The viral YouTube video Charlie Bit Me which sold for £536,000 as a non-fungible token (NFT) will not be removed from the streaming service, according to the father of the now-famous children in the clip.
Howard Davies-Carr uploaded a heartwarming 55-second video to YouTube back in May 2007 of his two sons, three-year-old Harry and one-year-old Charlie which showed the baby biting the finger of his brother.
The clip helped to launch the concept of the viral video and is one of the most viewed films of all time, seen by 884 million people and counting.
On Saturday the video was auctioned as an NFT and sold for about £536,000 ($761,000), propelling fears that it would then be deleted from the Internet forever.
But Howard has now confirmed that the adored clip, which celebrated its 14th anniversary earlier this month, will remain on YouTube.
‘After the auction we connected with the buyer, who ended up deciding to keep the video on YouTube,’ the father of the two sons in the clip told Quartz.
Harry and baby Charlie in the famous video. When Howard Davies-Carr uploaded a 55-second video to YouTube back in May 2007, he believed it to be little more than ‘mildly funny’
Harry, centre left, and Charlie, centre right, pictured with their parents Howard and Shelley
What is a non-fungible token (NFT)?
What is a NFT?
A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and which verifies its ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.
What do they look like?
Most NFTs include some kind digital artwork, such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into a NFT.
Where do you buy them?
At the moment, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called ‘drops’, timed online sales by blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea and Rarible.
Why would I want to own one?
There’s an array of reasons why someone may want to buy a NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, because NFTs are seen as collectors items. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, because the value could increase.
When were NFTs created?
Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. But NFTs didn’t move into the mainstream until five years later, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017.
‘The buyer felt that the video is an important part of popular culture and shouldn’t be taken down. It will now live on YouTube for the masses to continue enjoying as well as memorialized as an NFT on the blockchain.’
An NFT acts as a certificate of authenticity for digital assets like art and sports memorabilia – a unit of digital data that is a unique fingerprint of the video.
They are currently all the rage in the art world, with one bidder paying £50million for digital pictures by an artist called Beeple earlier this year.
Howard said it is heartening to see the buyer – who goes by the name 3fmusic and appears to be a music studio in Dubai – and the broader public understand the value of the video and confirmed that it will remain on YouTube for all to enjoy.
‘After 14 years on YouTube through its many iterations, we did feel that NFTs would breathe new life into this piece of internet history,’ he said.
‘I’ve always told my boys that beyond this fame, they are more than just the video.’
The funds raised from the sale will mostly go toward the boys’ university fund, their father said, but part will be donated to carbon offset charities.
In the clip, Harry is seen happily sitting with his baby brother Charlie on his lap – until the younger of the two makes a playful nip at one of his older sibling’s digits.
Harry sees the funny side, and gently scolds his sibling, before giving him the opportunity to try it again by placing his finger in his mouth.
This time, Charlie clamps down prompting a howl of protest from Harry who says ‘Ouch Charlie, that really hurt’, while his younger brother giggles unrepentant.
Speaking about the video on Newsround in 2015, the brother’s said that the video was originally filmed for the family to send to their godfather who lives in America.
Harry told the children’s TV show that he now finds watching the video funny, saying: ‘It makes me laugh.’
Charlie said he didn’t find it embarrassing but said: ‘I think it’s a bit odd that loads of people have watched it.’
Their father only ever uploaded the video, which has had more views than Taylor Swift, One Direction and even Adele, because it was too big to send over email.
But after it was featured on a US TV show it become an internet phenomenon.
As of 2012, the family had made £100,000 from the clip, which they used to pay for their children’s education.
Their parents have since made thousands of pounds more from advertising and sponsorship deals off the back of the clip.
Howard said at the time: ‘The clip only went up as I wanted to share it with the boys’ godfather. I was naive about the whole YouTube thing.
‘It became viral and once that happened there was nothing I could do. People have sent lovely comments and messages and I now upload a new video of the boys every six weeks.’