Wikipedia is auctioning off part of its history



An iMac Strawberry, APPLE COMPUTER INC., 2000. Jimmy Wales’ personal iMac used in the creation of Wikipedia.

In 2000, entrepreneur and bond trader Jimmy Wales founded Nupedia, an online encyclopedia of peer-reviewed articles written by experts. A year later, in the midst of a slow trickle of sanctioned articles, he launched an additional open-source Internet encyclopedia that used collaborative wiki software, and Wikipedia was born. In its two decades of existence, Wikipedia has grown to an astonishing depth and breadth: English Wikipedia alone – one of Wikipedia’s more than 300 language editions – has over 6.4 million articles. with over 250 million page views per day.

This month the genesis of our collective online memory was commemorated with a sale at Christie’s, in collaboration with Wales. Hosted – where else? -in line, The birth of Wikipedia the sale ran from December 3 to 15 and offered two lots: a 2000 strawberry iMac that Wales used to develop Wikipedia, and an NFT of the first edition of Wikipedia, produced by Wales on January 15, 2001, the day the platform launched. Auctions on both items have been opened at $ 100. Wale’s iMac ultimately made $ 187,500, while the NFT skyrocketed to $ 750,000.

Wales used the pink personal computer for research and development in the early days of Wikipedia. As the Rubenesque office neared obsolescence, the device “was relegated to the bedroom of her young daughter, who was using it to play video games,” a statement from Christie’s said. A representative for the auction house told Hyperallergic that the computer was still functional, but “it’s a pretty old computer and you can expect it to behave that way.” It comes with the original box.

Jimmy Wales, “Hi world!” The first modification of the Wikipedia homepage, January 15, 2001.

In the proposed NFT, the first Wikipedia edit – in which Wales typed “Hello, World!” », A classic programming reference – is integrated in a recreation of the original home page of the site from 2001. The function allows the buyer to grant anyone access to the NFT. A timer function resets the page to its original shape after set intervals.

“It has been over twenty years since I first typed the words’ Hello, World! “To start Wikipedia – and even today I’m still amazed at the size and scope of what it has become,” Wales said in a statement.

Wales, disappointed with Facebook and Twitter, launched the ‘non-toxic’ alternative social network WT.Social in October 2019; a portion of the auction proceeds will go to the ad-free platform, which operates through donations. Part of the funds will also be directed to “charities working in the world of free culture,” said a statement from Christie’s.

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