“Charlie Bit My Finger,” the classic YouTube video posted in 2007 and regarded as one of the earliest viral videos of the internet, sold as an NFT for $760,999 on Sunday, according to the CharlieBitMe.com auction page.
“Bid to own the soon-to-be-deleted YouTube phenomenon, Charlie Bit My Finger, leaving you as the sole owner of this lovable piece of internet history (while also getting the chance to say Charlie bit your finger, if you want to see what all the hype is about),” the auction details read.
The auction was won by a bidder named 3fmusic, who appeared to be in a bidding war with another potential buyer, mememaster, to win the NFT.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are a kind of certificate of authenticity. The NFT is a string of unique characters. Those characters are connected to a blockchain, a group of computers that act as a digital ledger that no one computer can change. The same concept powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, but whereas bitcoins are all essentially the same, NFTs are non-fungible, or unique.
The “Charlie Bit My Finger” video, which shows Charlie, a baby, biting the finger of his older brother Harry, who cries out the titular phrase, appears to have since been taken down from YouTube as of Monday morning.
Although duplicate videos of “Charlie Bit My Finger” exist on YouTube, auction winner 3fmusic will now have ownership of the original.
But an NFT is not a copyright, which means 3fmusic can’t prevent the spread or use of the meme, according to Decrypt, a website that covers cryptocurrency. The NFT is more like a digital autograph from the meme creator, Decrypt reported, certifying authenticity — similar to an autographed baseball card.
“Charlie Bit My Finger” is the latest in a long list of iconic memes being sold as NFTs — part of what has been dubbed a “meme gold rush.”
Other meme makers who have sold their iconic images in the “meme gold rush” include “Disaster Girl,” whose real name is Zoe Roth; “Bad Luck Brian,” whose real name is Kyle Craven; “Overly Attached Girlfriend,” whose real name is Laina Morris; and “Success Kid,” a photograph taken by Laney Griner of her son, Sam.
On Tuesday, another batch of video memes would be released as NFTs, including Gary Brolsma’s “Numa Numa” video, Christopher “Randall” Gordon’s “The Crazy Nastya — Honey Badger,” and Jordan Scott’s “Two Pretty Best Friends” TikTok, according to a press release.