An NFT (non-fungible token) of “Doge,” the joyous and ubiquitous Shiba Inu image that’s been one of the internet’s most famous memes, made history after it sold for more than $4 million and became the most expensive meme NFT to date.
A bidder named @pleasrdao claimed the NFT with a final bid of 1,696.9 Ethereum, a cryptocurrency worth approximately $4 million, according to the Doge auction site.
For the unfamiliar, an NFT is much like a one-of-a-kind trading card. They’re usually stored on the Ethereum blockchain, which is essentially a digital ledger for cryptocurrency, and are valued based on rarity.
Doge, the meme that this NFT was based on, was born as an amalgam of two things. For starters, the word “doge” is colloquially used online as a reference to any dog. The image of the dog we know as Doge comes from teacher Atsuko Sato, who posted photos of her rescue Shiba Inu dog (whose real name is actually Kabosu) online in 2010.
Those photos made the rounds on the internet, with Reddit declaring this specific Shiba Inu as “Doge.”
Fast forward to 2021 — Doge is now also associated with Dogecoin, a popular cryptocurrency branded after the meme, and Sato took ownership of the meme of her own dog by auctioning it off as an NFT this week. As per NBC News, a “portion of the proceeds from the sale of the NFT will go toward several charities, including the Japanese Red Cross Society and the World Food Programme.”
NFTs of memes have become very popular in recent weeks, with popular ones like “Disaster Girl” and “Overly Attached Girlfriend” selling for 180 Ethereum, (more than $450,000) and 200 Ethereum (more than $410,000) respectively. There are even entire companies cropping up dedicated to minting, marketing and distributing NFTs made from memes. One called Net Gems is currently trying to auction NFTs of “Numa Numa,” “Two Pretty Best Friends,” and “Honey Badger Don’t Care.”