Another internet meme has sold for big bucks online: Zoë Roth, best known as “Disaster Girl” for the popular image macro taken by her father in 2005 of her smirking at the camera while a house burns down in the background, has sold the original copy of the meme as an NFT for 180 Ether, worth almost $500,000.
Roth tells The New York Times that she’ll use the money to pay off her student loans and to donate to charity. And as is the case with many NFT sales, the Roths also retain the copyright to the image and will make 10 percent off any future sales of the NFT.
What’s an NFT?
NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one of a kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.
NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs. If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.
She’s by no means the first meme star to leverage the boom in crytocurrency-based artwork into a small fortune. Chris Torres — the creator of Nyan Cat — sold an NFT of the rainbow, Pop-Tart-bodied cat for close to $600,000 and has since worked with other internet meme owners, like Kyle Craven (aka the guy in the “Bad Luck Brian” meme) to help them profit off their previous internet fame (or infamy). Craven’s original meme image sold for $36,000, while Laina Morris (“Overly Attached Girlfriend”) sold her meme for $411,000 earlier in April.
Interestingly, Roth’s NFT was purchased by 3F Music, a Dubai-based music studio with surprisingly deep pockets that also bought several other big-ticket NFTs, including Overly Attached Girlfriend ($411,000) and The New York Times’ meta NFT-column ($560,000).
In a statement provided to the NYT in March, 3F Music explained its purchase by commenting that “Our management team is always in cooperation with some highly knowledgeable and experienced art advisers who believe that we must grow with technological movements that help us to not only promote our business but also to support artists and the art market.”