“Charlie Bit Me” won’t be taken down from YouTube after all.
The 2007 viral video was auctioned off as a nonfungible token (NFT) this week, with its seller saying that it would be deleted from the website to be “memorialized” on the blockchain. The decision to remove the original YouTube clip came as a twist for the blockchain market of meme memorabilia, and no doubt attracted more bidders to bump its value at auction.
Instead, the father of the video’s stars, Howard Davies-Carr, now says the clip will stay up on the video platform after it’s NFT version sold for about $761,000 on Sunday — a purchase value that surpassed that of other recent sales of NFTs in the meme genre.
“After the auction we connected with the buyer who ended up deciding to keep the video on Youtube,” Davies-Carr said in an emailed statement. “The buyer felt that the video is an important part of popular culture and shouldn’t be taken down. It will now live on Youtube for the masses to continue enjoying as well as memorialized as an NFT on the blockchain.”
The buyer is 3F Music, a music studio based in Dubai, which also won the auction for Disaster Girl and other meme NFTs.
Davies-Carr said in an interview with Quartz that his family offered to delete the original clip from YouTube in order to increase the sale price.
An editor for The Verge, Kim Lyons, grumbled about the bait-and-switch, writing that “this last-minute switcheroo will just encourage ever more ridiculous stunts for people to get coverage and buyers for their NFTs.”
Most of the money from the sale will pay for the university educations of his two famous sons, Harry and Charlie, the father told the website.
Some funds will also go to carbon offset charities, he said, to help counter the enormous environmental costs of energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining.
“I have dabbled in mining but only when I have excess power being generated from my solar panels,” he told Quartz. “This is something Harry and Charlie feel very passionately about, and they will be the next custodians of the planet.”