NFT is the acronym of the year, having garnered attention from crypto enthusiasts, artists, designers and, erm, Maroon 5, just to name a few.
Known as ‘non-fungible tokens’ in full, NFTs are a form of digital property – essentially a unit of data stored on a blockchain – that guarantees the uniqueness of a digital asset. Traders bid for the ownership of these items, which can be anything, from a song, to a piece of art, or even everyone’s favourite subset of the internet: memes.
Meme NFTs have really taken off in 2021. As wealthy collectors seek to get their hands on a piece of internet history, the creators of iconic viral content are looking to cash in by flogging their original creations.
Several popular memes have sold in the last few months, while others are set for auction. Let’s explore meme NFT sales so far, before we introduce you to our meme NFT calculator where you can work out how much your favourite memes are worth!
How do we price NFTs?
The hype around NFT sales and their wild prices got us thinking: how exactly do we price them?
We explored some of the memes sold so far to determine the potential value of other content out there on the web. To get a better understanding, we explored a range of factors from views and age to origin and reuse.
From the list of memes that have sold, there wasn’t much of a clear pattern. As with many collectibles, age usually adds value (like with antiques), but given that memes are fairly new, age probably won’t influence price too much just yet.
One thing that does seem to add value is media attention and general hype. ‘Doge’, the inspiration for the joke-turned-legit crypto ‘Dogecoin’, has recently sold as an NFT for a whopping $4 million. While this is a popular meme, the recent hysteria around Dogecoin seems to have played a part in skyrocketing its value.
Following this, we decided to calculate the ‘estimated value’ of memes using the number of views they had compared to their NFT sale price. We used meme haven knowyourmeme.com to gather the info we needed (namely the number of views) to work out a value per view for each meme. We divided the totals to find the average value per view of all the memes that sold. (Still with us?) This would then serve as our calculation for estimating the potential value of unsold memes.
How much are your favourite memes potentially worth?
Out of the most popular unsold memes, Something Awful’s ‘Slender Man’ is estimated to be worth the most if sold in auction. Since its creation in 2009, the ‘Slender Man’ meme has been instilling fear in children around the world, even getting its own game and film, so it’s unsurprising this previous media frenzy is now dominating memes too.
Closely following in second place is ‘Navy Seal Copypasta’, the original forum comment created to poke fun at the ‘internet tough guys’ and ‘keyboard warriors.’
Completing the top 3 is ‘Lenny Face’, the perfect reaction to almost any message. Its earliest recorded sighting was on a Finnish image board, Ylilauta in November 2012. With over 13 million views, this meme could fetch as much as $1,000,000 if it goes up for auction.
A worthy investment, or a wealthy collector’s plaything?
Looking at the NFTs that have already sold, there isn’t a clear indicator that will tell us how much a meme will be worth. The sale prices have varied massively, and it seems to depend on the amount of media attention in the build-up to auction.
Just take Doge for instance, the most valuable meme to date. All the hype around Dogecoin increased the original meme’s popularity ahead of its auction, where it sold for $4 million (far more than its expected value of $1,081,000).
Second on the list is Disaster Girl, which sold for $473,000 in April. The photograph, taken by Dave Roth of his daughter, Zoe, went viral in 2008 and the family decided to cash in this year.
The third is Overly Attached Girlfriend, which recently sold for a cool $411,000. YouTuber Laina Morris sold the original version of the meme, which features a snapshot from a video she uploaded to her channel in 2012.
So as an investment, meme NFTs aren’t the safest bet, just because their value is hard to predict and added antique value is hard to judge too.
Even some of the cornerstones of meme culture, like Bad Luck Brian and Scumbag Steve, sold for far less than their popularity would suggest they are worth. The former sold for $47,000, while the latter sold for $70,810, which was $213k and $302k less than their expected values, respectively. On the other hand, Disaster Girl sold in April for $473,000, which was a huge $338,000 more than its expected value based on popularity.
Actually, it’s difficult to value any digital art – a fact acknowledged by TechBullion, who said that this makes NFTs “an especially dangerous venture.”
Unlike artwork, where age has a bearing on value, it’s not clear how the ‘originality’ of a meme will affect the price.
Ultimately, it is a classic example of the value being set by the buyer. Any given meme is worth whatever the purchaser is willing to pay for it.
Be cautious when looking at meme NFTs as an investment as they are probably safer viewed as collectables rather than a potential money maker – unless, of course, you’re the original seller.
Now it’s your turn!
Discover how much your favourite memes are potentially worth using our meme NFT price calculator. Or, if you have some content of your own, use the calculator to see how many views you might need to reach your desired profit.
How we did it:
We began by finding the memes with the most views on ‘KnowYourMeme’. It studied the memes that had already sold as NFTs and compared the prices each had sold for.
Using previous meme NFT sales, we calculated their cost per view to find an average cost per view across all the memes sold. This figure was used to calculate the estimated values of all the other most viewed memes on the web.
The calculator tool uses this same formula to show the number of views needed for a meme to reach a certain value.
Estimated worth according to Eurotrader’s NFT calculator.
Currency exchange rates correct as of 01/09/2021.
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