The emergence of blockchain technology has disrupted many fields but the impact it had on the world of digital art and collectibles is unprecedented. With the help of NFTs, it is easier than ever to digitally license your art and monetize your work. NFTs are also verifiable and traceable, which makes them impossible to counterfeit.
NFTs have evolved from simple crypto collectibles to valuable digital assets that have attracted the attention of investors, artists, and collectors alike. In this article, we explore the most popular NFTs in history, highlighting the notable milestones they have achieved and the impact they have had on the digital space.
CryptoPunks, created by Larva Labs in 2017, is widely considered the first NFT project in history. This groundbreaking collection features 10,000 unique 24×24 pixel art characters, each with distinctive attributes. CryptoPunks have become increasingly popular, with several of them selling for millions of dollars. The project’s rarity and historical significance have made it a favorite among NFT collectors and enthusiasts, solidifying its place in the annals of digital art history.
Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”
Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, made history in March 2021 when his NFT artwork, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” sold for a staggering $69.3 million at Christie’s auction house. The digital collage, comprising 5,000 images created daily by Beeple over 13 years, became the third most expensive artwork by a living artist. This unprecedented sale cemented the legitimacy of NFTs in the traditional art world and demonstrated the significant value and potential of digital art.
Launched in 2017 by Dapper Labs, CryptoKitties is a blockchain-based virtual game that allows players to adopt, raise, and trade digital cats. Each CryptoKitty is unique, with its own set of attributes, known as “cattributes.” CryptoKitties gained widespread popularity, with some virtual cats selling for over $100,000. The game’s success also led to severe network congestion on the Ethereum blockchain, prompting discussions about blockchain scalability and driving the development of new infrastructure solutions.
NBA Top Shot
NBA Top Shot, another venture by Dapper Labs, is a blockchain-based platform that allows users to buy, sell, and trade officially licensed NBA collectible highlights. Launched in October 2020, NBA Top Shot quickly gained traction among sports fans and collectors. In just a few months, it smashed over $230 million in sales, with some “moments” selling for over $200,000. NBA Top Shot’s success has also paved the way for other sports leagues to explore the potential of NFTs.
Axie Infinity, developed by Sky Mavis, is a Pokémon-inspired game where players can collect, breed, and battle fantasy creatures called Axies. The game uses NFTs to represent Axies and other in-game assets, which can be traded on its marketplace. Launched in 2018, Axie Infinity gained significant attention in 2021, experiencing exponential growth in its player base and trading volume. Its in-game currency and governance token, AXS, has also seen impressive growth, further establishing Axie Infinity as a pioneering project in the world of NFTs and blockchain gaming.
TIP: Check how to create your own NFT project.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club
The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), created by Yuga Labs in April 2021, is a collection of 10,000 unique hand-drawn Bored Ape NFTs. Each ape serves as both a digital art piece and a membership token, granting its holder access to exclusive events, virtual spaces, and future releases. The BAYC quickly gained a cult following, with high-profile celebrities and entrepreneurs joining the club. The rarity and exclusivity of the Bored Apes have attracted collectors and investors alike, with some apes selling for millions of dollars. The project’s innovative approach to community-building and digital ownership has made it a standout in the NFT space.
World of Women
World of Women, launched in July 2021 by a team led by artist Yam Karkai, is an NFT collection aimed at empowering and uplifting women in the digital realm. The project features 10,000 unique hand-drawn female avatars with various styles, traits, and backgrounds. World of Women has garnered significant attention for its positive message and commitment to diversity, with a portion of the sales being donated to non-profit organizations supporting women’s causes. The project’s success highlights the potential of NFTs to drive social impact and foster inclusive communities in the digital world.
Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak
Ringers, created by generative artist Dmitri Cherniak in February 2021, is a collection of 1,000 algorithmically generated NFTs based on a single seed image. Each Ringer is a unique combination of shapes and colors, showcasing the beauty and complexity of generative art. The project’s limited supply and artistic appeal have made it highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Ringers have also played a crucial role in popularizing generative art in the NFT space, paving the way for other artists to experiment with code and algorithms to create visually stunning digital masterpieces.
Pudgy Penguins, launched in July 2021, is a collection of 8,888 unique hand-drawn penguin NFTs, each featuring distinctive traits and accessories. The project quickly gained a dedicated following, with the penguins becoming popular digital mascots across social media platforms. Some Pudgy Penguins have fetched astronomical prices, with one selling for over $1 million. The project’s success demonstrates the power of NFTs to captivate audiences and create iconic digital characters that resonate with collectors and fans alike.
TIP: Read about the NFT for beginners.
Art Blocks, founded by Erick Calderon in 2021, is an innovative platform that allows artists to create and mint generative art as NFTs. The platform features various collections, with each piece being a unique result of an artist’s algorithm. Some notable collections include Fidenza by Tyler Hobbs, Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak, and Chromie Squiggles by Snowfro. Art Blocks has become a focal point for the generative art movement in the NFT space, attracting a growing number of artists and collectors seeking to explore the cutting edge of digital art.
This concludes our list of the most popular NFTs in History. The rapid rise of NFTs has forever transformed the landscape of digital art and collectibles, making them accessible to a broader audience and unlocking new creative possibilities for artists. From the pioneering CryptoPunks to the empowering World of Women, these popular NFT projects have left an indelible mark on the digital world and have inspired a new generation of creators to explore the untapped potential of blockchain technology. As the NFT space continues to evolve, it will be fascinating to see what new milestones and innovations await us in the coming years.