Why Is Charlie Bit My Finger, the Most Viewed Viral Video of All Time, Being Deleted on May 23?

Charlie Bit My Finger, the most-viewed viral video of all time with more than 880 million views, will celebrate its 14th anniversary tomorrow on May 22, 2021. And its creators are celebrating by deleting the video from YouTube.

The title of the Charlie Bit My Finger video on YouTube has been updated to say: "On May 23rd this video will be removed from YouTube," with a smiley face. So why are they deleting one of the most popular YouTube videos of all time? To turn it into a non-fungible token (NFT).

The Charlie Bit My Finger creators are turning the video into a 1/1 NFT, "memorializing them in internet history forever," according to a statement, which also says: "The NFT winner will also get the opportunity to create their own parody of the video featuring the original stars, Harry and Charlie."

NFTs are digital collectibles that are stored on a blockchain and act as a permanent record of ownership, and digital evidence that a particular artist created the work. The first YouTube sold as an NFT was the original Annoying Orange video, which was sold in April.

The auction will begin on May 22 at 10 a.m. ET. and hopeful bidders can sign up with their email to be notified when the auction goes live. Bidders will need to use cryptocurrency, and the Origin NFT Launchpad supports all of the top Ethereum-based stablecoins, including the Origin Dollar (OUSD), DAI, USDC, and USDT.

Charlie Bit My Finger was filmed as a "part of catching random moments as the boys were growing up" and was only intended to be seen by family and friends. The 56-second clip sees Harry, aged three, putting his finger in one-year-old Charlie's mouth, before crying out in pain as Charlie simply laughs.

Harry is now 17 and Charlie is 15, and the family says that as they are "soon entering adulthood and embarking on the next chapter of their lives," and this is, "the perfect opportunity to embrace the next iteration of the internet."

The family says in a statement: "Charlie Bit My Finger has been a huge part of the Davies-Carr family's lives for the past 14 years, and they are excited to welcome others to become a part of their story. This is not the end of the beloved video, but rather a new beginning."

The video description on YouTube now says: "I am sorry comments are turned off. YouTube [has] set the video to 'made for kids'. I have appealed over three times and every time I get an anonymous rejection from the community.

"I have tried to get engagement levels back to where they were but no one from YouTube will speak to me. This video was made for my friends and family and engagement has always been with adults. Instead, I have moved to engaging with Fans through NFT.

"We helped YouTube grow and embraced it early. We are now moving onto the next exciting thing."

YouTube logo
The YouTube logo. The iconic viral video "Charlie Bit My Finger" will be removed from YouTube on its 14th anniversary. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty