What just happened? On January 15, 2001, Jimmy Wales made his first edit on Wikipedia, marking the launch of the most famous free online encyclopedia in the world. Now, Christie's will be auctioning this same edit as an NFT alongside the strawberry-colored iMac computer he used to create the site.
The auction titled "The Birth of Wikipedia" will run from December 3 to December 15. The highest bidder will be allowed to edit the work as they see fit. Wales said making the work modifiable seem like the right way "to express artistically what [he thinks] was meaningful about that moment of potential and excitement — that you might make something amazing, or you might make something that doesn't work at all."
Part of the proceeds from the sale of the NFT will support WT.Social, a social network project from Wales that aims to create a healthy and safe alternative to traditional social media platforms. This platform is ad-free and uses a donation-based model, so any extra money would be welcome to further develop the project.
"Wikipedia stands as the largest aggregation of human knowledge ever assembled," said Peter Klarnet, Christie's senior specialist for Americana, books and manuscripts. "It's a testament to the power of what crowd-sourcing can achieve: allowing billions of people access to a vast trove of information — and all of it free of charge."
NFTs have been making headlines lately, as some are willing to pay $650,000 for a yacht only available in the metaverse, buy the very first tweet ever made for $3 million, or even spend $5.4 million for the source code of the World Wide Web. The current record-holder for the most expensive NFT is a collage of digital art named "Everydays: The First 5000 Days," which sold for $69 million.
Images credit: Christie's