Zoë Roth — better known on the internet as "Disaster Girl" — has sold the original photo behind the iconic meme as an NFT.
For those of you who need a brief refresher, the photo of the then 4-year-old, smirking in front of a burning house, catapulted her to instant viral fame after winning a magazine contest. Granted, as the now-adult Zoë explained in a 2020 BuzzFeed video, she never really expected her dad's pic to become meme fodder until people started adding in their own captions and Photoshopping her into other — for better or worse.
However, according to the New York Times, the college senior has now auctioned off ownership of her father's original photo for almost $500,000 to pay off her student loans. Not only that, but she's also apparently planning on donating some of the money to a few nonprofits, even though she's still in the process of "researching" organizations.
As for the buyer, the Times went on to report that the meme was purchased by Dubai's 3F Music, a.k.a. the same music production outfit that shelled out $411,000 for the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme earlier this year. And their rationale? Well, according to a statement from the company, it's all because a team of "highly knowledgeable and experienced art advisers" believe that snapping up these memes will allow them to keep "[growing] with technological movements that help us to not only promote our business but also to support artists and the art market."
Even so, it should be noted that 3F only bought a claim to exclusive ownership of the pic, as Zoë and her dad still get to keep the image copyright and will receive 10 percent of any NFT resale profits.
That said, Zoë isn't the first accidental internet icon to hand over their image to the highest cryptocurrency bidder. After all, other online legends like Nathan Apodaca have started selling the exclusive rights to their big viral moments, and if things continue going this way, it sure seems like we'll be seeing many more meme NFTs in near future. Not that that's a bad thing, of course.