How has the global meme culture evolved into NFTs?

Age of internet memes has been as much as the internet itself. The soft, humorous, and lighthearted content on the interest has gained exponential popularity in the days of social media as microblogging has become a household trend.

However, internet jokes existed earlier as well. The term meme was coined back in 1976, when the famous biologist and author Richard Dawkins used the first for the very first time in his book named ‘The Selfish Gene.’

In his book, Dawkins argued that memes are the non genetic ideas and behaviours spread through society from person to person through imitation, or in the case of internet memes, by sharing on social media platforms.

As a normal individual, we think that memes are images, videos, GIF or motion pictures with funny or satirical captions, but they include ideas, behaviours, spoken phrases, or fashion trends in the real world across the globe.

Even names like Karen, Sharon, Becky, Chad and Khaby have become synonymous with undesirable human behavioural traits through internet memes.

What are NFTs?

The cryptocurrencies are luring investors across the globe, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are emerging as a new investment option. They are high on popularity among the millennials on the back of multi-million dollar sales.

Not only new age investors, but many high net-worth individuals (HNIs) and Ultra HNIs are also fancying over the new fag in the digital currency world.

Non fungible tokens (NFTs) are exotic new digital assets, which are considered to be fast movers. After Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, it is considered that NFTs will now get investors rich. That is why they have been making headlines recently in the crypto spectrum.

Why are memes turned into NFTs?

Memes have one thing in common- uniqueness, which distinguishes them from others. Many of the people, without their original identity, have become an internet sensation!

It may sound weird, awkward or bizarre at times, but it is an deniable fact that multiple character have attained the celebrity sensation globally, without even their first name identity being revealed to most of the users across the globe.

Now the question arises that how these people made famous by becoming or creating a viral internet meme face make the most of it?

How can they monetise their image rights after their image has freely circulated the internet as a meme for years or even decades?

While the internet is global, copyright laws are not. They rarely protect creators from copyright infringement on the web.

According to Chris Torres, the creator of the Nyan Cat meme, “When something is on the internet, people assume it is something that can be taken for commercial use, without attribution.”

To counter this complex problem, people who own the rights to recognisable internet memes are minting and selling digital copies of their memes as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The most recognisable and popular memes are already selling for megabucks or turning these e-celebs into millionaires or billionaires, perhaps!

While NFTs do not necessarily grant copyright ownership for the asset to the holder, they give artists or the creator a way to be monetarily compensated for their work or the use of their likeness.

For the people who got accidentally famous after memes featuring them went viral, the cash raised from the sale of their meme NFTs feels long overdue. They are deservant of this.

Only one or two have been able to crack sponsorship deals from their unexpected fame, but most never made a penny. NFTs is giving them the opportune odds to script their own destiny, reaping the most of their digital fandom.

NFTs also provide professional photographers like Jeff McCurry, who took the widely circulated photos of Harambe the gorilla that later became a meme, a way to cash in on their work as well.

However, McCurry is not the exception. There are many on the scanner list of the internet’s most recognisable memes that have recently been minted and sold as NFTs. Let’s have a look at some key examples:

Nyan Cat NFT

A pixelated and animated cat with a Pop-Tart body and multicolor schema in the space-like tune, which was actually created in April 2011 as a youtube video. It was later turned into various GIFs and images.

It was mined as an NFT in February 2021 and was sold on a foundation platform for about 300 ETH , which was worth $590,000 or 4.5 crore INR at that time.

Success Kid NFT

Remember meme’s of a plump kid cheering with his fist? It was a sheer feel good exemplary meme. Interestingly the baby was merely 11 months old, named Sam!

The meme was so popular that even Barack Obama used it during his reign in the White house. It was heavily used in the UK to promote HD TV channels. This NFT was sold for 15 ETH, worth $51,841 or 39.12 lakh INR.

Charlie and Harry NFT

Remember two siblings named Harry and Charlie, aged three and one, respectively, became global sensation with a picture post while sitting on an armchair? The hilarious scream from Harry, with his finger in Charlie’s mouth is a no brainer now!

The viral clip fetched just a dollar less than $761,000 or 5.75 crore INR in an e-auction in May 2021. The original video had nearly a billion views prior to its removal from YouTube, making it the most popular viral video of all time.


Disclaimer: Angel One does not endorse investment and trade in cryptocurrencies. This article is only for education and information purpose. Discuss with your investment advisor.