NFTs or non-fungible tokens are illiquid assets bound by speculation. Just like paintings, their value is in the eyes of the beholders. More commonly, when celebrities and millionaires splurge on such assets, they give them a new floor price.

NFTs follow the same path, which is why it is useful to gain an overview of the types of NFTs that managed to hit record valuations. Here are the five most expensive NFTs and what makes them so valuable.

1. The Merge by Pak - $91.8 Million

It turns out, you don't have to have a public presence or endear yourself to the public, for your art to be successful. Nobody knows who the digital artist Pak is, although there are plenty of speculations. Suffice to say; he gained fame by selling $17 million worth of NFTs at a 3-day Sotheby's auction last April.

What is interesting about Pak is that they always bring some novelty into the NFT offering. At that particular auction, Pak's Open Editions collection from Open consisted of fungible cubes, bought individually. However, if the bidder buys more NFTs from Open Editions , they would not receive separate cubes, but a single NFT with multiple cubes.

After a certain threshold, this would reset, so over the five-cube mark, the buyer would get one NFT with 5 cubes, and another NFT with 1 cube. This distribution would rise exponentially: Cube (1), Five Cubes (5), Ten Cubes (10), Twenty Cubes (20), Fifty Cubes (50), Hundred Cubes (100), Five Hundred Cubes (500), Thousand Cubes (1,000).

Pak's The Merge in December 2021, at Nifty Gateway, followed a similar logic. Although not purchased by a single millionaire, it still counts as the most expensive NFT sale ever. Nearly 30k Pak followers bought spheres of mass. The tokens interact with the existing ones in the wallet, merging into a single token.

This increase also manifests visually as the sphere becomes larger. Interestingly, all visual growth is generated by smart contracts on the blockchain. Furthermore, merged spheres allow for future customization, as one would expect from programmable NFTs. There are 100 secret classes of spheres evenly distributed.

Each 'm' (as in mass) token was sold for $299 across 28,983 buyers. It appears that NFT novelty takes and mysterious artists go exceedingly well together.

2. Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple - $69.3 Million

Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, is an established digital artist previously employed by the world's top corporations. Now 40-year-old, Beeple has also been nurturing his social media presence. Specifically, he made it a mission to create an art piece on Twitter every day, for 5000 days.

Hence, the name of the NFT and why it looks so jumbled. The First 5000 Days is the result of that daily discipline, sold at Christie's for $69.3 million on March 11, 2021, starting with the first bid at $100.

However, thanks to the wonders of digital technology, if one zooms in further, each individual piece becomes clear.

Outside of being a professional artist, and having nearly 600k Twitter followers, another driver that boosted the sale is Beeple's previous political commentary. Manifesting as art, during the last presidential elections in the U.S., Beeple's Crossroads NFT sold for $6.6 million. The twist was, that depending on the election outcome, buyers would receive a different NFT.

If Trump had won, the NFT would've been Trump as a demonic giant roaming the land. If Trump had lost, he would've been a naked fat giant lying in the dirt, which is what happened.

Furthermore, the NFT was animated with a blue bird chirping on top of dead Trump, suggesting that social media spearheaded by Twitter was victorious. After all, Trump was banned from Twitter even during his presidency, signifying to the whole world his impotence.

It is safe to say that across the board animosity against the former President, was a big factor in Beeple eventually receiving $69.3 million as the second most expensive NFT ever sold.

3. Clock by Pak - $52.1 Million

It seems that once you are on the top, you are always there. Clock is an activist NFT made by Pak, portraying how much time, in words, has passed since Julian Assanges' wrongful incarceration. For those unfamiliar with the subject, Julian Assange is a journalist who has been running the Wikileaks platform. As such, it often attracted whistleblowers, giving Assange valuable info that uncovers misdeeds from governments or corporations.

Assange has been savagely hunted down for his journalistic efforts, first by Sweden, then by the U.K., and the U.S. Pak's Clock is a part of the Censored collection.

Interestingly, AssangeDAO bought Pak's Clock for 16,593 ETH, with the funds going to Wau Holland Foundation to further Assange's defense in the court of law.

4. Human One by Beeple - $29.98 Million

As you are already familiar with Beeple's backstory, it is no surprise that he once again visits the top 5 chart. Also sold at Christie's after his biggest The First 5000 Days sale, in November 2021, Human One features a dynamic NFT. It portrays an astronaut-explorer walking across different environments. The twist is that these environments are updatable, reflecting on the walker, making Human One Beeple's life-long project.

Interestingly, in his interview with Christie's, Beeple revealed that he wanted to make video games as he was growing up. Although college years made him change his mind, with so much money pouring in from his digital artwork, he would easily be able to establish a mid-sized gaming studio.

5. CryptoPunk #5822 by Larva Labs — $23.7 Million

It seems like forever that CryptoPunks are topping the NFT charts. Although they still can't displace Axie Infinity at $4 billion sales, pixelated CryptoPunks NFT collection comes second at half that, $2 billion. One of the 10,000 cryptopunks that sold in February was CryptoPunk #5822, one of the only 9 Alien punks available.

CryptoPunks is a generative NFT collection. Meaning, their visual features are generated algorithmically, based around a set of fixed attributes. This means that some may get multiple same attributes, while the combo of rare ones makes for exceptional rarity, under 1%.

Add the Alien category scarcity into the mix, some nostalgia for old pixelated games from the 1980s, and you get an NFT that is worth more than a palatial mansion. In fact, if we were to make a top 10 list, we would just keep listing various CryptoPunks.

In conclusion, NFTs are showing themselves to be internet-borne art. While artistic skill is appreciated by NFT buyers, the digital age prioritizes scarcity, gamification, and novel ways of acquiring digital goods. In other words, how is the art perceived by the public. An artist can be completely anonymous, yet if the reception is positive, nothing else matters.

Rahul owns no cryptocurrencies.

International Business Times holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have drawn millions of dollars at auctions, with the world's first tweet fetching $2.9 million.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have drawn millions of dollars at auctions, with the world's first tweet fetching $2.9 million. AFP / Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD