The very first text message in history will be auctioned in the form of an NFT by the auction house Aguttes, in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine), on December 21, 2021. ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

This message was sent on December 3, 1992 by British computer engineer Neil Papworth to his colleague Richard Jarvis, via the Vodafone network.

The first SMS in history, transmitted by the operator Vodafone on December 3, 1992, was auctioned on Tuesday December 21 for 107,000 euros, during a sale organized by the French auction house Aguttes. The operator Vodafone explained that he would donate the proceeds of the sale to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Received at the time by Richard Jarvis, collaborator of Vodafone, during the Christmas holidays, the SMS is composed of fifteen characters: “Merry Christmas” (“Merry Christmas”).

The buyer, whose identity was not immediately known, is now the exclusive owner of a unique digital replica of the original communications protocol that transmitted this SMS, a format known as NFT.

The new goose that lays golden eggs on the art market

Almost unknown a year ago, NFTs are presented as a certificate of authenticity for an object, virtual or real, based on blockchain technology, a tamper-proof system that also authenticates cryptocurrency exchange transactions. An NFT is unique and cannot be exchanged for an equivalent, hence its name: non-fungible token .

For some, they represent the new goose that lays golden eggs in the contemporary art market and in a few months have become essential auction houses, reaching prices of several million dollars – the record going to a single work. fully digital by American artist Beeple , sold for $ 69.3 million in March at Christie’s.


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