Who’s doesn’t remember the “Charlie bit my finger” video? This classic viral hit from the early 2000s — which you can still very much watch on YouTube — has been viewed hundreds of millions of times. Now it’s being sold — sort of. The NFT is going up for auction in less than a week. That’s when we’ll see what these digital collectibles are really all about.
As The Verge reports, the auction for “Charlie bit my finger” will kick off on May 22. Once that auction has a winner, however, that previously linked YouTube video will be deleted from the internet. At least, that’s the idea.
That specific YouTube copy will be taken down, and the owner of the NFT will then have the rights to the original clip. While that is a bit more ownership than, say, owning Jack Dorsey’s first tweet (which sits on his personal Twitter account), it is hard to imagine that one YouTube upload being the sole copy in existence.
Especially now that people know the video is being deleted. What’s stopping a bunch of people (including you, right now) from using some sort of YouTube download tool to just grab the video? Just to have an archival copy in case the new owner decides it’ll never be reuploaded? Nothing really.
And that’s sort of the issue with making collectibles out of digital things. They aren’t quite as “braggable” as, say, a Babe Ruth homerun ball or a vinyl signed by David Bowie. You can’t put them on a shelf for others to gawk at. All you have is your digital ownership and the knowledge that dead-on copies of that same thing you paid lots of money for are floating around.
Anyway, we’ll keep an eye on this auction and see what happens.