The world’s first text message from three decades ago has been sold as a “non-fungible token” (NFT) for over €130,000 ($146,852) at an auction in Paris, with the proceeds benefiting the United Nations Refugee Agency.
The “Merry Christmas” SMS was sent on December 3, 1992 by Vodafone engineer Neil Papworth to company director Richard Jarvis. Jarvis received the text on his Orbitel 901 mobile phone.
“After countless attempts and iterations of the code, the sending and receiving of text via Vodafone’s mobile network finally worked,” marking “a pivotal moment in the history of mobile communication technology,” Aguttes auction house explained.
we just minted the #NFT that represents the 1st #SMS ever sent. Thanks @VodafoneGroup@361drx@Aguttes_ for trusting us. Let’s hope it generates a good price that will be donated to @Refugeeshttps://t.co/1E1t2Smdw7pic.twitter.com/MiOJSfQeHm
The SMS, which was provided by Vodafone for sale in the form of an NFT, fetched an impressive €132,680 ($150,000). The sum was offered by an unnamed buyer, reportedly a Canadian working in the tech sector.
The lot included “a detailed replica of the original communication protocol” proving the sending and receiving of the message, and its animated version – a digital frame with a 3D animation showing the moment the cellphone received the SMS – plus a certificate signed by Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read guaranteeing its authenticity and uniqueness.
NFTs have recently become a popular way of trading artwork and non-tangible items, with encrypted codes verifying the ownership and integrity of the items.