Here is a list of the top 5 most expensive NFTs in history and why they cost that much

Temitope Akintade
The most expensive NFT to be sold ever is The Merge. It was created by PAK and was sold for $91.8m on Nifty Gateway on December 2, 2021…

Over the past two years, Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken a large share of conversations in the crypto space. Talks about the most expensive NFTs (digital artworks) are becoming increasingly popular and some of them are selling for as high as millions of dollars.

Two of the recent ‘NFT craze’ here in Africa are the Baba Onilu picture and Coffin Dance video sales.  But away from NFTs being sold for insane prices, which ones are the most expensive in history?

Let’s take a look.

1. The Merge 

The most expensive NFT to be sold ever is The Merge. It was created by PAK and was sold for $91.8m on Nifty Gateway on December 2, 2021. 

The picture itself consists of large white masses (dots) against a black background. It was sold to 28,983 collectors who purchased 312,686 units of mass (which were single NFTs). The starting price of these units was $575, which increased by $25 every six hours.

Top 5 most expensive NFT in history
The Merge NFT. Source: Barron’s

The more mass buyers accumulated, the larger their mass would become. The NFT has a built-in scarcity mechanism that ensures the token supply decreases over time. Every Merge token which is transferred merges with the token of the recipient wallet, resulting in a higher mass value and a single token.

There is a bit of controversy over whether it is the most expensive NFT to ever sell because it has multiple owners rather than a single person. 

However, it tops our list as the most expensive NFT ever to be sold.

2. The First 5000 Days

This is the second most expensive NFT sold in recorded history and the most expensive to be sold to a sole owner. It was created by Beeple as a collage of 5000 individual NFTs in every day’s series.

Top 5 most expensive NFT in history
The First 5000 Days NFT. Source: The Verge

It was sold to Vignesh Sundaresan with the pseudonymous MetaKovan for $69m at the Christies Auction House on February 21, 2021. 

Beeple pledged to create one piece of art every day in 2007, and the NFT is a collage of 5000 pieces of his work. That uniqueness coupled with the fact that Beeple’s artworks are top-notch made it that expensive. 

3. Clock

The clock is the third most expensive NFT in history. It was created by an anonymous artist – Pak and was sold to 10,000 people for $52.7m in February 2022. 

The story behind Clock NFT is quite intriguing. It was created to raise funds for Julian Assange’s legal defence after he was controversially imprisoned in May 2019. Assange is currently imprisoned on charges of espionage against the US Government.

Top 5 most expensive NFT in history

The digital artwork literally acts like a real clock, counting the days that the WikiLeaks founder – Assange has been imprisoned.

It was ultimately purchased by AssangeDAO – a collection of over 10,000 people pooling their money to purchase the NFT and support Assange. Each of them owns a share of the NFT. 100% of the proceeds went to the Wau Holland Foundation, which supports Assange’s defence.

4. Human One 

This is the 4th most expensive and the 2nd Beeple-created NFT to feature in this list. Human One was auctioned at Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale on November 9, 2021, for $28.9m. 

Human One NFT. Source: Bitcoin News

Human One is a digital/physical hybrid artwork designed by Beeple. It is a life-generative sculpture consisting of an astronaut wandering across shifting environments. It is said that the inspiration for the piece came from experiments combining multiple TVs into different shapes and patterns. 

The interesting feature about this NFT is that, according to Beeple, it can change, and he will update it in the future so as not to remain static.

5. CryptoPunk #5822

The fifth most expensive NFT in history was sold by CryptoPunk, an NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain. CryptoPunk #5822 sent the internet into a frenzy when it was sold for $23.7M on February 12, 2022. 

CryptoPunk #5822. Source: The Block

Looking at the rarity of the NFT, it has only one attribute. Only 2% of the collection has just one attribute, making it very rare. It has a bandana which only 5% of the collection share. 

CryptoPunk #5822 is part of the Alien skin, which is the rarest possible skin to have (0.09% chance). The high number of rare attributes has undoubtedly driven the crazily high price of this CryptoPunk.

There have been multiple bids of over 1000 ETH (~$3m) throughout the token’s life cycle. However, these have all been denied by the owner. The owner – 0xDeepak has listed it for tens of thousands of ETH on multiple occasions but it has not been collected.


NFTs are becoming more and more influential as the days come by. At the moment, there is no ceiling price for any digital artwork. You might hit a fortune if you enter solid projects early and luck shines on you.

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