HomeCryptocurrencyTop NFT vs Physical Art Sales in 2020-2021

Top NFT Vs Physical Art Sales in 2020-2021

Khashayar Abbasi
Khashayar Abbasi
16th Feb 2023
  • Investors spent $183,000,000 on the top 10 NFTs, compared to $839,000,000 for paintings over the past two years.

  • The most expensive NFT sold for $69,340,000 and $103,000,000 for a physical painting.

  • NFTs offer a new dimension to art including publicly verifiable ownership, authenticity, and scarcity.

The past two years have been monumental for crypto in many ways.

Prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies hit new all-time highs, memecoins entered the mainstream and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) captured the attention of users around the world.

NFTs in particular have received immense coverage due to big-ticket sales that have spurred comparisons to the physical art world.

In this article, we take a look at the biggest NFT sales so far and compare them to the most expensive artworks sold in the same two-year period, and if you are new to the NFTs, take a look at our guide to NFTs to learn more.

Read on to find out more.


Through our research, we found that in total, investors spent over $183,000,000 on the top 10 NFTs, compared to $839,000,000 for that of physical artworks over the past two years.

The most expensive painting sold for over $103,000,000, compared to $69,340,000 for an NFT.

Only three NFTs so far have sold for more than $25,000,000 whereas several paintings have exceeded this amount in the past year alone.

Indeed, it’s clear to see that physical art is still dominating in terms of total amount invested.

However, it is worth noting that all of the physical artworks sold have had decades, if not centuries to appreciate in value.

This comes in stark contrast to NFTs which are a nascent technology that have only gained mainstream awareness in the past two years or so.

NFTs have helped to shine a light on the next generation of digital artists and converted many individuals into budding art collectors.

Users are now able to own fractional shares of artwork that is above their price range, and prove their ownership publicly on the blockchain for all to see.

Moreover, scarcity and authenticity are now publicly verifiable data for NFTs as well, setting them apart from the physical world which has previously struggled in some cases to validate these claims.

There have been many cases of famous artworks being sold and later turning out to be fake.

While digital art has existed long before NFTs, they too have suffered from the same shortcomings of physical art.

When buying digital art, it can be difficult to determine whether you are dealing with the actual owner or whether someone has simply copy and pasted the art onto a marketplace.

In many ways, NFTs offer a novel solution to an age-old problem and this trend is likely to continue to grow in popularity in the years to come.

Author Bio
Khashayar Abbasi
Khashayar Abbasi
Khashayar discovered Bitcoin back in 2014 and has since spent countless hours researching the different use cases of cryptocurrencies. He has a bachelor's degree in International Relations and has been a writer in the financial services industry for nearly half a decade. In his spare time, Khashayar enjoys photography, cycling, and ice skating.