Christopher 'Moot' Poole, founder and former owner of 4chan speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York in 2011 / Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for AOL

The price Nishimura paid for the site has not been disclosed

4chan, the dark, anarchic imageboard credited with giving birth to countless internet memes, has been sold to Japanese businessman Hiroyuki Nishimura, the owner of 2channel.

In a post on 4chan, the site's founder, Christopher 'Moot' Poole, announced that Nishimura had taken his place, following his January announcement that he would be stepping down as the site's sole administrator.

In his post, Moot described Nishimura as "the great-grandfather of 4chan", saying it was his creation of 2channel in 1999 that sparked a wave of similar anonymous online forums in Japan, which eventually ended up inspiring the creation of 4chan in 2003.

Moot started 4chan when he was 15 years old, and has been taking an active role in the community ever since, seeing it amass over one billion users in its lifetime.


Ending his notice of resignation, Moot wrote: "It has been a great privilege to serve as 4chan's founder and steward for almost twelve years, and I can't wait to see what lays in store under Hiroyuki's experienced leadership."

You would be forgiven for thinking that the sale of 4chan would be taken as a huge insult by the site's fiercely loyal users. The discussions and activity that take place on 4chan are almost entirely free of any moderation, and the sale of the site, along with the business considerations that accompany such a deal, could threaten the site's lawless reputation.

However, the users seemed confident that they were in safe hands. Nishimura, in his ownership of 2channel, seems just as committed to allowing the site's users to do whatever they feel like, regardless of how illegal it is.

A 2008 profile of him in Wired magazine revealed that he had lost "about 50 lawsuits" and owed "millions of dollar in penalties, which he has no intention of paying."

The price that Nishimura paid for 4chan has not been disclosed, although given that 4chan is the 739th most popular site on the internet, it was probably fairly large.

Time will tell what impact this has on 4chan and its users, but it seems likely that the armpit of the internet isn't going to get cleaned up any time soon.