Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have made plenty of headlines throughout 2021 and 2022, with top collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks selling for millions and crypto domains entering the scene.
NFTs also became an important part of the gaming world, with “play-to-earn” blockchain games such as Axie Infinity and The Sandbox enabling gamers to earn money while completing missions, quests, and trading.
However, history may remember some of the highest-flying NFT sales as being NFT domains. Like the early .com boom, buyers are purchasing domain names at large scales, hoping to claim a piece of Internet “real estate” on the blockchain.
Blockchain domains turn complex wallet addresses into simple domain names while providing censorship-resistant websites. Domain names come with various endings from .crypto and .eth to .dao and .blockchain.
They can be purchased on Unstoppable Domains and Ethereum Name Service (ENS) or traded on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.
The following article explores the most expensive crypto domains ever sold.
Growth Of The Crypto Domain Market
The value of crypto domains has grown exponentially since their popularization by brands like Unstoppable Domains and ENS.
Most domains start at $10 to $20, and many sell at significantly higher prices on secondary markets.
According to stats by DappRader, NFT sales hit $342 million in February 2021, which was higher than the total value of sales in 2020. Following this all-time high, Unstoppable Domains launched the sale of its “win.crypto” domain in March 2021. This sold for $120,000 and broke records as the most expensive crypto domain. It showcased that the NFT category was broader than just digital art.
Later in the year, Unstoppable Domains launched 94 premium sports and gaming NFTs to the public, including “gambling.crypto” and “baseball.crypto”. These sold out in only a few days, further displaying the potential for blockchain domains. Following this success, Unstoppable Domains stated they would launch a batch of premium domains each week, spanning a range of industries.
As of February 2022, Unstoppable Domains has sold over 2 million domains, including domains for several Fortune 1000 companies such as IBM and Alibaba. Brands can also reserve their domain by contacting Unstoppable Domains through their online form.
Crypto Domains: Not A New Concept
The idea behind crypto domains has been around since Bitcoin. In 2011 Namecoin, a fork of Bitcoin was the first attempt to create a crypto domain. However, with the technology behind cryptocurrency in its early days, the number of applications for a crypto domain was limited. Cryptocurrency wasn’t yet accepted as an actual means of exchange, and the idea didn’t catch on.
However, after a few iterations of innovation, the launch of smart-contract enabled platforms like Ethereum, crypto domains are a much more realistic product today than ever.
Blockchain Domains Are Being Used In New Markets
Although cryptocurrency domains were originally sold among early crypto enthusiasts and insiders, their potential has been recognized by companies seeking similar profits early domain squatters made in the dot com boom.
As a result, these domains are selling at a price higher than ever before.
For example, Budweiser recently purchased “beer.eth” for $95,000, and the domain “sex.crypto” was sold for $90,000. Both of these domains are now worth more than $600,000.
Despite these domains selling for huge prices, most crypto domains are still relatively affordable. On OpenSea, over 319,000 domains are available from Unstoppable Domains, each selling for a price below 0.01 ETH. This makes the market extremely attractive for new investors who want to profit from domain investments. However, it has also resulted in some restrictions by providers.
Unstoppable Domains has reserved several thousand domains for notable brands and individuals, making them ineligible for purchase– the idea is to prevent an individual from buying the domain and using it to impersonate a particular individual. This protects the brand’s integrity and prevents any unethical misuse of domains.
Crypto Focused Domains Remain Dominant
With the hype around NFTs still prevalent, it’s no surprise that the most expensive crypto domains are those within the industry itself. First names, crypto, and finance-related terms remain by far the most popular.
Here are the top 10 most expensive crypto domains purchased as of July 2022.
Keep in mind each domain was purchased with ETH, the value of which fluctuates fairly frequently.
The following list calculates the domain value in ETH at $3159 USD.
Sex.Crypto sold for 230 ETH ($726,570)
Own.Crypto sold for 35 ETH ($110,565)
Hodl.Crypto sold for 30.5 ETH ($96,349)
LiquidGold.Crypto sold for 20 ETH ($63,180)
BitcoinUK.Crypto sold for 14 ETH ($44,226)
Oncology.Crypto sold for 12 ETH ($37,908)
PropertyInsurance.Crypto sold for 11.75 ETH ($37,118)
Vietnamese.Crypto sold for 10 ETH ($31,590)
EthereumPay.Crypto sold for 10 ETH ($31,590)
Three-Two-One.Crypto sold for 8 ETH ($25,272)
Final Thoughts: Will Crypto Domains Become More Valuable Than Traditional Domains?
With the market for crypto domains growing at a substantial rate, is it possible for crypto domains to take over?
Well, if there’s a shot, there’s a long way for crypto domains to go.
Despite a few six-figure domain sales being major stepping stones for the market, they’re still dwarfed by the amounts spent on traditional “.com” domains. For example, in February 2021, the domain “sushi.com” was purchased for $1.9 million by Future Fund to create the decentralized cryptocurrency exchange SushiSwap. However, this is still significantly smaller than the highest .com purchase of CarInsurance.com, which sold for a whopping $49.7 million.
Although some speculators remain optimistic about the market, it may take several years before blockchain domains are valued at the same price as traditional equivalents.
A large driver will be the adoption and utility of the domains, as many browsers like Google Chrome still don’t support the use of .crypto or .eth domains for websites.
With the crypto market continuing to be one of the fastest-growing on the planet, the value of everyday crypto domains will likely continue to increase.