Vodafone is selling the first ever text message as an NFT

The year was 1992, crop tops were all the rage, the world’s first ever internet browser was developed (called Mosaic – later Netscape), but something else changed the world forever that year too… The release of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Oh, and the first ever SMS text message was sent too. 

It’s wonderful to reflect and see how far we’ve come over the last 29 years. So much technological innovation has happened, yet the trusty SMS maintains global appeal. 

An interesting recent technological advancement has led to Vodafone being able to offer the first ever text message sent as a collectible item, the NFT. An NFT or non-fungible token is a way to prove ownership over a digital asset. The record of ownership is stored on the blockchain, so ownership can be verified by anyone. NFTs have come under some fire of late. Some see them as a waste of resources. After all, it takes a lot of computing power to prove ownership of a digital item that can just be copied and pasted. 

However, this isn’t a money grab by Vodafone. They are offering this SMS for sale to raise money for charity, specifically for the UN Refugee Agency. The auction will take place on Tuesday 21 December, and will be run by Aguttes auction house in France.

“We’re proud to be bringing together a major technology innovation from our past with cutting edge technology of today, to help people in desperate need of support,” said Ahmed Essam, CEO Vodafone UK.

But what did that first ever text message say exactly? “Merry Christmas”. A fitting time for the auction then. In fact, it was December 3rd of 1992 when the first text was sent. It was sent by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old software developer at the time working for Vodafone in the UK. He sent the festive message to his colleague Richard Jarvis, a director at Vodafone who was at the office Christmas party at the time.

So perhaps you can get an extravagant gift for the telecom history aficionado in your family and raise some money for those in need at the same time. 

Merry Christmas! 🎅


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