed by NFT art legend XCOPY was able to sell on the SuperRare platform for a cool $6m. This took place in early November 2021, and helped to set it up as one of the most expensive NFT art pieces sold so far.
The piece is known as the Coin For The Ferryman piece, and it is regarded as one of the earliest creations by XCOPY. It is now a bit of a collector’s item, as many art pieces from the early careers of artistic names have become over the years.
As you can see, though, there is quite a lot of hype around this particular piece because it has more artistic roots.
As XCOPY continues to build their name in the community, early works that appear are being sold on for large value rates as people come to appreciate the work themselves.
Looking at the prices above, then, NFT art has quite a large value attached.
Whether we are talking about the famous ‘Disaster Girl’ meme photo being sold for well over $400k to the ‘Charlie Bit Me’ YouTube legend being sold for over $750,000, this is an industry with a huge number of big sales.
Expect this to continue.
While the #1 option on our list might be a little controversial at the moment, experts suggest it won’t be long until we see a more standard NFT art sale that hits this kind of figure.
Real life art has sold for tens, even hundreds, of millions in the past. After all, NFT art is simply following the same trend as real world art, is it not?
And if you want to stay up-to-date in the NFT space, follow us on Twitter for more tips!