Merry Christmas: Vodafone auctions off first text message as NFT for a good cause

15 char­ac­ters that changed the world: „Mer­ry Christ­mas” was the sen­tence that was sent as the world’s first text mes­sage (SMS) via the Voda­fone net­work. Now, the tech­nol­o­gy pio­neer is auc­tion­ing off this unique tes­ti­mo­ny of time as a non-fun­gi­ble token (NFT) and donat­ing the pro­ceeds from the auc­tion to „The UN Refugee Agency” (UNHCR).

On Decem­ber 3, 1992, the world’s first SMS was sent over the Voda­fone net­work. Voda­fone employ­ee Richard Jarvis received the mes­sage at a Christ­mas par­ty: „Mer­ry Christ­mas” were the words that start­ed a rev­o­lu­tion in mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions. On Decem­ber 21, 2021, Voda­fone will sell this his­toric SMS at a unique auc­tion.

Click here for the auc­tion

A key moment in history

The trans­mis­sion of the short mes­sage almost three decades ago was a key moment in the his­to­ry of mobile com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy. It was only sev­en years after the first SMS was sent over the Voda­fone net­work that it final­ly became pos­si­ble to send short mes­sages over mul­ti­ple net­works. This accel­er­at­ed their use and pop­u­lar­i­ty enor­mous­ly. Now, at the end of 2021, Voda­fone Ger­many CEO Hannes Amet­sre­it­er can announce: „The moth­er of all mes­sag­ing ser­vices is going under the ham­mer. With this auc­tion, we are unit­ing the pio­neer­ing spir­it of two cen­turies. We immor­tal­ize the world’s first SMS on the blockchain and auc­tion its glad tid­ings as NFT for a good cause.”

Tamper-proof and unique: property on the blockchain

Much like SMS in the 1990s and ear­ly 2000s, blockchain tech­nol­o­gy has spurred major changes in our mod­ern, dig­i­tal­ized world. In recent months, for exam­ple, non-fun­gi­ble tokens („non-exchange­able tokens,” or NFT’s) gen­er­at­ed and stored on blockchains have seen their break­through. These „non-exchange­able” tokens describe unique and forgery-proof cer­tifi­cates that prove own­er­ship of a spe­cif­ic asset in an immutable and unam­bigu­ous dig­i­tal way. The basis of these cer­tifi­cates is blockchain tech­nol­o­gy, which makes own­er­ship forgery- and tam­per-proof. The poten­tial appli­ca­tions of NFTs are diverse and range from own­er­ship of dig­i­tal art­works and col­lectibles to vir­tu­al items for online games and web domains, among oth­ers.

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Vodafone puts together NFT package with some extras

Own­ers of NFT’s man­age them in a kind of dig­i­tal wal­let: a blockchain wal­let. The cryp­to data of an NFT is trans­ferred to the buyer’s own wal­let or that of the buy­er in the event of a sale, either exclu­sive­ly dig­i­tal­ly or phys­i­cal­ly, for exam­ple in the form of a check card with the infor­ma­tion required for a trans­fer.

At the auc­tion of the world’s first SMS on Decem­ber 21, Voda­fone will have sev­er­al assets auc­tioned simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. For exam­ple, the NTF will give the buy­er exclu­sive own­er­ship of a detailed and unique repli­ca of the orig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­col that trans­mit­ted the world’s first SMS. This will be an ani­mat­ed video sequence bring­ing the tech­ni­cal break­through of Decem­ber 3, 1992 back to life online as well as offline thanks to being stored on an „Infi­nite Object” frame.

A „Cer­tifi­cate of Authen­tic­i­ty” issued by Voda­fone addi­tion­al­ly con­firms the authen­tic­i­ty of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­col acquired by means of the NFT as the world’s first SMS. The NFT pack­age becomes even more valu­able with fur­ther attach­ments and add-ons.

„Merry Christmas” for a good cause

With the auc­tion of the first SMS as NFT, Voda­fone immor­tal­izes a his­toric moment on the blockchain. The auc­tion will be held on Decem­ber 21, 2021, by Paris-based auc­tion house Aguttes, which oper­ates in the inter­na­tion­al art and lux­u­ry mar­ket. Bid­ders from all over the world are expect­ed to attend. „The first print­ed book, the first phone call, the first email: all these inven­tions have changed our lives and our com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the world. This first SMS, received in 1992, is a his­toric tes­ti­mo­ny to human and tech­no­log­i­cal progress,” said Max­im­i­lien Aguttes, Head of Cor­po­rate Devel­op­ment at Aguttes. Voda­fone will donate all pro­ceeds to The UN Refugee Agency. In this spir­it, we also wish you a very Mer­ry Christ­mas!

Vodafone versteigert erste SMS der Welt als NFT und spendet den Erlös an "The UN Refugee Agency"

SMS, What­sApp, voice mes­sage, video mes­sage or post­card: how do you send your Christ­mas greet­ings this year? We are look­ing for­ward to your com­ments!

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