The sale also catapulted Beeple, named Mike Winkelmann, to become one of the top three most valuable living artists.
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has sold his first tweet from over a decade ago in the form of a unique digital asset for slightly more than $2.9m.
The tweet was sold on Monday as a non-fungible token (NFT) – a kind of digital certificate that has exploded in popularity so far in 2021. The token is a digital seal of authenticity that confirms an item is one of a kind and real.
Each NFT has its own blockchain-based digital signature, which serves as a public ledger, allowing anyone to verify the asset’s authenticity and ownership. They can be attached to digital art or pretty much anything else that comes in digital form – audio files, video clips or animated stickers.
NFTs have recently swept the online collecting world where they are being used to solve a problem central to digital collectables: how to claim ownership of something that can be easily and endlessly duplicated. A digital artwork by the artist Beeple sold for more than $69.3m in an online auction by a British auction house earlier this month, with an NFT as a guarantee of its authenticity.
Dorsey’s tweet – “just setting up my twttr” – made on March 21, 2006, was his first.
The NFT was sold via auction on a platform called Valuables, which is owned by US-based company Cent. It was bought using the cryptocurrency Ether (ETH), for 1630.5825601 ETH, which was worth $2,915,835.47 at the time of sale, Cameron Hejazi, the CEO and co-founder of Cent confirmed.
Cent confirmed the buyer is Sina Estavi. Estavi’s Twitter profile, @sinaEstavi, says he is based in Malaysia and is CEO of blockchain company Bridge Oracle. When asked for comment about the purchase, Estavi told the Reuters news agency he was “thankful”.
On March 6, Dorsey, who is a Bitcoin enthusiast, tweeted a link to the website where the NFT was listed for sale. He then said in another tweet on March 9 that he would convert the proceeds from the auction into Bitcoin and donate them to people affected by COVID-19 in Africa.
Dorsey receives 95 percent of the proceeds of the primary sale, while Cent receives 5 percent.
Dorsey tweeted the Bitcoin receipt Monday afternoon and said the funds were sent to the charity, GiveDirectly’s Africa Response.
“Incredible – huge thanks @jack and @sinaEstavi – looking forward to getting this $ into recipients’ hands soon,” GiveDirectly tweeted following Dorsey’s announcement.
Cent’s Hejazi said his platform allows people to show support for a tweet that goes beyond the current options to like, comment and retweet.
“These assets might go up in value, they might go down in value, but what will stay is the ledger and the history of ‘I purchased this from you at this moment in time,’ and that’s going to be in both the buyer, the seller and the public spectators’ memory,” Hejazi said, adding that assets such as these are “inherently valuable.”