What does fame mean in today’s world? Is it to do something with some sort of talent? Or is it the content you create by optimizing your creative license or is it the reception that your content generates irrespective of its creativity? Can you adhere to a certain timeline for your art and predict when it will become valuable? Can you imagine that a ticket your grandmother bought to Disneyland could become a piece of antique now? Well, answers to these questions are something that can be assumed that easy.
On the one hand, where there are innumerable people putting their heart and soul to breaking a world record in a sport, making a perfect ballet-dancing video, designing an interesting pair of an outfit for a supermodel, there are instances from the pages of history that have come back to generate unprecedented attention.
In 2007, when Howard Davies-Carr shared a video clip of his sons on YouTube, he probably had no intention of creating a sensation with it. “Charlie Bit My Finger” is the video where Charlie, the then younger son of Carr bit his older brother Harry’s finger. It became one of the most viewed videos on the internet with roughly 885 million views. The video was probably cute, spontaneous, adorable, and a testimony to Charlie and Harry’s happy childhood. However, after 14 years it has become a talked-about collectible going by the name Charlie bit my finger NFT, which sold as at a price of £500,000.
What was the Charlie Bit my Finger NFT bid like?
When the auction was live, the two boys (all grown up) were on a Clubhouse call with others who joined in. It was an interesting state of affairs and the bidding was concluded with two anonymous bidders, “3fmusic” and “mememaster”, the former outbidding the latter at $760,999 (£538,000).
How does this impact the definition of fame?
No one could have possibly imagined the kind of wealth the video would generate over the course of 17 years. The extensive number of views surely contributed to making the two boys famous but it nowhere matches the fame that the NFT has brought to the family.
The market for NFTs is growing at an unimaginable pace and it continues to evolve. Much attention is being given to videos and memes that had/ have garnered significant responses from users but weren’t probably monetized. While many of these might have been forgotten, we would not be surprised if more such videos surface in the future.
NFTs are probably redefining fame in the following ways-
- Empowering Creators: NFTs are empowering creators like never before. While many buyers are not fussy about copyrights or trademarks of the collectibles, the exclusivity is around the aspect of the copy being authentic. This is one way how NFTs are empowering the original creators of such content, irrespective of it being reproduced across various media.
- User-driven market: The NFT market is user-driven. Users are no more passive consumers or possessors of content. They add to the relevance of such tokens and they actively participate in deciding the value of NFTs. Anything that is converted into an NFT will be valuable to the extent of user reception. Thus, the archaic defining traits of skills and talent have taken a back seat, and aspects like ownership, accessibility, and exclusivity are driving the market.
- Time is timeless: You actually do not know when a digital artwork, coupon, meme, tweet, or any such article will become worthy. NFTs work precisely on this principle. While many artists have gained immense wealth in just a few minutes or hours of launching the content, some have witnessed such a response from users after years.
- No fixed license to fame: Anybody could rise to fame with an NFT. It is not just about being famous. It is about increasing your worth, multiplying it as much as possible, and having a dominant position in the market. As a creator attains a certain level of fame by selling an NFT at a remarkably high price, in the same way, a user attains fame by being the exclusive owner of the authentic version of that specific collectible.
How does this pave the way to preserving heritage?
The fact that the “Charlie Bit My Finger” video became NFT worthy 17 years later gives us hope that this could be the new way of preserving heritage. The kind of collectibles and related content that have been neglected for years could now be transferred into something valuable by converting these into NFTs. Since NFTs include a diverse range of content, items that have cultural and historical value could now be made worthy, thanks to the prosperity of this market. It could hold high locational and contextual value for many across the globe. The advancement in technology and the continuous evolution of tokenized assets generate immense prospects of valuing heritage in an unprecedented manner.
We cannot ignore the risks and uncertainties involved with buying/ selling NFTs. The larger debates also concern the impact NFTs have on the environment. Although many marketplaces are investing in tech to make the entire NFT ecosystem eco-friendly and advantageous to mankind, the future has many aspects that need our undivided attention. Our desire of celebrating exclusivity, our obsession with profiting from NFTs, our enthusiasm for interacting in the meta-verse should not be at the cost of compromising with ethical codes.
The trends associated with NFTs are rapidly increasing and it is happening probably in a manner that is beyond the comprehension of many of us, which should only motivate us in educating ourselves and others in the matter. The relevance of videos like “Charlie Bit My Finger” has proven that there is no full-proof definition of fame or what is sale-worthy. Anything and everything that has value and reception like this video can be converted into an NFT and such an investment is surely worth your effort!