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 Jarvis’ text via his Orbitel901 mobile phone.
“After countless attempts and iterations of the code, the sending and receiving of text via Vodafone’s mobile network finally worked,” marking “This is a crucial moment in the evolution of mobile communication technology.,” Aguttes auction house explained.
The SMS, which was provided by Vodafone for sale in the form of an NFT, fetched an impressive €132,680 ($150,000). Unnamed buyers offered this sum to a Canadian worker in the technology sector.
The lot included “A detailed copy of the original protocol is available” 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.
Recent NFTs are a very popular method of exchanging artwork or non-tangible objects. Encrypted codes can verify ownership and ensure integrity.