Charlie’s about to bite his last finger.
The 55-second clip of a toddler happily munching on his brother’s hand is being pulled from YouTube after being auctioned off as an NFT this past Sunday. The clip was at the centre of an hours-long bidding war, which finally ended after an anonymous bidder put down $US760,999 ($976,057) for the 55-second piece of internet history.
As for now, the video is still live on YouTube (albeit unlisted). The auction site that was created by the Davies-Carr Family behind the clip noted that it’s “soon-to-be-deleted.” Right now, anyone can still download the video and meme it to their heart’s content. As a reminder that NFTs aren’t necessarily the same as the item that they represent, the auction site explicitly says, “The top bidder will be the sole NFT holder of the Charlie Bit My Finger NFT.” The future owner of the video’s copyright is unclear.
In a statement, the parents of the two boys — now 15 and 17 years old — said that pulling the video from YouTube “is not the end of the beloved video, but rather a new beginning. We helped YouTube grow and embraced it early. We are now moving onto the next exciting thing.”
Since being posted to YouTube roughly 14 years ago, the clip’s garnered 880 million views — making the clip firmly the most viewed viral video of all time.
As for what the family plans to do with their funds, their father told CBS in an interview that hopefully, they can use the cash to send older brother Harry to university with “a nice place to stay.”
This isn’t the first time a piece of meme history was captured — and monetised — in the form of an NFT. Last month, Zoë Roth (aka Disaster Girl) auctioned off her own likeness in tokenised form for a hefty $US473,000 ($606,670) and many others have made bank off of the collision of early internet fame and NFTs. RIP to Charlie, a real one.