NFTs have been around for several years now, but these unique tokens only really became known in 2021. This was partly due to the NFT that was auctioned for more than $69 million. This NFT was made by Michael Winkelmann, an American artist known as Beeple. Beeple is an artist who has been actively creating digital art for many years.
This long-standing passion only really became known to the general public in 2021, but Beeple already had its own fan base in the years before that. Since 2021, however, he has also been financially rewarded for his hard work.
This article covers Beeple’s most expensive NFTs. However, the dollar and Ethereum (ETH) price is a snapshot. You may find that you are reading this article at a later date, as a result of which new NFTs have been sold for extreme amounts, or old NFTs have been resold for exorbitant amounts.
In this article, you can discover all about Beeple and his digital art!
In the video below you can discover Beeple’s take on NFTs. In addition, his view on the combination of NFTs and physical variants is discussed and this video is a good introduction to this article!
What are NFTs?
Before we dive deeper into Beeple, let me briefly explain what NFTs are. If this topic holds no secrets for you, you can move on to the next section. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. A token is irreplaceable, so unique. You can see this unique token as a piece of information, which is stored in a smart contract on the blockchain.
This establishes ownership of a digital or physical object. Most people have been introduced to NFTs through digital art collections such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, which are now worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. However, an NFT can also target physical products, such as watches or paintings.
If you would like a full explanation of NFTs, I have a very detailed explanation about them. Definitely recommended if you want to understand NFTs from A to Z.
Beeple – Michael Winkelmann: what is his background?
Who is the man behind the USD 69 million NFT? Michael Joseph Winkelmann was born on June 20, 1981. He spent his childhood in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. His parents were not Pablo Picasso and Berthe Morisot, but an electrical engineer and health care worker. Winkelmann himself graduated from Purdue University in 2003, with Computer Science as his major. Winkelmann later became known as Beeple, the American artist and graphic designer.
His artistic expressions are known as comic works with a political edge. Famous people often come back in his works of art, which are usually based on current events. It is unknown which programs Winkelmann currently uses for his artworks, but in 2015 he used Adobe Illustrator 2012 and Cinema 4D. It is very likely that Beeple uses newer versions of these programs, or has found better ones.
Beeple is mainly known for its daily illustrations, but has also collaborated with large parties. For example, Louis Vuitton has incorporated his creations into the spring/summer 2019 collection, but Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj have also collaborated with the artist. In addition, Beeple was the first artist to have a digital artwork auctioned at Christie’s.
Beeple’s Most Expensive NFTs
Despite the fact that Beeple is known for its very pricey NFTs, the artist sold many NFTs very cheaply. When Beeple saw the potential of NFTs, he knew he could charge a lot of money for his artwork. However, instead of asking for sky-high prices, Beeple marketed his NFTs for $1. This brought a flood of investors to NFT marketplaces, forcing them to pull out all the stops to keep the marketplace online and working. There have also been $1 NFTs sold during this mania, which are a lot more expensive these days.
But why did Beeple go for such a low price when he could get more? This has to do with royalties. Beeple receives 10% of every trade made with NFTs he created. As his NFTs continue to increase in value, Beeple can receive thousands to millions of dollars per transaction for which he doesn’t have to do anything! It takes a number of years of hard work, but then you also have an extremely large source of passive income.
In total, Beeple has sold dozens of digital artworks worth over $100,000. However, in total Beeple has sold more than 1350 NFTs, so not every item from Beeple automatically turns into gold. At the time of writing (January 31, 2022), Beeple has sold 1,351 NFTs, which are worth 65,686,829 ETH. This equates to a value of over 170 million US dollars. Below we take you through the most pricey and well-known works of art created by Beeple.
EVERYDAYS: The First 5000 Days
Beeple’s most famous artwork is called Everydays: The First 5000 Days. This is a collage of 5000 digital artworks that Beeple has created over the years. In 2007, Beeple decided to create a work of art every day, making the title of the complete work of art Everydays. On May 1, 2007, he began his mission, which was completed for 5,000 days without interruption. On January 7, 2021, the first 5000 works of art were completed. Beeple took inspiration for this plan from Tom Judd, who spent several days drawing a picture for many years.
This enormous work of art became widely known when it was auctioned at the British auction house Christie’s. Here the NFT sold for more than 69 million US dollars. An unprecedented amount for an NFT, which made headlines. The safe was on March 11, 2021, and may well have been the starting signal for unprecedented growth in the NFT market. Shortly after the safe in question, a Banksy was burned, making this Banksy only exist as an NFT. In addition, the new NFT collections shot up like mushrooms and many collections rose in price.
Not only did The First 5000 Days as a joint collection bring in a lot of money for Beeple. Items within these 5000 pieces also brought in a lot of money. Besides the first 5000 works of art, Beeple has not been idle. He still produces a digital work of art every day, while cheerfully counting on. Below you can find in the table what was paid for a few copies, with a link to the relevant artwork.
|Name||Number||Value (in ETH)|
|Ocean Front||4344||2,361.68 ETH|
|Bloody Monkey||5092||226.33 ETH|
After the huge success of Everydays: The First 5000 Days, Beeple once again tried his luck at Christie’s. In the artwork called Human One, an astronaut in an astronaut suit can be seen 24 hours a day, who seems to move through different landscapes as a background. In the future, Beeple can continue to tinker with these backgrounds.
Beeple had a mission when he created Human One. He wanted to create something that people can keep looking at while finding new meanings in the digital artwork every time. As a result, the meaning of Human One will continue to evolve. So not only actual adjustments of Beeple but also in the message of the NFT.
On November 10, 2021, Human One was sold under the auction hammer. In total, more than 11,400 ETH was paid for the digital artwork, which is currently worth nearly 29 million US dollars.
Via Nifty Gateway, Crossroads was sold on February 25, 2021. Crossroads is one of the most expensive NFTs to come from Beeple. Its value is estimated at 2562.5 ETH, which is worth about $6.6 million today. However, Beeple sold the artwork for ‘only’ $66,666. Later the artwork was sold for multiples, from which Beeple received 10% in royalties.
Crossroads was created in response to the American elections. If Trump had won this election, the artwork would have looked very different. When Trump had won, Beeple would have designed a digital artwork of Trump stomping through hell like a sexy king. In total, there were three prints of this artwork, which were based on the pre-election period, Trump’s win, and Biden’s win.
These changes, anticipating the actual events of the time, are as constant as other things of the time. According to Beeple, uncertainty is something constant, which is perfectly summed up in this artwork.
TIME – The Future of Business – Beeple Edition
TIME magazine collaborated with Beeple for the issue from May 10 to 17, 2021. The aim was to represent the accelerated digitization of our world in a work of art, focusing on the artistic process. The images above have become the final result. In addition to an image in the magazine, this artwork has also become an NFT. And not just any NFT, but an NFT worth 675 ETH, which is worth well over $1,700,000. Unlike other Beeple artworks, this artwork was sold through SuperRare.
With the programs Cinema 4D and OctaneRander software, which require a lot of graphics cards, Winkelmann has created this work of art. The director of TIME was also pleased with the artwork. He sees this digital form of art the same as the physical variants. There is a lot of emotion and energy in both art forms, which affect others. Beeple calls the artwork itself part of the next chapter in art history.
The Complete MF Collection
As the title may suggest, Beeple doesn’t always use the neatest way to put things into words. This has contributed to the fact that I do not cover some artworks in this blog, because the images are not suitable for all ages. Beeple pushes the boundaries in both his art and his verbal way of expressing himself.
The Complete MF Collection is an NFT, which consists of footage from the 5000 Days collection. In total, 17 minutes and 31 seconds of footage were auctioned, in which all images are discussed. In total, this NFT sold for $777,777.77, which is worth about 302 ETH. This artwork was also auctioned via Nifty Gateway.
Beeple on social media
Want to follow Beeple on social media? The artist is active on various social media platforms, where he reaches many followers. The daily presentation of digital artwork is done through three different channels. Every day you can discover what Beeple has made for that day via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The content mainly revolves around the daily upload, but you can expect a little more content via Twitter.
The vast majority of people view these images via Instagram. More than 2.5 million people follow Beeple on Instagram. This number is more than all other social media channels combined. Despite this, Beeple also has a large reach through the other channels. There are about 600,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, who can admire Beeple’s artworks every day.
The fewest followers are reached via Youtube. Beeple has over 61,000 subscribers on Youtube. This is a lot less, but this is certainly not strange. On the video platform, Beeple has not uploaded for over a year. If you are curious how Beeple makes his artworks, watching his videos is a tip! In total, there are 273 videos on his channel, which together have been viewed more than 5 million times.
|Social media platform||Number of followers|
Beeple is perhaps the best-known artist in the field of NFTs. His creations are unique and therefore highly sought after by enthusiasts and investors. It is very clever to work 5000 days on a work of art, which Beeple never dreamed would be worth millions.
After the first 5000 days, when Beeple created a digital artwork every day, Beeple just kept going. A new digital artwork is still thrown onto the internet every day, which you can follow on the various social media channels.
The world of NFTs is still very young. It is therefore completely unknown what will happen to Beeple’s NFTs in the future. Will they be worth even more? Or are they running out of time? Time will tell. Are you looking for more information or do you have any questions about NFTs or Beeple? You can read everything here.