After celebrating its 20th anniversary in January, the free internet encyclopedia Wikipedia continues to make history by selling its first non-fungible token (NFT) through auction giant Christie’s.
On December 15, Christie’s completed an auction of two Wikipedia-related objects directly from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.
titled The birth of Wikipedia, the online sale included two lots, an NFT of Wikipedia’s first edit, which sold for $750,000, and a Strawberry iMac used by Wales to create Wikipedia, sold for $187,500.
The NFT lot contains the first entry posted to Wikipedia by the site’s co-founder in 2001, a unique moment in the history of the internet: Wales typed the words “Hello, world!” after the site’s launch on January 15, 2001.
The NFT retains the Wikipedia homepage layout in 2001, based on the oldest surviving source code. The NFT also has a feature that allows the owner to edit the page, which can be reset with a timer to return to its original state.
Christie’s senior specialist Peter Klarnet said the auction result “underlines the burgeoning interest in the history of the Internet among collectors.” According to the auction house, Wikipedia will use a portion of the sale proceeds to support Wales’ alternative social media network pilot project WT.Social.
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Christie’s, one of the world’s largest auction houses, entered the NFT industry in early 2021, announcing in February the auction of its first-ever “pure digital artwork” by digital artist Beeple. Beeple’s NFT piece “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sold for over $69 million in March and emerged as one of the world’s most expensive NFTs.