In brief

  • Noted NFT artist Pak sold nearly $92 million worth of “mass” tokens for his experimental Merge NFT project on Nifty Gateway.
  • The tokens will be combined to form dynamic NFT collectibles that vary in part based on how many tokens were merged.

Pak was one of the early stars of the NFT space, as the first artist to earn more than $1 million total from tokenized artwork, and has continued to push the medium with Sotheby’s first NFT auction, experimental drops, and more. Now the mysterious artist has single-handedly yielded one of the largest NFT drops to date with Merge.

Launched on Thursday at NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway, Merge is unique in that buyers didn’t purchase the actual Ethereum NFTs. Instead, they paid for “mass” tokens that will be combined to create dynamic, distinctive NFT collectibles following the token sale.

Pak’s prominent profile and the enigmatic format apparently lured in NFT collectors, as 28,984 total buyers collectively spent more than $91.8 million during the two-day token sale. All told, 266,444 mass tokens were purchased, according to final stats that the Gemini-owned marketplace provided to Decrypt, with the top wallet amassing 8,695 of the tokens.

Existing Pak NFT collectors gained early access to the sale and could purchase tokens for $299 apiece, while the public sale started at $400 per token and increased in $25 intervals every six hours. The last tokens were sold at a price of $575 apiece.


Merge is now the highest-grossing project in Nifty Gateway’s history. The marketplace tweeted on Thursday that more than $70 million worth of mass tokens had been sold within the first few hours of the launch, with more than 20,000 unique users buying within that initial span.

Nifty Gateway originally tweeted over the weekend that it was the “the largest ever art sale by a living creator,” which isn’t correct as a blanket statement. For example, artist Damien Hirst—who has since entered the NFT spaceheld a $200 million solo artwork auction in 2008, while Jasper Johns’ “Flag” reportedly sold for $110 million in 2010.

A representative for the company offered a softer stance today, telling Decrypt that it was “one of the largest NFT drops and from a living creator.” Some members of the crypto community had speculated that the sale topped $100 million, but Nifty Gateway’s final numbers show that the ultimate primary sale tally was just under $92 million.


On the NFT front, Beeple’s $69.3 million dollar sale in March at a Christie’s auction holds the title for a single piece of artwork, while the $96 million drop of 10,000 Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs in August appears to hold the record for a wider primary sale or minting.

An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a rare digital item, including illustrations, profile pictures, video files, and more. The market has ballooned over the course of 2021, including some $10.7 billion worth of trading volume in Q3, per a report from DappRadar.

Pak’s Merge NFTs will be minted starting today, according to a Nifty Gateway community manager, and the visual size and other elements of the NFTs are based in part on how many mass tokens are held in each wallet.

The artwork is generated on-chain using a custom script, similar to the popular Art Blocks project. The look of the NFT will continue to change based on the number of mass tokens acquired, as tokens will be available on the secondary market as well. The NFTs can also yield ASH “social currency” tokens, like previous Pak drops, with full details yet to be revealed.

Pak was the first artist to sell NFTs through storied auction house Sotheby’s, which has since ramped up its efforts in the space. His April sale for The Fungible yielded $17 million in sales through Sotheby’s. More recently, Pak’s Lost Poets project drop in September generated about $70 million worth of NFT sales.

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