Coming in right before 2021 comes to a close, The Merge by NFT artist Pak sold for $91.8 million via the Nifty Gateway. What makes it more interesting is that rather than one person owning the entire NFT, The Merge was fractionalised and distributed between 28.983 traders. That comes up to a little over 300,000 fractionalised pieces of the NFT per person. Better known as Beeple, digital artist Mike Winkelmann is a mainstay in the NFT universe today. And the credit for that, in large part, goes to a piece called Everdays: The First 5000 Days, which was sold for a whopping $69 million. It’s a collage built over 13 years, and Winkelmann started working on it in 2007, finishing in 2020.The digital art was auctioned by Christie’s, the auction house, and was bought by crypto billionaire MetaKovan, who has called Beeple the “artist of the digital-native generation”. The sale pushed Beeple into the limelight, and the artist has since worked with large traditional brands like Nike and Louis Vuitton, and musician Katy Perry.Everydays: The First 5,000 Days wasn’t the only digital art by Beeple that made headlines this year. His masterpiece called Human One sold for $28.9 million at another auction hosted by Christie’s – that’s double the expected price.The moving portrait is the depiction of the first human born in the metaverse. It's a 3D video sculpture that is 7-feet high featuring a person in a space helmet walking across different landscapes within a box that is 4x4 feet.CryptoPunk 7523 sold for $11.75 million at a Sotheby’s auction. Aside from CryptoPunk 9998, which sold fraudulently for $530 million, CryptoPunk7523 is the most expensive avatar in the collection till date.A lot of people still believe that CryptoPunks is nothing more than a general Internet fad, but the concept behind this project is actually much more important.On the face of it, CryptoPunks is simply a series of 8-bit, digital characters that have no real use. People buy them and use them as profile pictures on platforms like Twitter, messaging apps and more. They can sell these on other platforms too, and their price keeps appreciating.However, each CryptoPunk avatar is linked to the blockchain and it can be linked to web3 apps. Which is exactly how the realistic avatars Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is imagining today will work in future.And if you take all that into account, the fact that CryptoPunk 4156 was auctioned for $10.35 million doesn’t sound too far-fetched. The project could, in theory, evolve to become something much bigger in future.The CryptoPunks project has racked up over $2.2 billion in trading volume in its lifetime, according to blockchain tracking firm DappRadar. While #3100 went for $7.58 million, #7804 was sold for $7.57 million. This particular punk is said to be very rare, and like #3100 it’s also part of a group called ‘Alien Punk’. It’s also one of only 378 punks that use pipes, and amongst only 254 punks that wear caps.CryptoPunk 3100 is one of only 9 CryptoPunks within the alien category. It also adorns a headband, which only 400 CryptoPunks have in the collection of 10,000 avatars.While this avatar sold for $7.58 million in March, it was spotted again at a listed price of $111.16 million in August. However, it looks like no-one has thus far been willing to pay a price that high.NFT artist Xcopy’s Right-click and Save As guy sold for $7.09 million in November. It was bought by Snoop Dogg’s NFT alias ‘Cozomo de Medici’ via SuperRare. The rapper also bought Xcopy’s NFT called Some A****** for $3.9 million in September. Xcopy is well known in the NFT world for his digital creations, normally in the form of visual loops, that explore the modern conundrums of “death, dystopia and indifference”. According to his profile on OpenSea, XCopy has sold more than 1,300 items. Art Blocks’ Ringers #109 sold for $6.93 million during the first week of October, this year – making it the most expensive Art Block ever sold. What makes the Art Block unique is the dash of red colour, which is only present in 0.3% of the pieces.Beeple didn’t stop with the $69 million sale of Everydays: The First 5000 Days, Winkelmann also sold an artwork called Crossroad for $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway. It’s a digital image of a person who looks a lot like former US President Donald Trump lying on the ground with messages like ‘loser’ etched on his body, while people walk past him. Beeple had said that the outcome of the election would change the meaning of the artwork, and while this version became big after Trump lost the elections, Winkelmann had one ready in case Trump won as well.Beeple dominates most lists about NFTs today, because the artist has just been at the forefront of some of the biggest sales ever since Everydays: The First 5000 Days. Ocean Front follows Crossroads, and was sold for $6 million, and the artist donated the money to the Ocean Earth Foundation, a non-profit that promotes open source platforms.Sold on Nifty Gateway, the starting bid for this one was $2.77 million, which is almost equivalent to the amount Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey got for selling the first tweet ever. It was bought by Tron founder Justin Sun, who outbid NFT whale BabyBeluga and music studio 3F Music.As we move to the third generation of the internet, its founder is also taking note. On June 30, Tim Berners Lee, the man who created the world wide web, sold the Internet’s source code for a whopping $5.7 million through an auction arranged by Sotheby’s auction house.The NFT included the time stamped files for the web’s original source code, an autographed poster by Lee himself, an animated video of the code’s creator and a letter from Sir Lee himself.Lee’s involvement in the NFT place turned many heads, and showed naysayers that there was more to this space than meets the eye.Lee isn’t the only big Internet personality who took interest either. The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has spoken in favour of web3 and crypto many times. In April, Snowden sold his first NFT for $5.4 million, which happened to be an image of his own face overlapping the court documents from the case that took place after Snowden revealed the National Security Agency’s (NSA) espionage operations on its own citizens.Snowden donated the proceeds from the sale to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that works to protect the freedom of press.Canadian artist Michah Dowbak, who is popularly known as Mad Dog Jones, has a distinction that will likely make a lot of sense in some years. His NFT, called Replicator, was sold for $4.1 million and is the first “multi-generational NFT”, because it’s designed to print a new design every 28 days. Which means that the person buying this will essentially get new NFTs every month or so.“Replicator is the story of a machine through time. It is a reflection on forms of past groundbreaking innovation and serves as a metaphor for modern technology’s continuum. I’m interested to see how collectors will respond as the work evolves and the NFTs in their possession continue to create new generations,” is how Jones defines his piece.Jack Dorsey’s NFT sale doesn’t sound very expensive anymore, but in a lot of ways the Twitter co-founder really lit the fire for this industry. He sold the first-ever Tweet, posted on March 21, 2006, for a whopping $2.9 million. The proceeds were donated to charity, but it was about much more.Dorsey has since brought NFTs to Twitter, and though he has left the company now, it’s clear that the platform is going to capitalise on this space.