From dunk shots to sex tapes, these are the most significant NFT sales (according to us) from March—the month NFTs first boomed and Bitcoin went more mainstream.
March 2020 was the month the pandemic changed our lives. March 2021 was the month NFTs changed our feeds.
We put together a list of the 11 most interesting NFT purchases we saw last month. We've highlighted the ones that stood out to us for cultural or financial significance, especially as cryptocurrency made big moves into the mainstream via companies like PayPal and Tesla. One of these may even convince a skeptic that NFTs have staying power.
If you’re still not sure that you understand NFTs, read through this explanation
before returning here.
1.“Sophia Instantiation”: $688,888
You may recognize the humanoid robot Sophia who was introduced to the world in 2016 by her creator, David Hanson of Hanson Robotics. The NFT that was sold on Nifty Gateway
is titled “Sophia Instantiation.” It includes a physical artwork painted by Sophia as well as an mp4 showing the evolution of the robot’s artwork. We can't help but wonder if Boston Dynamics plans to get in on NFTs.
"Sophia Instantiation" via Nifty Gateway
2. Is Fiat Dead?: Collection sold at $54,924
Time Magazine covers are often a political and cultural event. When someone or something that was once niche makes it to the cover, people pay attention. Time currently has several digital magazine cover up for auction up at SuperRare
. The first to go up was an iteration from two original word-only covers: “Is God Dead?” from 1966 and “Is Truth Dead?” from 2017. The new iteration, “Is Fiat Dead$” was sold individually and as a trio with the other two.
Time later added more digital “reprints” featuring dystopian-feeling covers from the 1950-60s with illustrations from artist Boris Artzybasheff. Time demonstrates, as they often do, that participation in cultural phenomena and artistic exposition don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
"TIME is _ _ _ Dead?" via SuperRare
"TIME The Computer in Society - April 2nd, 1965" via SuperRare
3. @jack’s first tweet: $2,915,835.47
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put his first tweet up for auction through Valuables by Cent
which lets Twitter users turn their autographed tweets into NFTs. After the sale, Dorsey tweeted confirmation that he donated the proceeds to GiveDirectly’s Africa Response via Bitcoin.
@jack's first tweet via Valuables by Cent
4. A column from The New York Times: $643,909.00
On March 24, writer Kevin Roose published his column on NYT with a sweeping headline: “Buy This Column on the Blockchain!" He then sold an image of that column on Foundation
. Roose explained after the sale that he never expected to raise more than a few hundred dollars for charity – the minimum price he had set was 0.5 Ether (about $800).
"Buy This On The Blockchain" via Foundation
5. LeBron’s dunk: $208,000
This one is cheating since it happened on February 22nd, but it’s an important one. The clip that sold was from a 2019 Western Conference game of the LA Lakers versus the Sacramento Kings. It was auctioned through NBA TopShot
which launched to the Product Hunt community 6 months ago. The media has pointed to NBA TopShot as the most likely channel for NFTs to go mainstream (The creator Dapper Labs just raised $305M). Unlike other marketplaces, the platform doesn’t play up the term “NFT”. They use language recognizable to sport fans and collector audiences, like marketing collections of sports moments as “packs" resembling traditional trading card packets.
NFT buyers can vary on how public they are about their purchase. In this case, the buyer, Jesse Schwarts has his NFT on display at lebron.com (wonder how much he paid for that domain).
Cosmic #29/49 via Lebron.com
6. A human billboard: $5,800
Twenty-year-old, professional Croatian tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova put her right arm and shoulder up for auction on OpenSea
. Her details explain “My NFT is your life-time exclusive right for space on my right arm & shoulder… The exact size is 15x8 cm. You can place your art object in the form of a tattoo or body art here. You can leave it blank - but you will know it’s yours. You can resell it for a higher price when I play at Wimbledon or Roland Garros. Finally, you can burn it, if you want.” We are hoping the last one is hyperbole.
Oleksandra Oliynykova via OpenSea
7. "Ever-Crunching Tacos": $3,683
Were not sure if Taco Bell was the first major consumer brand to create an NFT — Charmin and Pringles were also quick to put digital artwork up for sale — but we thought their Rarible
profile was the most vibrant. So far their Newton's pendulum tacos artwork has fetched the highest price. Sadly, they don’t have any more works up for sale now, so perhaps they viewed it as a gimmick, but you can’t take fast food fandom for granted. Back in 2017, Taco Bell opened a chapel at their flagship location in Vegas and 60 couples have been married there since. You can see how digital artwork of say, their humorous sauce packets, might continue to support their strong brand culture.
"Ever-Crunching Tacos" via Rarible
8. “WarNymph Collection”: $5.8M
In collaboration with her brother, Mac Boucher, artist and musician Grimes dropped a collection of 10 artworks onto Nifty Gateway
. They made news early in the NFT buzz because of the high price and how quickly the bids grew. The most expensive piece was a video called “Death of the Old” which sold for $388,938. One auction climbed from $111 to $123,456 in just 30 minutes. Other artists and celebs who’ve been early NFT adopters are Steve Aoiki, Lindsey Lohan, and Azelia Banks.
"Death of the Old" via Nify Gateway
9. A NSFW recording: $17,240
Rapper Azealia Banks and boyfriend Ryder Ripps released an audio recording NFT of their sexual encounter titled “I FUCKED RYDER RIPPS.” The 24-minute recording sold for $17,240 on Rarible
. Ryder Ripps is a conceptual artist and has been experimenting with art related to the porn industry. While we haven’t seen any dramatic headlines yet, sex workers have started to experiment with NFTs. They offer a way for sex workers to diversify their revenue streams and bypass platforms that restrict them due to censorship.
"I FUCKED RYDER RIPPS" via Rarible
10. Virtual real estate on Mars: $512,712
“Mars House” is “the first NFT digital house in the world” according to SuperRare
, the marketplace where it was sold. This one comes with some drama that has yet to be resolved as of writing this list. The piece was created by artist Krista Kim and 3-D modeler Mateo Sanz Pedemonte, who are in a dispute over the copyright. Dezeen has claimed that he owns the full intellectual property since he created the project, with Kim’s direction. Kim had contracted Pedemonte to work on the project through Freelancer.com. The he-said / she-said is murky but the issue demonstrates one of the kinks that needs to be worked out in the NFT space. It also gives a glimpse into the world of possibility where NFTs meet the metaverse.
"Mars House" via SuperRare
11. Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days": $69,346,250
This list wouldn’t be complete without Beeple. The collection of works, created by artist Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple), fetched the highest price ever paid for an NFT (so far). We won’t beat a dead horse, but what’s significant to remember about this piece is not only its record-breaking price but the fact that it was Christie’s first-ever digital-only art sale.
"Everdays: First 5,000 Days" by Beeple via Christies
Did we miss any of your favorite NFT sales from March?