It wasn’t long ago that your average person had no clue what an NFT was. Nowadays, they’re making headlines for selling for hundreds of thousands of bucks. Predictably, folks are learning about NFTs fast.
An NFT — or a non-fungible token — is a type of cryptocurrency where you basically own a unique digital object. Think of it sort of like digital art. So naturally, people have forked over lots of cash of classic memes — effectively the foundational works of digital art.
If you grew up on the early internet, some of the folks that made the earliest memes have finally cashed in on the recent NFT craze.
“It’s been really fascinating to watch how this gold rush has happened,” Don Caldwell, editor-in-chief of the meme website Know Your Meme told NBC News. “As far as it goes with becoming a meme, it’s very difficult to monetize that. We’ve spoken to numerous people who have become memes and have had a lot of difficultly making money off their creations.”
Here are some of the classic memes that sold for big bucks.
1. Bad Luck Brian
Remember the braces-laden, redhead kid who became a meme? The creator and the face of that iconic image sold an NFT of it for roughly $36,000 in the cryptocurrency Ethereum in March.
2. Disaster Girl
Zoë Roth, better known as Disaster Girl, raked in $500,000 in Ethereum when she sold her iconic image — where she’s eying a camera as a house burns — as an NFT in May.
Doge is everywhere these days. The coin is going to the moon. And the NFT sold for a HUGE chunk of change. In June 2021, it sold for record-breaking $4 million worth of Ethereum. Four. Million.
The simple picture of a Shiba Inu named “Kabosu” was taken back in 2010. It has since somehow spread all over the internet.
4. Charlie Bit My Finger
If you’re of a certain age, the phrase “Ouch, Charlie” can only be read one way. And that’s in the delightful British tone uttered by Harry Davies-Carr after his brother, then a toddler, nibbled on his finger.
The YouTube clip was one of the original viral videos some 14 years ago. An NFT of the video sold for $760,999 in May and the classic video has now left YouTube for good.
5. Overly Attached Girlfriend
6. Scumbag Steve
The poorly dressed, 1,000-yard stare meme from years ago sold for about $57,000 in March.
7. Success Kid
Remember that fist-pumping toddler who populated early memes about like…getting fries at the bottom of a takeout bag? That sold for 15 Ethereum, which is now worth $32,355.75.
8. Leave Brittany Alone
Chris Crocker made internet history by defending Britney Spears in a viral video back in 2007. It sold for about $41,000 in April.
9. Nyan Cat
A flying, rainbow, Pop Tart cat meme sold for $590,000. Yes, really. What a world.