Exclusive: Why One Investor Bought an NFT of Wikipedia’s First Edit for $750K

Web3 investor Santiago Santos, who purchased the NFT for PleasrDAO, said he was prepared to spend $2.5 million or more for the blockchain-based digital collectible at auction


Source: Blockworks


key takeaways

  • Santos additionally bought the Strawberry iMAC Wikipedia co-founder used while developing the website
  • PleasrDAO’s NFT collection consists of the popular Doge meme, Edward Snowden court documents and more

An NFT of Jimmy Wales saying “Hello world” on Wikipedia sold for $750,000 at Christie’s auction house on Wednesday. Prominent Web3 investor Santiago Santos purchased the NFT for PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization most commonly known for buying the one-of-kind WuTang album, Blockworks has exclusively learned. 

“I bought it because I think it’s priceless,” Santos said.

The bidder, who was initially anonymous, told Blockworks that he spent almost $1 million on the collectible because it was “emblematic of Web3.”

“Wikipedia also open-sourced knowledge,” Santos said, adding that the website has also gone through similar stages as cryptocurrency. “There’s a lot of parallels. We’ve [also] gone through this phase of [people seeing] crypto as a scam.”

The non-fungible token (NFT), which displays co-founder Wales’ first-ever edit in 2002, was auctioned off alongside the Strawberry iMAC Wales used while developing the website. Santos purchased this at auction as well on Wednesday. 

“What you see displayed is what Wikipedia looked like at the moment that I set up the software,” Wales previously told “The Verge,” adding that proceeds from the auction will go toward charities like WT.Social, a donation-backed social network that he founded three years ago.

The ultimate buyer of the NFT will now be able to edit the post — and change it back to its original appearance — whenever they want, according to a statement from Christie’s. 

Santos said that he was “shocked” at paying just $750,000 for the NFT and “thought it was going to go for way more.” He said that he was prepared to bid a maximum of “$2.5 million or more.”

“I think a lot of times when you’re collecting, you have to ask yourself, ‘Does this endure the test of time?’” Santos said. “There’s already so much emotional and historical attachment attached to Wikipedia.”

The NFT will be placed in PleasrDAO’s collection, which consists of tokenized Edward Snowden court documents, the popular Doge meme and more, according to Santos, who was a founding member of the organization.

This is not the first time a prominent auction house has associated itself with a DAO.

The winning bid for the Wikipedia NFT follows the explosive efforts around ConstitutionDAO, a group of more than 17,000 crypto investors who raised roughly $48.9 million to buy a copy of the US Constitution at Sotheby’s in November. 

“It’s really exciting to see these auction houses get so embedded in NFTs,” Santos said. “It speaks to where the space is going and how mainstream NFTs have become.”

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