Gambling is more than just quick gains. Sometimes it’s about playing the long game. Collectibles is a regular feature that showcases the “gamble” around sought after digital & physical collections.
It’s no secret that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are hot commodities right now. The last month has seen records shattered as art enthusiasts vied to outbid one another for original digital artwork. NFTs are essentially ownership papers — digital art is incredibly easy to duplicate, but highly encrypted digital certificates which authenticate originality can’t be. Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs are stored on a blockchain shared ledger which adds to their security.
Why are NFTs experiencing such a boom right now? Well, it’s complicated. Firstly, their purchase is usually linked to cryptocurrencies, which are having a strong bull run at present. The value of Bitcoin and Ethereum has increased more than 400% since November 2020.
Secondly, the opportunity to own original, one-of-a-kind art has always thrilled people. Thirdly, they have the power of celebrity behind them, with the likes of Grimes, Steve Aoki and Jack Dorsey jumping on the bandwagon.
While industry experts predict that the bubble will soon burst, the boom shows no signs of slowing down just yet. Here are the most expensive NFTs sold to date:
7. Hairy by Steve Aoki
DJ Steve Aoki is famous for his collaborations with musicians such as will.i.am, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, LMFAO, BTS, and the Backstreet Boys. To produce Hairy, he teamed up with 3D artist, Antoni Tudisco.
The end result is a 35 second clip where a humanoid figure covered in blue and purple hair moves to music, growing more aggressive as time goes on. Is it art? Apparently. Is it creepy? Absolutely. The Hairy NFT sold for $888,888 last month.
6. Not Forgotten, But Gone by WhIsBe
Not Forgotten, But Gone is a 16 second video clip showing the spinning, golden skeleton of a gummy bear. No, you didn’t misread that sentence.
The bear appears in a golden box and holds a plaque reading ‘Dept. of Corrections, New York, NY, 6-6-07, Bear, Gummy.’ The NFT sold for $1 million. Street artist WhIsBe has also sold numerous other gummy bear-based NFTs.
5. Auction Winner Picks Name by SSX3LAU
Digital collage artist Slimesunday teamed up with electronic musician 3lau to create the ultimate celebration of 21st century technology – Auction Winner Picks Name.
As the title would suggest, the NFT offered the highest bidder the opportunity to name the project: a 2 minute 58 second song and an accompanying music video. The highest bidder paid over $1.3 million for the honor.
4. First Tweet by Jack Dorsey
After two weeks on the market, Jack Dorsey, who founded Twitter, sold an NFT for his first tweet to the sum of $2.9 million. The tweet from 2006 simply read ‘just setting up my twttr.’ The NFT was auctioned on the Valuables By Cent platform, and was purchased by the CEO of Bridge Oracle, a blockchain company.
Following the sale, Dorsey tweeted that the money would be converted into Bitcoin and donated to GiveDirectly, a charity which gives money to those in poverty.
3. Crossroads by Beeple
Created by digital artist Mike Winkelmann (known professionally as Beeple), Crossroads shows a defeated Donald Trump in the wake of the 2020 election. As digital figures walk past, a blue bird lands on his naked body and tweets the clown emoji.
The NFT sold for $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway — a cryptocurrency trader for digital artwork. In reaction to the enormous sum, Beeple tweeted just three words – “absolutely f***ing speechless.”
CryptoPunks are 24×24 pixel pieces of algorithmically generated digital art. If you played video games in the 80’s, they pretty much resemble a headshot of the characters. There are just 10,000 CryptoPunks in circulation and each one is unique.
Most of the avatars are human, but the catalogue also features a small number of apes, zombies and aliens. One such alien, CryptoPunk 7804, sold for $7.8 million, while five others have sold for over $1 million.
1. Everyday: The First 5000 Days by Beeple
When you think of a collage, you probably think of magazine scraps and a glue stick. Think again. The First 5000 Days is a digital collage featuring 5000 digital images of celebrity figures such as Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump.
Some entries work as social commentary, touching on the American political landscape, the Black Lives Matter movement, and pop culture. The work’s NFT sold at Christie’s, an auction house in London, for $69.3 million in March 2021. To date, it is the most expensive NFT to have ever been sold.