The first text message, entitled “Merry Christmas”, was sold for 107,000 euros as NFT (irreplaceable token) at an auction house in Paris. The message, sent on December 3, 1992, was put up for auction by the British telecommunications company Vodafone.
Vodafone engineer Neil Papworth sent a text message from his computer to a manager in the UK, who received a 2kg orbiter on his phone.
They were in the middle of an event at the end of the year, so he sent him a “Merry Christmas” message, said Maximilian Agutes, head of development at auction house Agutes.
Irreplaceable tokens, or NFTs, are the kind of digital medium that has become popular this year, and NFT artwork sells for millions of dollars. These digital objects, which have been traded since about 2017 and which include images, videos, music and text, exist on the blockchain, a record of transactions stored on network computers. Each NFT has a unique digital signature.
The sale of intangible goods is not legal in France, so the auction house packed the SMS in a digital frame, which shows the code and the communication protocol – explained by “Agutes”.
The buyer will receive a copy of the original communication protocol with which the SMS was sent, and the proceeds will go to the UNHCR.