- The trade volume of NFTs in 2021 was about US$21.5 billion, higher than the cumulative volume of US$120 million before 2021
- Among the Africans capitalizing on the NFT market is the Looty Foundation, which is restoring stolen art from European museums and selling it as NFTs to promote artists in the continent
- In this article, we look at the most expensive NFTs ever sold
Africans are always the last ones to arrive ‘at the party’, and this specific one is the NFT party! The NFT market had an incredible year in 2021, and the African market is only opening up to these tokens this year.
According to Footprint Analytics, the trade volume of NFTs in 2021 was about US$21.5 billion, higher than the cumulative volume of US$120 million before 2021.
Among the Africans capitalizing on the NFT market is the Looty Foundation, which is restoring stolen art from European museums and selling it as NFTs to promote artists in the continent. We expound more on NFTs in Africa here.
But before we go any further, what are these NFTs?
What are NFTs?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital assets in the form of a video, audio, an image, document, real estate, and other forms of art that can be sold on NFT marketplaces through cryptocurrencies.
Last year, NFTs saw an exponential rise, with tens of thousands of investors joining the market to collect digital arts in different forms.
What makes NFTs unique and valuable?
An NFT is not fungible. This means that each one has a unique identifier. In other words, Even if two digital assets look similar, they are not interchangeable. Through this characteristic, NFT technology generates proof of authenticity and ownership in a blockchain.
An NFT’s value is defined by market supply and demand. It’s usually easier to value an NFT when it’s created to represent a physical asset. But most NFTs only exist digitally.
Each NFT collection has a different supply, and each NFT unit can have a different rarity. NFTs with limited supply and specific use cases tend to be more valuable. The founders, along with the artists and community, can also affect the demand for NFTs.
In other words, the value of an NFT could be related to who created it, its value in play-to-earn games, or simply community and market sentiment.
With this crazy fuss going around, we take a look at the ten most expensive NFTs ever sold:
Everyday: The First 5000 Days
This is the most expensive non-fungible token ever sold, and it went for US$69.3 million in February 2021. This digital artwork is a collage by Mike Winkelmann, otherwise known as Beeple, an American graphic designer was purchased Metakovan in an auction sale at Christie’s.
Since 2007, Mike Winkelmann uploaded an image on his Instagram feed every day for 13 years and later converted these images into a historical NFT.
The Clock NFT
This NFT was sold for US$52.7 million. The clock depicts a dynamic timer that counts the number of days Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has spent in prison. Assange is facing extradition from Britain to the United States for multiple espionage charges and up to 175 years behind bars.
The NFT was curated by the digital artist Pak and Assange himself to support his legal bills. It was auctioned for 16,953 ETH in February 2022 to AssangeDAO. Apart from the ETH they used to acquire Clock, AssangeDAO still holds 17,422 ETH they initially raised to purchase the NFT.
Another recond-smashing NFT by Beeple, the owner of Everyday: The First 5000 Days, is the HUMAN ONE. This is the first physical artwork that he has created. The NFT was auctioned at Christie’s for US$28.9 million in November 2021.
HUMAN ONE is a 3D moving sculpture with four digital screens. It displays an endless video of an astronaut journeying through places at different times of the day. The hybrid artwork reflects Beeple’s artistic ambitions beyond the digital realm.
CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for 8,000 ETH in February 2022, equivalent to US$23.7 million, to the CEO of a blockchain technology startup. It comes from the rarest alien edition. There’re only 9 of them in the entire non-fungible token (NFT) collection.
CryptoPunk #7523 was auctioned at Sotheby’s for US$11.75 million during the COVID pandemic in June 2021. Not only it’s part of the scarce alien edition, but it’s also the only mask-wearing alien, which is what the buyer loved about this particular CryptoPunk.
Looking at these mind-blowing sales, the first question that one would probably ask is, where can I buy NFTS?
Where can I buy NFTs?
You can get your first NFT at various NFT marketplaces. Depending on the blockchain network, you’ll need a compatible wallet and the supported cryptocurrencies for the purchase. For example, NFT prices on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) are almost always in BNB or BUSD, while NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain typically use ether (ETH).
You can buy the cryptocurrencies needed on the Binance exchange and transfer them to a wallet that can be connected to the NFT Marketplace.
If you’re purchasing NFTs on the Binance NFT Marketplace, you can move your funds to the Funding Wallet. Select the desired NFT and click, Buy Now, or Make Offer.
If you’re looking to buy NFTs on other marketplaces, browser extension wallets like Binance Chain Wallet and MetaMask are good options. After transferring your funds from Binance to your wallet, connect it to the NFT marketplace to get started. Don’t forget to check the URL you are visiting to ensure that you’re on the official website. If you connect your wallet to fake or suspicious websites, your funds might be stolen.