World’s First Text Message Sells For $150K As An NFT
By Mikelle Leow, 25 Dec 2021
Just 15 characters and they changed the world.
UK telecommunications giant Vodafone has sold the first-ever text message, delivered 29 years ago. The relic in digital history was incorporated into a non-fungible token—a suitably groundbreaking technology of today—and went under the hammer at Parisian auction house Aguttes for €132,680 (about US$150,000).
“Merry Christmas,” the SMS (short for Short Message Service) simply read. It was sent by English programmer Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis, then Vodafone director, at the company’s Christmas function on December 3, 1992. The message was delivered to Jarvis’ Orbitel 901 cellphone.
Papworth and his coworkers were looking to develop a communications technology for their client, Vodafone, who wanted to let users send messages to one another via their cellphones, according to CNN.
The NFT replicates the original communication protocol of the world’s first text message, and arrives with a digital frame showing a 3D animation of the text being received, along with a certificate of authenticity.
The buyer, who paid in the Ether cryptocurrency, wishes to remain anonymous.
In the spirit of giving, Vodafone dedicated all proceeds to the United Nations Refugee Agency to help those who have been forced out of their homes.
Papworth expressed in a statement: “In 1992, I had no idea just how popular texting would become, and that this would give rise to emojis and messaging apps used by millions. I only recently told my children that I sent that first text.”
Maximilien Aguttes, development manager of the independent auction house that sold the NFT, said the first SMS joins the ranks of inventions—including the first printed book, first phones call, and first email—that “have changed our lives and communication in the world.”
“This first text message received in 1992 is a historic testament to human and technological progress,” said Aguttes.
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