NEW YORK – Christie’s auctioned two objects pertaining to the history of Wikipedia directly from Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the online non-profit encyclopedia. The online sale titled The Birth of Wikipedia consisted of two lots: an NFT of Wikipedia’s first edit, which sold for $750,000, and a Strawberry iMac used by Wales at the time, which totaled $187,500.
Peter Klarnet, Senior Specialist, Christie’s said: We’re so honored to have had the opportunity to bring these two pieces to auction—we think that the result underscores the burgeoning interest in the history of the internet among collectors.”
A portion of the sale proceeds will help support Wales’s alternative social media network pilot project WT.Social, an attempt to find a healthier and nontoxic alternative with existing social media platforms with a donation-only advertising-free model, as well as to help support a variety of charities working in the free culture world.
The Strawberry iMac was Wales’ personal computer, which he used for development and research at the time of the website’s launch on January 15, 2001, monitoring the site’s early development, guarding against vandals, and marveling at its rapid growth. As the computer grew obsolete, it was relegated to the room of his young daughter, who used it to play video games. It was later stored away in its original box, which will be included with the sale.
An NFT of the first edit to Wikipedia: “Hello, World!” made by Wales on the day Wikipedia launched, would be the first in a long line of edits that would produce the "the largest and most-read reference work in history." (Wikipedia) and the NFT preserves the layout of the Wikipedia home page in 2001, based on the earliest source code extant. The NFT also has a dynamic feature, enabling the owner to edit the page, which can be reset with a timer to revert to its original state.
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