Harambe has become the latest frontier in the NFT world's obsession with immortalizing memes.
A photo of Harambe – the gorilla who captivated the internet as a viral meme in 2016 – will be auctioned off as an NFT to mark five years since he was killed.
The western lowland gorilla was shot dead in May 2016 at Cincinnati Zoo after a three-year-old boy fell into his enclosure. After Harambe's death, the hashtags #RIPHarambe and #JusticeForHarambe began trending and protests and vigils were held around the world. The extreme outrage over Harambe's death mixed with memes satirizing the online mourning meant images of the gorilla and pop culture references to him became sensationalized into viral internet fodder.
Now, the Harambe phenomenon has entered its next stage joining the NFT-craze. Harambe’s official photographer, Jeff McCurry, snapped the up-for-auction image of the silverback’s first day at the Cincinnati Zoo, according to BBC. Following his death, said image was shared online more than five billion times.
"I considered Harambe a true friend," McCurry told the publication. "My many hours spent with him were always special and intimate. While I will never stop taking photos as long as I live, I know I'll never find a better subject that means as much to me as Harambe."
This isn't the first time a meme has seized the NFT wave. Just last month, an NFT of the "Disaster Girl" meme sold for a whopping $500,000. And before that, Nyan Cat, Grumpy Cat, Bad Luck Brian, and Overly Attached Girlfriend all sold for multiple thousands. We'll just have to wait and see whether Harambe can fetch a similarly stunning price tag when he makes his NFT debut.