The SMS that made telecommunications history in 1992 has been sold as an NFT for about $150,000 to an anonymous bidder.
On December 21, Vodafone auctioned off the world’s first SMS as an NFT in collaboration with French auction house Aguttes. The auction took place in Paris, lasting only 38 minutes before closing at $150,000.
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The 15-letter message that changed the world was originally sent by Vodafone programmer Neil Papworth to the then-director Richard Jarvis on December 3, 1992, and read “Merry Christmas.”
“While a lot of technological breakthroughs like the Moon Landing in 1969 or the invention of the light bulb are well documented and known to the wider public, some others are not – even though they just as well changed how we live and interact with each other forever,” Aguttes explains, commenting on the historical importance of the event.
“Technological ‘firsts’ often happen when nobody is watching or expecting them. But when such moments arrive, it is clear that from there on, there will be an era ‘before’ and one ‘after. ‘”
In collaboration with Aguttes, Vodafone sold the historic event packaged as an NFT containing a copy of the text message’s communication protocol, a digital frame showing an animated phone receiving the SMS, and a certificate of authenticity.
“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. Looking back with hindsight, it’s clearer to see that the Christmas message I sent was a pivotal moment in mobile history,” said Neil Papworth.
The telecommunications company declared that it would be donating the proceeds (in true Christmas spirit) to the United Nations Refugee Agency – the organization responsible for helping displaced migrants.