Ever imagined a single tweet of yours (one especially with what seemed like a typo) would ever fetch you millions of dollars? Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey probably didn’t - but that’s what happened. Fifteen years ago Jack Dorsey typed out a banal message — “just setting up my twttr" — which became the first-ever tweet, launching a global platform that has become a controversial and dominant force in civil society. The short tweet on March 21, 2006 by the Twitter CEO is now being sold at auction, with bidding reaching $2.5 million. It has been a long, strange journey for the social network, which in January deleted former president Donald Trump’s account after he was blamed for inciting the violent insurrection on the US Capitol in January by extremist supporters seeking to overturn his election loss.
The banning of a head of state from the platform was both welcomed and denounced in a sign of the thin line Twitter and other social media networks often try to walk between neutrality, freedom of expression, and moderation and prevention of abuse. Bidding on Dorsey’s tweet ended on Sunday. He has said he will donate the funds to charity. Dorsey’s tweet sold as an NFT, or a non-fungible token.
NFTs use the same blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies to turn anything from art to sports trading cards into virtual collector’s items that cannot be duplicated.
The bid for 15-year-old tweet on March 6, 2006 put up for auction as an NFT on a platform called Valuables has reportedly been won by Sina Estavi, CEO of tech company Bridge Oracle. The post received offers that went as high as $88,888.88 within minutes of the Twitter co-founder tweeting a link to the listing on ‘Valuables by Cent’ – a tweets marketplace. Old offers for the tweet suggest that it was put for sale in December, but the listing gained more attention after Dorsey’s tweet earlier this month.
A tweet’s buyer will get an autographed digital certificate, signed using cryptography, that will include metadata of the original tweet, according to the Valuables website. The tweet will continue to be available on the Twitter website.
Last month, Dorsey said that the company is exploring allowing its users to receive tips, or digital payments, from their followers. Dorsey said the feature would help the social media platform earn more money and engagement from its base of 192 million daily users.
NFTs allow people to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain
(With inputs from AFP)