Home / Markets / Cryptocurrency /  'Merry Christmas': World's first-ever text message sells for $121,000 in auction

World's first-ever text message of SMS was 'Merry Christmas', sent on Vodafone network and received by Vodafone employee Richard Jarvis on 3 December 1992.

Today, Vodafone has auctioned the text message as NFT and proceeds from the auction will be go to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support forcibly displaced people.

It was sold on Tuesday for 107,000 euros ($121,000) as a 'Non-Fungible Token' at a Paris auction house.

The successful bidder will claim exclusive ownership of a detailed and unique replica of the original communication protocol that transmitted the world’s first SMS.

The auction will be conducted in Paris on 21 December 2021 by Aguttes, the first independent auction house in France. The buyer will pay with Ether cryptocurrency. Vodafone is combining a world-first innovation from nearly 30 years ago, with today’s state-of-the-art technology, the company said in a statement.

The exclusive NFT guarantees ownership of a unique, detailed replica of the original communication protocol of the first text message ever transmitted.

Largely active in the international art and luxury market, Vodafone said it expects to gather bidders from all around the world for this sale.

Auction house founder Maximilian Aguttes said: “The first printed book, the first phone call, the first email – all these inventions have changed our lives and communication in the world. This first text message received in 1992 is a historic testament to human and technological progress – we are delighted to be able to support the sale of this landmark piece of history for this cause."

Vodafone will donate all proceeds from the auction to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support the 82.4 million people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution.

Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are a type of digital asset that has surged in popularity this year, with NFT artworks selling for millions of dollars.

Traded since around 2017, these digital objects, which encompass images, video, music and text, exist on blockchain, a record of transactions kept on networked computers. Each NFT has a unique digital signature.

The selling of intangible goods is not legal in France and so the auction house has packaged the text message in a digital frame, displaying the code and communication protocol, said Maximilien Aguttes, head of development for the Aguttes Auction House.

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