Most Expensive NFT Collections

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Contributor, Benzinga
November 3, 2021

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Non-fungible token (NFT) mania is in full swing, with NFT artwork selling for millions of dollars. World-renowned auction house Christie’s listed an NFT art piece by Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist known as Beeple. A last-minute bidding war took the final sale price to a whopping $69.3 million dollars, making it the 3rd highest auction price ever fetched by a living artist. As fine art moves from the material world to the digital realm, many investors have been left questioning what the NFT hype is all about. Are NFTs the future of the art world, or are these expensive art pieces a bubble waiting to pop when the hype subsides? And what does NFT even stand for anyway? 

What Are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?

NFTs are digital assets that contain special identifying information. These digital assets are retained in an immutable smart contract. This set-up makes each NFT unique, hence the term non-fungible. 

In the cryptocurrency space, a fungible asset is a token that is no different from any other token on the same blockchain. For example, if you own 1 Bitcoin (BTC), sell it on an exchange and buy back another BTC, you still have 1 BTC. There is no difference in the utility of either BTC you possess. Both before and after the swap, your wallet contains 1 BTC, and you can do the same things with the initial BTC that you could do with the other. Additionally, you can choose to send a fractional part of that BTC unit because fungible tokens are divisible.

NFTs are typically not divisible because they are linked to assets that cannot be split. You can’t own a quarter of a sporting event ticket because you could not redeem it for a quarter of a seat at the stadium. 

Use Cases For NFTs


NFTs allow artists and collectors to prove ownership of a digital artwork. The immutability of the blockchain proves that a NFT artwork is authentic and identifies the owner. Art seems to be the NFT use case that has already developed a strong ecosystem around it and has gained mainstream traction.  


NFTs can be used to provide in-game items, such as character skins, to specific players. These unique items with proof of ownership can be a further aspect of character customization in many games. 

Real Estate

NFTs could be used to replace deeds of ownership, protecting these important documents by placing them on a publicly accessible and immutable blockchain. 


NFTs can be used as event tickets, making a unique souvenir upon completion of the event. Additionally, NFTs can be used to prevent ticket scalping because all NFT tickets would remain on chain, and hence parameters could be applied to them that cap resale value. Event organizers could set up parameters so that they receive a cut of resale transactions, making this use case highly attractive for musical artists and sporting teams because it opens up a new source of revenue. GET Protocol, a blockchain-based smart ticketing solution, has already shown that this use case for NFTs can be successfully executed in the real world. 

Are Non-Fungible Tokens a Bubble?

Looking at the digital art use case for NFTs, many critics have claimed that this sudden boom in interest (and prices) for digital art is a bubble, due to pop at any moment. In many ways, NFT art mimics that of the traditional art market. Some pieces that require technical skill and countless hours of work from an artist are never desired by the public and retain little value, while other pieces that take little effort to create become worth huge sums of money. The fine art world has been around for centuries, and NFTs are likely just an extension of it. 

The cryptocurrency ecosystem has always had its doubters who called Bitcoin a bubble when it was worth a fraction of what it is now, and the skepticism over NFT art is no different. The technology, especially with regards to the use of fractional NFTs, is still improving and the market continues to grow. 

How To Buy NFTs

OpenSea is the most popular marketplace for NFT art. OpenSea recorded a volume of over $3.4 billion in August 2021, making it the leading marketplace for Ethereum-based NFTs. 

The steps to purchase NFTs on OpenSea are remarkably simple. On the homepage, look on the top right to find the “Connect Wallet” button. After clicking this, the user can link a wallet, most commonly Metamask, which opens an account page. Once here, the participant sets up a username, bio and email address to be linked to the account. Account holders complete a security agreement, and then they are free to browse and purchase NFTs.

Users can either buy listings at a fixed price or engage in a bidding process against other potential buyers in an auction. The action taken depends on whether the seller chooses to let the piece go to an auction or sets a fixed asking price. 

Here's some of the most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges that let you buy Ethereum to use for NFTs.

Most Valuable NFT Collections

NFTs are frequently grouped into collections by their creators. These collections usually have common styles of themes. 


CryptoPunks are a collection of exactly 10,000 characters, with each being unique. Each exists on the Ethereum blockchain and were initially distributed for free to anyone who claimed them with an Ethereum wallet. All CryptoPunks have been claimed and now must be purchased on secondary markets on Larva Labs.

The CryptoPunks are the best known pieces of NFT art and have received heavy media attention. Notable owners of CryptoPunks include Jay-Z, Snoop Dog, Serena Williams, Steve Aoki, Logan Paul, Gary Vee and Odell Beckham Jr.  Even financial giant Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) has purchased a CryptoPunk for its collection, with its cryptocurrency division head Cuy Sheffield saying “We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment and commerce.”

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)

Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 disgruntled apes, generated from a set of 170 distinct features. Owning an ape grants membership into the club, which offers special members-only events in the real world. Additionally, the ape allows the owner to edit pixels on a virtual board, likened to a graffiti-scrawled club bathroom. 

Bored Apes are owned by Stephen Curry, The Chainsmokers, Lil Baby and major brands including Arizona Iced Tea. The price floor sits at over 30 ETH to join the club. 

Art Blocks Curated: Fidenzas, Chromie Squiggles & Ringers

Art Blocks Curated is a specialized collection of digital art, which is approved by a board of curators who pick artwork that they feel best represents the project. Collections include Chromie Squiggles, Ringers, Fidenzas and Subscapes. Top pieces from Art Blocks sell for hundreds of ETH, with many sales reaching millions of dollars.

Cool Cats

Cool Cats is a collection of 9,999 randomly generated NFTs on the Ethereum network. Much like BAYC, the cats have unique outfits and characteristics, and ownership of a cat gets you into special events. Most notably, the cats have a coolness scale, with cooler cats being more rare than others and thus more valuable. 


Moonbirds is a collection of 10,000 utility-enabled PFPs with rarity-powered traits. They have a special utility known as "nesting" in which you can earn additional benefits the longer you hold them. Each Moonbird unlocks private club membership and further utilities.


Azuki is a collection of 10,000 NFTs and one of the first ever anime-styled projects. At their peak, their floor price reached above an astonishing 13 Ethereum.

Is It Too Late to Buy NFTs?

OpenSea reports over 200,000 active wallets trading NFT artworks. The Ethereum network contains over 170,000,000 wallets that can hold NFTs. Big-name NFT projects are certainly not disappearing anytime soon, as the growth potential remains large within the cryptocurrency space. Additionally, with notable art auction houses like Sotheby’s auctioning off NFTs, the art world at large becomes more aware of NFTs and brings new buyers into the space. Transaction volume on OpenSea continues to increase each month. Based on these facts, NFTs don’t appear to be going anywhere soon.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are NFTs a Scam?


An NFT is a unique digital asset waiting for a given purpose. Inherently, they are not scams; however, they can be used by malicious users to facilitate scams.

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About Noah Goldstein

Noah Goldstein is an Undergraduate Student at the University of Michigan. Noah is a writer that covers cryptocurrency news for Benzinga. Originally from New Jersey, Noah now resides in Michigan. Noah is an active cryptocurrency investor with positions in Ethereum, DeFi projects, and NFT Ticketing Solutions. Noah believes that blockchain technology will change the world.