The personal computer that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales used when programming the online reference resource 20 years ago is going under the hammer, along with an NFT memorializing his first edit on the platform, auctioneers said Friday.
The Strawberry iMac was the machine Wales "used for development and research at the time of the website's launch on January 15, 2001," said auction house Christie's, which is overseeing the sale that began Friday in New York.
The second lot is for an NFT -- Non-Fungible Tokens are unique digital objects that confer ownership through blockchain technology -- created by Wales of Wikipedia's debut onscreen image when he posted the first words, "Hello world," Christie's specialist Peter Klarnet told AFP.
The NFT, presented in JPEG format, will be interactive, with the buyer able to edit the page, "which can be reset with a timer to revert to its original state," according to Christie's.
Proceeds from the sale of the NFT will help support Wales’s alternative social media network pilot project WT.Social, an attempt to find a healthier and nontoxic alternative with existing social media platforms with a donation-only advertising-free model, as well as to help support a variety of charities working in the free culture world, the Christie's website explains.
The two lots are for sale online through December 15, with Christie's hoping they will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, Klarnet said.
The new darling art form for some collectors and investors, NFTs have become staples of auction houses and the art market.
An NFT of the World Wide Web's source code sold in July for $5.4 million at Sotheby's, while the all-digital work of American artist Beeple drew $69.3 million in March at Christie's, an NFT record.
According to the Christie's website, users on the internet trying to learn about any given topic will likely be directed to one of the 6,408,480 Wikipedia articles currently online. Wikipedia recorded an average of 228 million daily visitors last month, the website adds.
Also read: Is NFT the disruptor that digital art needs?
(With inputs from AFP)