Memes Have a New Top Dog: Dogwifhat Ethereum NFT Sells for $4.3 Million

An Ethereum NFT photo of the original Dogwifhat meme—which inspired one of the hottest Solana meme coins of the moment, WIF—was sold for a whopping $4.3 million worth of ETH early Monday, narrowly surpassing the previous record held for most expensive meme NFT ever sold. 

The on-chain image of a Shiba Inu puppy in a knit beanie sold for 1,210.759 ETH early Monday, a sum worth $4,311,234 at the time of the transaction. The NFT sold to GCR, a prominent pseudonymous crypto trader, via an auction on the digital art platform Foundation. 

Just two hours before the auction concluded this morning, the Dogwifhat NFT had only secured a top bid of 55 ETH, worth about $195,000 at writing. Then, a furious bidding war ensued between GCR and Memeland, an NFT venture collective from the team behind social media platform 9GAG. Memeland bid as high as 1,100.69 ETH before GCR secured the piece with a final offer north of $4.3 million.

That figure officially—if ever so slightly—makes today’s Dogwifhat NFT acquisition the most expensive meme NFT sale of all time. The record was previously held by the original Doge NFT, which sold to the collective PleasrDAO on June 11, 2021, for 1,696.9 ETH—a sum then worth $4.234 million.

“It went for far more than expected,” Path, the pseudonymous facilitator of the Dogwifhat NFT sale, told Decrypt. “I think it’s great for the entire category [of memes] and the concept of provenance. WIF is definitely more crypto-native than Doge.”

The NFT was put on sale by two South Korean pet owners who took the original photograph from the viral Dogwifhat meme back in 2018—one featuring their Shiba Inu, Achi. Achi’s parents will now receive the entirety of the proceeds from today’s sale, Path said, after Foundation takes a 5% platform fee. 

While a $4.1 million payday for a photo taken of a dog in a beanie is certainly nothing to scoff at, the haul pales in comparison to the amount of money that’s been made on Achi’s likeness in the last few months.

WIF, a viral Solana meme coin inspired by the Dogwifhat meme, has skyrocketed since its creation in December. On Friday, the token reached a record $3 billion market capitalization. It then fell off slightly over the weekend, before climbing another 25% in the last 24 hours.

In one sign of the meme coin’s absurd success, several WIF community members raised nearly $700,000 last week to plaster Achi’s face on Sphere, the massive LED screen-covered arena in Las Vegas. 

Yet so far, it appears that none of WIF’s spoils have made their way back to the family of the dog who inspired the meme coin’s meteoric rise.

Monday’s NFT sale has done something to rectify that incongruity. 

“The rightful photographer and owner of the adorable Dogwifhat puppy… has been rewarded directly,” Smoke, who works for the organization that bought the original Doge NFT from its photographer, the Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato, told Decrypt

“In this way [Monday’s sale] is very similar to the original Doge NFT auction,” Smoke continued, “where Atsuko Sato benefited directly, thanks to the power of blockchain technology.”

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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