Disaster girl, current UNC senior, sells NFT of viral photo for nearly $500,000

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A UNC student is half a million dollars richer after selling a photo of her 4-year-old self in an online auction.

Zoe Roth is a 21-year-old senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer. But she's also the face behind one of the internet's most enduring memes: disaster girl.

At the age of 4, her father took a now famous picture of her grinning at the camera with a house burning in the background.

That house was set ablaze as part of a training exercise for the local fire department, but the picture without context spawned countless dark captions and birthed the title disaster girl.

But until now, internet-famous people didn't really have a way to cash in on their notoriety.

Enter NFTs.

An NFT, or non-fungible token, is--well very few people actually know what they are exactly. But they're created via blockchain, like cryptocurrency, and they've become popular ways to sell ownership of digital assets. Try here for a more thorough explanation of NFTs.

Anyway, Roth and her dad went through the process of getting the picture ready to be auctioned as an NFT.

When the auction finished, the picture from 2005 sold for the equivalent of nearly $500,000 US dollars.

Roth said she plans to use the money to pay off her college loans and donate to some charities.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.