A review of the most famous non-fungible tokens in history, to learn more about these assets that are leading a new era in collecting.
What are NFTs: 5 facts to know
NFT stands for “non-fungible token“: It is an asset linked to cryptocurrencies, although it is not a currency like those.
NFTs are unique digital assets that can be traded. Since 2021 they have become a true boom among collectors and investors.
Its operation is based on blockchain technology and usually bought with the cryptocurrency Ether.
Any digital file can be minted and converted into a unique token. This goes for images, videos, memes, songs, tweets, works of art, etc.
The owner of an NFT holds a document that certifies the authenticity of the unique asset; the information about the creator, the chain of buyers and the value is recorded in the blockchain.
The 15 most famous NFTs in the world
In the universe of non-fungible tokens there are famous cases, both for their content and for the transactions around them. The list includes creations by digital artists, from images a priori anodine, to content originally published on social networks.
Everydays: the First 5000 Days by Beeple
A review of the most famous NFTs should start with this digital work by Mike Winkelmann, better known by his pseudonym, Beeple.
This work was not the first to be auctioned as a non-fungible token, but it opened the gates for the NFT boom. The milestone takes us back to the beginning of 2021, when Christie’s organized an auction for Everydays: the First 5000 Days and sold it for more than 69 million dollars.
Composed of 5,000 digital images, the work was acquired by a cryptocurrency investor, who paid 42,329 Ether in the auction.
CryptoPunks by Larva Labs
This is not a single NFT, but a well-known collection in this world that consists of 10,000 images, each converted into a non-fungible token, created by Larva Labs in 2007.
How famous are these assets? As we tell in our blog, CryptoPunks are pioneers and symbols of the sector, offering buyers a unique and unrepeatable avatar that is generated randomly with a variety of designs.
Among the most valuable CryptoPunks are images of zombies, aliens, and monkeys, which many NFT buyers use as a profile picture on Twitter.
In the technical section: these tokens are stored on the Ethereum blockchain, and according to their creators, they served as “inspiration for the modern cryptoart movement”.
Bored Ape Yatch Club by Yuga Labs
Just like CryptoPunks, we’re facing a collection of 10,000 NFTs. You’ve probably come across one of these tokens, known for the casual monkeys that appear in the images.
Bored Ape Yatch Club (also known as BAYC) is a creation of the Yuga Labs company, and has become one of the favorite digital assets of celebrities. Figures like Justin Bieber, Neymar Jr., Eminem and Snoop Dogg are some of those who paid a good amount of money for an NFT from this series.
Just like previous cases, BAYC is managed within the Ethereum network and traded with the Ether currency. In September 2021, the largest sale so far was recorded in this collection when a buyer paid the equivalent of 2.9 million dollars.
The first tweet in history, by Jack Dorsey
A few weeks before the million-dollar auction of Everydays: the First 5000 Days, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey put up for sale the first message that was posted in the history of that social network, under the NFT mode.
“Setting up Twitter” is what the original tweet, posted on March 21, 2006, reads. The auction was successful: a buyer paid around 3 million dollars for the NFT.
More concrete information: the winner in the auction was Sina Estavi, a crypto sector entrepreneur who had led the offers with 2.5 million and at the last moment increased his proposal to 2,915,845.47 dollars (equivalent at that time, in Ether).
CryptoKitties by Axiom Zen
Cryptocats appear as one of the foundations of the NFT movement. That’s right: they’re not exactly tokens, but a video game based on the Ethereum network developed by Axiom Zen.
The CryptoKitties platform was launched at the end of 2017 with a unique proposal: to buy virtual cats, raise them, and eventually sell them. Each crypto-cat is the character of a game, but also an asset that is traded with the cryptocurrency Ether.
That video game was one of the first built on a blockchain, opening the way for other deliveries with that philosophy and, in its own way, for transactions of certificates of authenticity of unique digital pieces.
Genesis, the First CryptoKitty
We have already talked about CryptoKitties and their relevance in the NFT universe. Within that group, there is one outstanding one, whose name is Genesis.
You can learn about him at this link. He is the first CryptoKittie, the one who founded an extensive family of NFTs that are traded and bred in the mentioned video game.
At the time of publishing this article (January 2023), Genesis is in the hands of collector Stimpson J. Cat, who is also the owner of other gems from that virtual universe.
Madonna and Beeple’s NFTs
The Queen of Pop (who, by the way, owns a Bored Ape Yatch Club) in May 2022 presented her own collection of non-fungible tokens. One detail: in the development, a figure from that world, the previously mentioned Beeple, collaborated.
“I wanted to investigate the concept of creation, not only the way a child enters the world through the vagina of a woman, but also the way an artist gives birth to creativity,” said Madonna in a statement explaining why she decided to launch an NFT that replicates her 3D genitals.
The works were titled Mother of Creation and Mother of Nature. The funds raised from Madonna’s NFTs were designated for charitable purposes, Esquire reported.
The NFT of the First Edition of Wikipedia
In late 2021, the largest online encyclopedia rode the wave of non-fungible tokens by auctioning its first edition under this format.
Auction house Christie’s reported at the time that a collector paid the equivalent of $750,000 to own the Wikipedia NFT, in its original 2001 version. A detail: the bidding had started at $100.
According to the media, a portion of the revenue generated from the sale of the token was donated to WT.Social, a project by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, aimed at offering new options in the social media realm, based on donations instead of advertising.
Diego Maradona’s First Car as a NFT
A unique auction takes us back to December 2021, when the NFT of Diego Armando Maradona’s first car was offered. According to TN, a 1982 Fiat 128 Europa that the Argentine footballer used in his youth, accompanied by a non-fungible token, was put up for auction.
The source explained that the vehicle was given to Maradona as a Christmas gift after he was crowned champion with Boca Juniors. The sale gained special visibility as it was carried out after the death of the soccer star.
Invisible Friends, auctioned as NFTs
Invisible Friends is a collection of non-fungible tokens created by artist and animator Marcus Magnusson, who has gained fame with his 5,000 options to buy and trade.
A similar proposal is Veefriends, which also proposes creating a community around digital characters that circulate as tokens. This collection’s recognition is tied to its creator, Gary Vaynerchuk, an Internet personality considered one of the pioneers of digital marketing.
The entrepreneur is also a major investor, with involvement in companies like Meta, Uber, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Ether Rock, one of the first NFT projects
Also known as ETHRock, this initiative arose in 2017 shortly after the CryptoPunks from Larva Labs.
Once again we are faced with a collection of non-fungible tokens, in this case composed of 100 unique rocks. There is also a spirit of play, allowing new pieces to be generated, all based on the Ethereum blockchain.
In August 2021, an anonymous buyer paid over 1.3 million dollars for one of the Ether Rocks, which is a super simple image file, as well as an asset that can be auctioned.
Three NFTs that made noise
Since the auction of the famous digital work by Beeple, the visibility of NFTs grew exponentially, with interesting and striking cases.
One of them: a buyer paid 5.434.500 dollars for the NFT of the original source code of the World Wide Web originally written by Tim Berners-Lee, reported Europa Press.
Some memes also circulated as tokens. One of the most remembered is “Disaster Girl”, which shows a girl with a fire behind her. She took it as a sort of revenge, earning thousands of dollars for that digital piece converted into NFT, as The New York Times reported.
Also famous was the sale of a pixelated flower created by the graphic designer known as “BubbleUtonium”. That image makes up a collection of 50 pieces showing tulips: a buyer paid 1,000 Ether, which at the time of the transaction were equivalent to over 3 million dollars, a figure that accounts for the fact that now NFTs are not only famous, but also part of a business that moves interests.