Beeple and PAK dominate the Top 10 NFTs sales chart

By Raffaele Redi

Currency.com presents the first top 10 NFTs sales chart focused on primary sales

A smartphone, resting on dollar bills, displays Beeple’s NFT, Everydays: the first 5,000 days                                 
Beeple tops our primary market NFT sales list – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

While secondary sales are tracked, there is no official list for the top non-fungible token (NFT) sales on the primary market. Currency.com has traced them, looking at major auction houses and beyond. Our chart includes single NFTs and collections auctioned off in one lot and does not pretend to be exhaustive.

The NFT momentum began in earnest last year as Michael Joseph Winkelmann, aka Beeple, sold at Christie’s for $69m, making headlines worldwide. His collage of 5,000 NFTs, Everydays: the first 5,000 days, remains the single most expensive NFT ever – although a Pak NFT collection, the Merge, overtook the $69m sales price recently.

From 11 March 2021, the NFT space changed completely. NFT sales began increasing, new community and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) developed, and Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook as Meta, launching the metaverse or Web3.0, an augmented reality based on the NFT technology.

While the abbreviation NFT became the word of the year according to Collins Dictionary, NFT artworks began to be exhibited in galleries and museums.

However, NFTs have had to face up to criticism regarding their sustainability due to the underlying blockchain technology powering them, the lack of diversity in a male-dominated environment and, above all, on its inequality – NFTs are concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy collectors.

The top NFTs sell through major auction houses

Looking for new buyers while the world was easing lockdown restrictions, auction houses saw the possibility of expansion thanks to the metaverse. It comes as no surprise that the most valuable NFTs were sold by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

“With NFTs, auction houses have been able to inject into the market works that by-pass gallery, but for which an immense demand already exists and has even been bottled up for too long,” said Artprice.com.

“This paradigm shift fits in perfectly with a broader strategy by the auction majors of presenting works capable of attracting new buyers towards works whose prices can rocket. The ‘NFT’ phenomenon can be seen as a materialisation of this new strategy,”.

Top 10 NFTs sales

1. Beeple, Everydays: the first 5,000 days – $69m. In May 2007, Beeple set out to create and post a new work of art online every day, not missing a single day since and creating a new digital picture every day for 5,000 days straight.

One of the most unique bodies of work to emerge in the history of digital art was purchased by an Asian artist for a whopping $69.3m on 11 March 2021 at Christie’s.

2. PAK, The Clock, or Julian Assange NFT – $52.9m or 16,593 ETH. The NFT with a theme around Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by artist PAK sold to Assange DAO in February 2022. All funds would go to aid the defence of the WikiLeaks’ founder and publisher, who is facing a 175-year sentence if extradited to the US for revealing war crimes.

3. BeepleHUMAN ONE – $28.9m. The hybrid NFT sculpture achieved $28.9m in November 2021 at Christie’s. The sculpture is a generative work of art, a dynamically changing hybrid physical and digital piece, which the artist intends to seamlessly add and evolve creatively throughout his lifetime.

4. Yuga Labs, 101 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs – $24.4m. A set of 101 Bored Ape Yacght Club NFTs sold together for $24.4m, setting a new auction record for a single lot sold online at Sotheby’s in September 2021.

5. Larva Labs, 9 Cryptopunks – $17m. A set of nine Crypto Punks NFTs sold at Christie’s for $16.9m in May 2021, pioneering NFT monster sales.

6. Larva Labs, Crypto Punk #7523 – $11.8m. With his earring, knitted cap and medical mask, the Punk, sold at Sotheby’s in October 2021, represented a record for a single CryptoPunk until 2022 when a Punk resold fetched over $23m.

7. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, The source code for the worldwide web – $5.3m. The first digital artefact offered at Sotheby’s in June 2021. The video contains the original archive of dated and time-stamped files containing the source code, written between 3 October 1990 and 24 August 1991.

8. Mad Dog Jones, Replicator – $4.1m. The artist Michah Dowbak, known as Mad Dog Jones, utilised the mechanics of the smart contract embedded in the NFT to create a self-generating Genesis piece that continues to create new, discrete NFTs over approximately one year. The piece sold in April 2021 and marked the debut in the metaverse for the auction house Phillips.

9. Larva Labs, Bored Ape Yach Club #8817 – $3.4m. Still a record for a single BAYC NFT. It was sold at Sotheby’s in October 2021.

10. FEWOCiOUS, Nice to meet you I’m Mister Misunderstood – $2.2mOn this occasion, the NFT of Mister Misunderstood came attached to the real sculpture telling more about the story of the character.

PAK’s collections

Digital artist PAK was one of the pioneers of large collections with the scope of creating a whole community around his projects, normally intended to merge both NFTs and buyers.

One of his projects is the most expensive one in the NFT history, however, the amount results from sales of more NFT editions and operated across different days.

1. PAK, The Merge – more than $91.8m. Around 29,000 collectors snapped up 312,686 ‘mass units‘, which may eventually, at least in theory, merge into one NFT.

2. PAK, The fungible – $17m. The NFT collection marked Sotheby’s first NFT sale in April 2021 and the debut in the spotlight for the digital artist PAK. In total, the sale generated $16.8m in three days involving 3,000 buyers.

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