Christie’s completed an auction of two Wikipedia-related artefacts from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales on December 15th.
Following its 20th anniversary celebration in January, the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia continues to make history by selling its first nonfungible token (NFT) through Christie’s auction house. Christie’s completed an auction of two Wikipedia-related artefacts from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales on December 15th.
The online auction, titled The Birth of Wikipedia, featured two lots: an NFT of Wikipedia’s first edit, which went for $750,000, and a Strawberry iMac, which was used by Wales to build Wikipedia and sold for $187,500.
The NFT lot includes the first message placed to Wikipedia by the site’s co-founder in 2001, marking a watershed moment in internet history: Wales typed “Hello, World!” after launching the site on Jan. 15, 2001.
Based on the earliest available source code, the NFT preserves the layout of the Wikipedia home page in 2001. The NFT also features a function that allows the owner to alter the page, which may then be reverted to its previous state with the use of a timer.
The auction’s outcome “underscores the rising interest in the history of the internet among collectors,” according to Christie’s senior expert Peter Klarnet. Wikipedia will utilize a portion of the sale revenues to promote WT.Social, a Welsh alternative social media network pilot project, according to the auction house.
Christie’s, one of the world’s leading auction houses, entered the NFT market in early 2021, announcing in February the auction of its first-ever “purely digital work of art” by digital artist Beeple. In March, Beeple’s NFT “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sold for more than $69 million, making it one of the most valuable NFTs in the world.