Charlie bit off more than $760,000.
The 2007 video of a baby chomping his older brother’s finger is the latest viral meme-ory to be auctioned off as a nonfungible token, or NFT, for big bucks.
A nonfungible token is a certificate of ownership for a digital asset that is unique and is not meant to serve as a means of exchange.
The 55-second video of Harry Davies-Carr, then 3, getting nipped by 1-year-old brother Charlie is one of the most-watched YouTube videos of all time. A recap: Harry giggles when Charlie nibbles his finger the first time. But when the baby bites down again — and even harder — Harry cries out in pain and admonishes his brother (and in an adorable British accent, to boot), “Charlie, that really hurt!” Baby Charlie giggles in glee.
And a viral video was born.
The original clip has been viewed more than 885 million times and counting.
And as incentive to get people to bid on an NFT of the clip already viewed hundreds of millions of times, the Davis-Carr family announced that they would be pulling the beloved video off of the Google-owned GOOGL, -0.25% GOOG, +0.38% video-sharing site some time following the auction. The family launched the auction on May 22, which marked the 14th anniversary of the video being uploaded to YouTube.
“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),” reads the auction website.
On May 23, a bidder under the name “3fmusic” scored the NFT for $760,999 following a fierce bidding war. What’s more, the winner will get to film a new version of “Charlie Bit Me” with the brothers, who are now 17 and 15 years old.
But there’s good news for “Charlie Bit My Finger” lovers: the video will remain on YouTube, after all, at the request of the new NFT owner. Howard Davies-Carr, the boys’ father who filmed and uploaded the video, told Quartz that, “The buyer felt that the video is an important part of popular culture and shouldn’t be taken down. It will now live on YouTube for the masses to continue enjoying as well as memorialized as an NFT on the blockchain.”
Harry, now 17, told Insider that Origin Protocol, a digital marketplace for NFTs, offered the family a “personalized auction” to sell an NFT of their famous home movie. They decided to bite because they “wanted to commit to the whole evolving ethos of NFT,” Harry told the site, and “give it new life.”
They’re the latest family reclaiming their internet-famous images through NFT auctions. The now-grown kid in the “David After Dentist” video recently made more than $13,500 selling an NFT of his 2009 YouTube video, which featured 7-year-old him acting a little loopy from anesthesia following a tooth extraction.
Former “Disaster Girl” Zoe Roth, who was 4 when her father took the viral photo of her smiling slyly into the camera as a house burns down behind her, sold an NFT of her meme for almost half a million dollars last month.
“Being able to sell it just shows us that we do have some sort of control, some sort of agency in the whole process,” Roth, now 21, told the Raleigh News & Observer. Plus, she and her dad hired a lawyer and a manager to help them handle the logistics of uploading the file and “minting” the NFT — which means they’ve also coded it so that anytime the NFT is bought they receive 10% of the sale.
Chris Torres, who created the Nyan Cat GIF of a flying cat leaving a rainbow trail behind it, recently sold an NFT version of his art piece for almost $600,000.
Some other recent headline-making NFT transactions include Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet selling for $2.9 million; Kings of Leon releasing an NFT-only album for more than $2 million; and a 10-second digital collage that took 13 years to make selling for $69 million at auction.
This story has been updated with the news that the original “Charlie Bit My Finger” video will remain on YouTube.