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Christie's auctioning off NFT of first Wikipedia edit

Proceeds will help fund Jimmy Wales' new social media platform.

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Bree Fowler Senior Writer
Bree Fowler writes about cybersecurity and digital privacy. Before joining CNET she reported for The Associated Press and Consumer Reports. A Michigan native, she's a long-suffering Detroit sports fan, world traveler, wannabe runner and champion baker of over-the-top birthday cakes and all-things sourdough.
Expertise cybersecurity, digital privacy, IoT, consumer tech, smartphones, wearables
Bree Fowler
2 min read
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Here's your chance to own a piece of early internet history in the form of some of the newest tech.

Christie's is auctioning off an NFT of the first Wikipedia edit. The edit, sent more than 20 years ago by Jimmy Wales, founder of the crowdsourced encyclopedia site, includes the text "Hello, World!"

The sale, which runs through Dec. 15, also features the strawberry-colored iMac computer Wales used while working on the site at home.

Proceeds from the sale of the NFT will help fund WT.Social, Wales' attempt to find a healthier and nontoxic alternative to existing social media platforms with a donation-only, advertising-free model, as well as to help support a variety of charities, Christie's said.

Still a relatively new phenomenon, nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are digital, independently valued assets like music, artwork or even tweets that have had their authenticity certified on a blockchain. Throughout 2021, NFTs of all sorts have attracted a rush of interest from prospective buyers and sellers, with some selling for thousands or even millions of dollars. In September, an NFT collection of cartoon apes sold at Sotheby's auction house for $24.4 million.

True to the spirit of Wikipedia, the ultimate buyer of the NFT will be able to edit the work -- and revert it back to its original appearance -- whenever they want, Christie's said.

Wikipedia launched on Jan. 1, 2001, and since then has become one of the internet's largest repositories of information, growing to include more than 6.4 million articles. It's published in more than 300 languages and edited by thousands of volunteers.