Yesterday, Vodafone auctioned the first text message in history in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) at auction house Aguttes.
The piece of digital age history was sold for €132,680 ($149,481).
The buyer has now exclusive ownership of a detailed and unique digital replica of the original communication protocol that transmitted the world’s first SMS. The exclusive NFT was minted in an edition of 1 and Vodafone assures that Vodafone will not mint another NFT related to the first SMS in the future.
The smart contract also gives access to a certificate issued by Vodafone CEO, and signed by Nick Read, on 13/12/2021 that confirms the authenticity and uniqueness of this NFT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS” the world’s first SMS
In December 1992, Vodafone director Richard Jarvis received the world’s first SMS via the Vodafone network. The message stated “Merry Christmas.”.
The NFT and its related smart contract represent the exclusive ownership of this historic digital artifact.
A brief story of the first SMS
The 22-year-old programmer Neil Papworth was unaware almost three decades ago that he was about to change the landscape of technology as we know it.
Holiday greetings added to the lines of code of a mobile messaging protocol paved the way for closer human interaction in a world where digital technology is becoming more prevalent.
Neil Papworth sent the first text message “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis on December 3rd, 1992. Jarvis received it on his iconic Orbitel 901 mobile phone at the company’s Christmas party.
Neil Papworth later recalled in an interview that he and his colleagues at a specialized telecoms development company were under pressure during the period leading up to Christmas 1992.
He and his colleagues were trying to develop a new communication infrastructure for their client Vodafone so that people could send short, written messages to each other’s mobile phones. It was only after many attempts and iterations that Vodafone’s mobile network allowed sending and receiving of text messages.
In the ensuing years, the communication protocol has been universally referred to as “Short Messaging Service” (SMS).
“In 1992, I had no idea just how popular texting would become, and that this would give rise to emojis and messaging apps used by millions. I only recently told my children that I sent that first text. Looking back with hindsight, it’s clearer to see that the Christmas message I sent was a pivotal moment in mobile history.”– Neil Papworth