Over the past decade, memes have permeated practically every facet of our culture. They dictate the newest dance steps, allow us to communicate complicated thoughts and feelings instantly, and even create professions. In this regard, memes have become a fundamental aspect of our life. Many are transformed and remixed throughout the years, acquiring specific significance in diverse subcultures. Other memes remain practically intact throughout time and attained legendary status, such as “Charlie Bit My Finger,” which is recognized by people of almost all backgrounds and ages. And now there are meme NFTs.
Thanks to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), memes have suddenly become something no one anticipated: assets everyone may possess.
Since NFTs may represent practically anything – a piece of digital art, a song, a poem, a baseball card, or even a digital deed to a property — it’s not unexpected that memes find their way into the blockchain as NFTs. Therefore, it is not unexpected that so many meme producers have chosen to sell their work as NFTs, as doing so allows them to get reimbursed for their efforts.
So, let’s take a minute to honor the authors of classic memes who embraced the new creative economy by minting and selling their unique intellectual property — and a part of our youth — as NFTs. Here is a chronological listing of all the significant NFT meme sales to date. Please let us know if we missed any, and check back frequently. This article will be updated as fresh meme auctions are initiated and concluded.
Date: February 19, 2021
Price: 300 ETH ($587,241)
Chris Torres initiated the avalanche of meme NFTs in February of 2021. He created the Nyan Cat character and was the first meme maker to sell his work as an NFT. On a frigid winter day, he sold his rainbow pop-tart cat for over $600,000 and made history.
Torres accurately anticipated that this would be the first of several significant meme NFTs. At the time of the auction, he tweeted that the event “opened the floodgates to the future of meme economy in the Crypto realm.” Torres also lauded NFTs, stating that they made it possible for artists like himself to receive due acknowledgment for their work finally.
Date: March 5, 2021
Price: 42 ETH ($69,362)
Trollface was one of the initial images to be widely recognized, understood, and spread as a meme in the early 2000s. On September 19, 2008, Carlos Ramrez drew the artwork in Microsoft Paint. Prior to the introduction of social media, the now-iconic image initially garnered popularity on 4chan and other forum sites.
It seems like virtual freedom on the internet would last forever. However, Ramirez maintained his initial IP claim (intellectual property). As a result, he was able to benefit from it through NFTs. Obviously, the image may still be found on the Internet, but a new owner now holds IP rights.
Date: March 8
20 ETH ($37,442)
Ian Davies and Kyle Craven created Bad Luck Brian in response to the Nyan Cat craze. The image is a favorite from the “top text, bottom text” meme period and is an authentic school photo of Cravens. It has been transmitted through internet culture for over a decade.
Date: March 13, 2021
Price: 44.2 ETH ($78,135)
Grumpy Cat is likely the cutest meme on this list. In reality, the cat’s name was Tardar Sauce, and she resided in Arizona with her owner, Tabatha Bundesen. The cat gained considerable popularity after Bundesen uploaded a photograph to Reddit on September 23, 2012. The graphic simply said, “Meet Grumpy Cat.” It endured the test of time, but it also evolved into a whole brand.
The cat later became the official “spokescat” of Friskies, starred in a Lifetime Christmas movie titled “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” and her book reached No. 7 on The New York Times bestseller list. It is not surprising that the image of Grumpy Cat is still widely circulated years after it was first uploaded on Reddit. Unfortunately, Grumpy Cat died away in May of 2019. Nonetheless, in a little manner, she continues to live on the internet and on the blockchain as an NFT.
Date: March 13, 2021
Price: 33.5501 ETH ($64,455)
In 1984, Charlie Schmidt filmed a Keyboard cat on a Betacam. The melodic feline joy, whose true name was Fatso, died in 1987 and did not become a meme until decades later. Schmidt uploaded the video to YouTube for the first time in 2007, over twenty years later.
In 2009, when Brad O’Farrell added it at the end of a blooper film, the meme took off and became popular. Keyboard Cat was so influential that he inspired ads, a Green Day cover, and a 2014 Puppy Bowl halftime performance.
Date: March 13, 2021
Price: 30.2008 ETH ($54,205)
Blake Boston, 16 years old, is portrayed in the Scumbag Steve meme. 2006 photograph by Susan Boston, Boston’s mother. It was then uploaded to MySpace, where it was made into a meme.
According to Boston, Internet users sought down Boston’s true name, phone number, Facebook profile, and other personal information and sent him nasty messages. Boston coined and sold the image as an NFT in early 2021, earning almost $54,000 at the time of sale.
Date: April 3, 2021
Price: #1 – 35 ETH ($70,321), #2 – 40 ETH ($80,367)
Allison Harvard of Los Angeles is the creator of the character Creepy Chan. Harvard immediately became a meme after posting her images on 4Chan in 2005. Due to the meme’s immense popularity, Harvard gained little notoriety. In 2009, she appeared as a competitor on the reality television show America’s Next Top Model after becoming somewhat of an E-girl cliché.
Date: April 3, 2021
Price: 200 ETH ($401,838)
Laina Morris’s Overly Attached Girlfriend persona has garnered international laughter and attention for over a decade. Morris developed the video for a contest launched by Justin Bieber in which he requested people to make a “girlfriend” equivalent to his song “Boyfriend.” The video garnered popularity on Reddit after being published on YouTube.
The viral phenomenon helped launch Morris’ YouTube career, where she has amassed over 1.2 million subscribers over the years. However, Morris announced her resignation from YouTube in July 2019. In her declaration, she listed despair and anxiety as the key reasons for her choice. It was one of the first YouTube memes to be marketed as an NFT in 2021.
Date: April 10, 2021
Price: 15 ETH ($32,258)
Success Kid was, without a doubt, one of the most popular memes of the early 2000s. Born from Laney Griner’s attempts to capture a cheerful photo of her then 11-month-old baby Sam, the popular meme was yet another leader of the “top text, bottom text” meme period.
Date: April 11, 2021
Price: 18.6942 ETH ($42,971)
Leave Britney Alone was among the first viral videos to attract public attention and news coverage. Some even claim that it was the first viral video on YouTube. Chris Crocker initially posted it on MySpace in September 2007. Britney Spears looked to be experiencing a mental health crisis at the time, and the video showed Crocker appealing to tabloids and mainstream media to leave Spears alone.
Since then, the movie was rapidly posted to several YouTube channels by other individuals. The tearful monologue attracted more than two million views in less than twenty-four hours, an astounding number at the time. Crocker mentioned in interviews that they were harassed in public and got multiple death threats in response to their film. Crocker announced at the time of the sale that they finally got compensation for the footage due to the NFT sale.
Date: April 17, 2021
Price: 180 ETH ($417,241)
As appears to be the case with many memes, “Disaster Girl” was the result of being in the right location at the right (or wrong?) moment. In January 2005, the meme featured 4-year-old Zoe Roth seeing a house burning in her neighborhood. This shot was taken by Roth’s father, who was with her throughout the fire. The image would not go viral until 2008, several years later.
Date: May 23, 2021
Price: ~389 ETH ($760,999)
“Charlie Bit My Finger” will be remembered as one of the purest videos of all time. It was released to YouTube in 2007 and featured Harry Davies-Carr (aged three) and Charlie Davies-Carr (aged one). The video was captured by the boys’ father, Howard Davies-Carr, who stated he shared it so the boys’ grandfather could view it. In the end, approximately 900 million people saw it.
The video took on a new existence on the blockchain in 2017. According to reports, the sale money financed the two brothers’ college tuition. Given that the NFT sale generated approximately $800,000, the brothers are more than capable of financing their college education. However, the auction itself was bittersweet since the Davies-Carr family pulled the video from YouTube to emphasize the rarity and uniqueness of the 1/1 NFT.
Date: June 3, 2021
Price: 30.3 ETH ($86,537)
Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, resided in the Cincinnati Zoo. On May 28, 2016, zookeepers killed Harambe after a three-year-old kid entered the Gorilla World cage and was pulled by Harambe. As the murder angered many, the event received considerable media coverage. Ultimately, the episode turned Harambe into a meme. Notably, this NFT sale was not of a meme-related image but rather a portrait taken by Harambe’s official photographer, Jeff McCurry.
Date: June 11, 2021
Price: 1,696.9 ETH ($3,990,094)
Doge began with a photograph of a Shiba Inu named Kabosu. Her owner, Atsuko Sato, took the shot on February 13, 2010. After being posted to Sato’s blog with other now-famous photographs, this image of Kabosu became viral and is now the face of Elon Musk’s Dogecoin.
“I took the photographs to update my blog,” Sato stated in a subsequent statement. “I shoot several photographs every day, so that day was nothing out of the norm. Kabosu enjoys having her picture taken, so she was thrilled when the camera was pointed in her direction. It was the most expensive meme NFT had sold, fetching approximately $4 million when it was sold in 2021.
Date: August 1, 2021
Price: 20 ETH ($51,128)
On September 13, 2015, Muhammad Asif Raza became the king of pettiness after publishing a photoshopped photograph of himself condemning his old closest buddy and concurrently presenting his new one. Raza initially uploaded the photograph on Facebook before it spread to practically every other social media network, sparking a chain reaction of “friendship terminated” remarks. The original Facebook post had over 47,000 responses, 56,000 shares, and 27,000 comments.
Date: September 24, 2021
Price: 25 ETH ($73,271)
Katie Clem released a video of her children’s reactions during a surprise trip to Disneyland on September 12, 2013. Lily Clem, the oldest sister, sheds tears of delight in the video. Chloe Clem, her younger sister, reacts rather differently. Chloe gives her mother an uninterested glance. This side-eye expression immediately gained traction on social media and is currently considered one of the most prominent memes of the 2010s.
Date: October 17, 2021
Price: 25 ETH ($93,653)
In August of 2015, content producer Nicholas Fraser shot a little music video to the tune of Next’s 1997 hit “Too Close.” The video rapidly went viral after being posted to Vine, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. A picture from the video showing Fraser grinning took on a life of its own as a meme.
Do you know about the best NFT market? If you don’t, click here. We have a pretty good piece for you.