Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet has been sold for the equivalent of $2.9m (£2.1m) to a Malaysia-based businessman.
The tweet, which said “just fixing my twttr,” was first published on March 21, 2006, and was auctioned off by Mr. Dorsey for charity.
The Malaysia-based buyer Sina Estavi compared the acquisition to purchasing a Mona Lisa painting.
The tweet was bought using the ether cryptocurrency, a rival to bitcoin.
It was sold as a nonfungible token (NFT) on Monday to Mr. Estavi, the chief executive of technology firm Bridge Oracle.
An NFT may be a unique digital certificate that states who owns a photograph, video, or another sort of online media. Each NFT is exclusive and acts as a showpiece that cannot be duplicated, making them rare by design.
NFTs became hugely popular this year, with expensive digital artwork also being sold in this manner.
Mr. Dorsey said he would convert the proceeds to bitcoin then donate them to the Give Directly’s Africa Response fund.
“This isn’t just a tweet!” Mr Estavi posted on Twitter. “I think years later people will realize the truth value of this tweet, just like the Mona Lisa painting.”
Mr. Dorsey’s brief tweet was sold via an auction on a web platform called Valuables, which is owned by the US-based company Cent.
Under the platform’s rules, Mr. Dorsey receives 95% of the proceeds of the first sale, while Cent receives 5%.
But the post will remain publicly available on Twitter even after it’s been auctioned off. Within minutes of the auction, bids reached quite $88,000.
As the buyer, Mr. Estavi will receive a certificate, digitally signed and verified by Mr. Dorsey, also because of the metadata of the first tweet. the info will include information like the time the tweet was posted and its text contents.
Social media experts predict the sale of tweets and other online posts will become more popular.
“We sleep in an age where celebrities, musicians, and influencers have quite fans, they need stans, and that they will want to have a few their favorite stars,” said Cathy Hackl, founding father of technology consultancy Futures Intelligence Group.
“Just like people buy physical memorabilia, they’re going to buy their tweets, posts, and snaps because they need to feel on the brink of that star”.
Earlier this month, the primary digital-only art auction was held by Christie’s firm and netted $69m for the artist Beeple.
Beeple – real name Mike Winkelmann – creates a replacement piece of digital art a day, and was selling the primary 5,000 days (13 years) of his work.
“This may be a watershed moment and proof of concept for digital art, which has been dogged by questions of economic value, authenticity, ownership, and scarcity,” said Rob Anders, boss of Israel-based digital art platform Niio.