An NFT tied to an image of Doge, the Shiba Inu that found fame as a meme before becoming the face of one of crypto’s most valuable coins, sold on Friday for over $4 million.
The buyer was PleasrDAO, a group of investors whose collection includes NFTs from Edward Snowden and the Tor Project, and the marketplace was Zora, an online auction house that’s partially funded by Coinbase’s venture arm.
More specifically, PleasrDAO is a DAO, or “decentralized autonomous organization”—a kind of blockchain-based corporate governance structure. Each member of the DAO holds a token that represents a fraction of the group’s treasury and an equal say in group decision-making (a little like voting shares in a traditional company).
“We purchase and collect pieces which we believe are timeless and priceless mementos of digital and crypto culture,” said Santiago Santos, a PleasrDAO member and a partner at the crypto investment firm ParaFi Capital. “Doge is perhaps one of the most important memes of internet culture.”
NFTs are non-fungible tokens: coins that can be auctioned as proof of ownership for digital goods (usually files like JPEGs and GIFs). Even as the market for crypto collectibles has died down over the past few months, high rollers have continued to invest: Sotheby’s sold an NFT yesterday for over $17 million.
Early 2010s image macros like Doge have proved a popular (and lucrative) use case for NFTs. Tokens attached to “Nyan Cat,” “Overly Attached Girlfriend,” and “Disaster Girl” have all sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The irony of spending $4 million on a meme isn’t lost on PleasrDAO, and their winning bid suggests they aren’t taking themselves too seriously. The final figure, 1,696.9 ETH, is an unsubtle sex joke; earlier bids also factored in “420” (the weed number!) and “1337” (gamer slang for “elite”).
“The 69s, 420s, and 1337s are all memes in their own right,” Santos said.