Wikipedia co-founder’s computer, NFT of first edit sells for about $1 million

Jimmy Wales’s personal iMac used in the creation of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ personal computer, which he used for development and research at the time of the website’s launch, along with a non-fungible token (NFT) of the platform’s first edit, were auctioned on Christie’s.

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The sale of the two objects pertaining to the history of the online encyclopaedia , titled ‘The Birth of Wikipedia’, closed on December 15 and totalled $937,500 (about ₹7.15 crore). The NFT was sold for $750,000 about (5.72 crore), and Wales’ computer went for $187,500 (about ₹1.43 crore).

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“We think that the result underscores the burgeoning interest in the history of the internet among collectors,” Peter Klarnet, Senior Specialist at Christie’s, said in a statement.

Wales used his personal computer, a Strawberry iMac, during Wikipedia’s launch on January 15, 2001. “This computer was a part of the early days of Wikipedia in many other ways,” Wales remarked. “I remember getting up at night, fearful that someone would come and vandalise the whole site — it was so open, so vulnerable.”

As the computer grew obsolete, it was transferred to the room of his young daughter, who used it to play video games. The iMac was later stored away in its original box, which was included with the sale, according to Christie’s.

The other item on sale, an NFT of the first edit to Wikipedia: “Hello, World!”, made by Wales on the day the website launched, which would be the first in a long line of edits that would produce “the largest and most-read reference work in history.”

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The NFT preserves the layout of the Wikipedia home page in 2001, based on the earliest source code extant. It also has a dynamic feature, enabling the owner to edit the page, which can be reset with a timer to revert to its original state.

A portion of the sale proceeds will help support Wales’s alternative social media network pilot project WT.Social, as well as a variety of charities working in the free culture world, according to the auction house.

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Printable version | May 9, 2022 8:24:06 am |