“just setting up my twttr”.
Those were the first words Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted nearly 15 years ago, and also the first tweet ever issued on the platform.
The highest bid has been made by Sina Estavi, the CEO of blockchain platform Bridge Oracle and cryptocurrency trading platform CryptoLand, but bidding is still ongoing.
Confused? Here’s a quick explainer.
How can someone ‘sell’ a tweet?
You might be wondering why someone would want to ‘buy’ a tweet, especially as this particular one has been freely available to view on the website for more than a decade.
But you can’t really understand this without first understanding non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
Think of NFTs as any other cryptocurrency – except instead of buying a number of ‘coins’, you just buy the one token. This is because the item – or token – is one of a kind; the ‘token’ refers to one very unique unit of cryptocurrency on the blockchain.
The reason why NFTs are becoming more popular is because people are using this to collect and trade cool digital assets, like gifs, art, or tweets the way people would trade baseball cards, for example.
While the item itself can be freely viewed online, the blockchain of the NFT – most of which are created and traded on Ethereum – means there’s only one owner of that item.
To come back to Dorsey’s tweet, owning it as an NFT would be like owning an autograph, according to Valuables, the platform that allows tweets to be turned into NTFs.
“Owning any digital content can be a financial investment, hold sentimental value, and create a relationship between collector and creator. Like an autograph on a baseball card, the NFT itself is the creator’s autograph on the content, making it scarce, unique, and valuable,” Valuables .
So you can bid on the tweet, too, if you want to, or even ‘mint’ your own tweet.
What else has been sold as an NFT?
Artist and Elon Musk’s wife Grimes recently sold a series of 10 online art pieces for nearly US$6 million.
And remember Nyan Cat, the meme of a pixellated flying space cat with a Pop Tart for a body and a rainbow shooting out of its behind?
For the meme’s 10th anniversary, artist Chris Torres remastered it and sold it for 300 Ether, or US$590,000.
A video clip of NBA superstar LeBron James dunking also went for US$208,000, bought by 32-year-old entrepreneur Jesse Schwarz.
Kings of Leon has also been the first band in the world to offer its new album as an NFT.