Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sells for $2.9m as an NFT

Fin Strathern reports on blockchain and cryptocurrencies for TechForge Media. You can connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/finstrathern/.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has sold his first ever tweet as a non-fungible token (NFT) after a two week bidding war for $2.9 million (£2.1m).

NFTs are a technology which allow for the creation of digital scarcity through blockchain verification, and they have been exploding in popularity in 2021. Digital artist Beeple recently sold a combined collection of his works through the auction house Christie’s for $69m (£50m).

The tweet, which reads ‘just setting up my twttr’ and dates back to March 2006, was sold through a platform called Valuables, a website for auctioning authenticated tweets created by the startup Cent.

The auction was won by Sina Estavi, CEO of Bridge Oracle, a Malaysian-based blockchain company on the TRON network after a bidding war against TRON’s founder, Justin Sun. As this publication reported earlier this month, Sun also just missed out on the Beeple artwork NFT.

It was bought using the cryptocurrency Ether, for 1630.5825601 ETH, which was worth $2,915,835.47 at the time of the sale. Cent received 5% of the proceeds from the sale, with Dorsey converting the remaining 95% to Bitcoin and sending it all to GiveDirectly, a charity for providing direct funds to people living in poverty.

Estavi tweeted after winning the auction: “This is not just a tweet! I think years later people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting.”

NFTs have been criticised for their electricity usage and environmental impacts, with stronger critics even considering them a digitised scam. Within hours of announcing a new NFT marketplace, the online art-sharing platform ArtStation faced considerable backlash due to environmental concerns and announced the cancellation of its plans for the marketplace.

The opinion is different amongst the crypto community however, where popularity for and sales of NFTs continue to grow. If major blockchain platforms can transition their validation methods from proof of work (PoW) to proof of stake (PoS) models, the problem of NFTs energy consumption would be largely alleviated.

Ethereum’s planned upgrades – referred to as Ethereum 2.0 – include the transition to a PoS model and many blockchain platforms in development are following suite. Alongside substantial improvements for efficiency and scalability, these Ethereum upgrades may help to save NFTs from criticism – at least those related to excessive energy consumption.

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