The five top-selling NFT projects of all time

What are the top-selling NFT projects of all time? Here, we look at the collections that have enjoyed the most success in recent years

Top brands in television, movies, sport and games are examining how they can get involved in th NFTs – Photo: Shutterstock


The non-fungible token sector is in a state of flux right now.

After a box office year in 2021, sales have cooled, something that can be partly attributed to the wider downturn in the crypto markets.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that questioned whether NFT sales were flatlining. Figures suggest there are now five NFTs for every single buyer, indicating the markets are saturated.

However, it is a little too early to write off crypto collectibles altogether. Coinbase recently launched its own NFT marketplace, and a partnership with Mastercard means digital art can be easily purchased using a credit card. Instagram is rolling out support for NFTs too, a move that could introduce this asset class to a new mainstream audience.

At the same time a number of top brands spanning TV, movies, sport and games are examining how they can get involved in this burgeoning space, with new use cases for the technology that underpins non-fungible tokens emerging all the time.

In this article, we're going to take a look at the top-selling NFT projects of all time.

1. Axie Infinity 

Figures from DappRadar show Axie Infinity is far and away the top NFT project. Since launch, the play-to-earn game has attracted trading volumes of $4.23bn – with a whopping 2.1 million buyers and sellers worldwide.

Non-fungible tokens play a starring role in the game itself. Animated characters called Axies can be purchased and sent into battle, and victors are rewarded in SLP tokens. Some players have even managed to go professional and make a living from this blockchain-based title, especially in parts of South East Asia.

However, it has not all been plain sailing for Axie Infinity, which was developed by Sky Mavis. In April, crypto worth $625m was stolen when the Ronin Network was hacked. This blockchain is a crucial part of the game's infrastructure, not least because it serves as a bridge to the Ethereum network. It is the biggest hack on record, undermining confidence in the project and the technology it was built upon.

2. CryptoPunks

Next up in our rundown of the most popular NFTs, we have CryptoPunks. Created by Larva Labs, this Ethereum-based collection consists of 10,000 characters. Each has distinctive attributes such as bandanas, cowboy hats and tobacco pipes.

Since launch, CryptoPunks have achieved a trading volume of $2.81bon. Its NFTs have even been traded in some of the world's best-known auction houses. In June 2021, when the markets were booming, one went under the hammer at Sotheby's for $11.8m. CryptoPunk #7523 was quite a topical choice considering it was wearing a mask.

Aside from their scarcity, a big reason why CryptoPunks are so valuable lies in their being one of the earliest NFT collections in existence. They were launched in 2017 by Larva Labs.

3. Bored Ape Yacht Club

While third in the rankings of top-selling NFTs, Bored Ape Yacht Club will rank highly in terms of public recognition. This, in part, is linked to the fact that countless A-listers are proud owners of these cartoon collectibles: Jimmy Fallon, Madonna and Justin Bieber among them.

Like CryptoPunks, just 10,000 Bored Apes exist and they are based on the Ethereum blockchain. Each NFT consists of an ape with a colourful background, and again, some have attributes that are more distinctive than others.

Bored Ape Yacht Club was created by Yuga Labs. In March, the company sensationally announced that it had acquired CryptoPunks from Larva Labs, and would give intellectual property and commercialisation rights to those who own these NFTs.

Those lucky enough to own a Bored Ape have had this ability for some time. Actor Seth Green has created a TV show where his NFT is the main character. The show's release was briefly thrown into question when the crypto collectible was "kidnapped" after a hack, forcing the star to pay 165 ETH for its safe return.

Since launch, Bored Ape Yacht Club has achieved trading volumes of $2bn. The June crypto crash has had an impact on the “floor price” of this collection, in layman's terms, how much the cheapest-available NFT costs. This hit all-time highs of 152 ETH, but figures from NFT Price Floor show this has been slashed in half to just 76 ETH.

4. Mutant Ape Yacht Club

As you might guess, this particular NFT collection has strong ties to Bored Apes. These pieces of digital art are created "by exposing an existing Bored Ape to a vial of mutant serum," according to the project's official profile on the OpenSea marketplace.

Mutant Apes were initially launched as a way of rewarding existing collectors. Quite a reward it turned out to be: all-time trading volumes stand at $1.42 billion, and as of 15 June, the floor price for this collection stands at 15.8 ETH.

5. Art Blocks

Rounding off the top five, we have Art Blocks. This allows artists to release an algorithm or script on the Ethereum blockchain that generates distinctive new pieces of artwork, with each united by a common theme.

Some Art Block NFTs have sold for millions, and overall trading volumes since this project launched stand at $1.25bn.


What are the top NFT projects by sales?

Beyond the top five, other prominent collections include NBA Top Shot, official NFTs that document memorable moments in US basketball. Otherside, Azuki, Mobox and CLONE X also make the top 10 by trading volume.

What are the top NFT marketplaces?

OpenSea and Rarible are two of the best-known NFT marketplaces, but countless others exist. Coinbase recently launched its own trading platform for crypto collectibles, and big names such as Instagram are also dabbling in this flourishing space.

What are the most popular NFT tokens?

The most popular NFT collections vary from week to week, with some exploding before cooling down again. Generally speaking, older and more-established collections such as Bored Apes and CryptoPunks tend to endure, but they are not all that affordable for most of us.

What types of NFTs are there?

NFTs can now be found in a multitude of sectors beyond artwork. They are used in games to give players ownership of in-game items. Non-fungible tokens can also represent virtual plots of land in the metaverse, or a ticket to a concert. Some musicians are even using these digital assets to share royalties with fans, or unlock exclusive perks such as backstage passes. New use cases are emerging all the time.

Further reading

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