Beloved meme video ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ is set to be deleted from YouTube — after the family behind the 14-year-old viral clip sold it as a non-fungible token (NFT) for $760,999.
In the video, one of the first on YouTube to cross over into mainstream culture, 3-year-old British tyke Harry sticks his finger into his 1-year-old brother’s maw. “Ow, Charlie! Ow! Charlie! That really hurt!” Harry says, as his baby bro giggles. “Charlie bit me. And that really hurt, Charlie, and it’s still hurting.”
Earlier this month, the U.K.’s Davies-Carr family (whose kids are featured in the classic video) said they would auction off “Charlie Bit My Finger” as an NFT, a blockchain-based system that provides verified proof of ownership for digital assets. NFTs have exploded in popularity in 2021, creating a craze for digital collectibles (often paid for in cryptocurrency).
The NFT winner will be “the sole owner of this lovable piece of internet history,” according to the family’s site for the auction. In addition to owning the “soon-to-be-deleted YouTube phenomenon,” the buyer also will “have the opportunity to create their own parody of the video featuring the original stars, Harry and Charlie.”
Despite the cachet that may come with owning the original “Charlie Bit My Finger” video as an NFT, there are numerous copies of the video floating around the internet that will remain viewable.
The NFT auction of ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ was won by a user with the screen name “3fmusic” on Sunday, May 23, with a bid of $760,999. A Twitter account with the same name — which on Sunday tweeted “CHARLIE BIT ME!” — describes 3F Music as “one of the best and well equipped music studios in [the] Middle East” based in Dubai, but it’s not clear that is the same entity that won the NFT auction.
CHARLIE BIT ME!
— 3F Music (@3fmusic) May 23, 2021
The boys’ dad, Howard Davies-Carr, told CBS News that the money from the NFT sale “means that Harry goes to university and has a nice place to stay and doesn’t have to have a bar job.”
The family unlisted the original YouTube video (officially titled ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ – again !”) but as of this writing it remains available. The clip has racked up more than 883 million views to date.