The first SMS ever sent has been auctioned off as a non-fungible token (NFT) for €107,000 (AU$121,000) nearly 30 years after it was first delivered.
The text, transmitted through the Vodafone network on 3 December, 1992, read: “Merry Christmas”. It was sent to then-Vodafone director Richard Jarvis at a Christmas party.
Texts weren’t widely sent until 1999, when mobile phones were able to send text messages over multiple networks.
Now, Vodafone has auctioned off the first SMS at a sale in Paris, with the proceeds of the sale to be directed to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The NFT acts as a unique and forgery-proof certificate of ownership over a detailed replica of the original communication protocol of the first SMS.
“Technology has always had the power to innovate and change the world,” UNHCR head of private sector partnerships Christian Schaake said.
“Through this combination of groundbreaking tech and movement for social good, UNHCR can continue helping refugees and people who've been forced from home, giving them an opportunity to transform their lives and build better futures for themselves, their loved ones and communities they're living in.”
Development manager at Aguttes auction house Maximilien Aguttes added the sale marked another major step forward in communications.
"The first printed book, the first phone call, the first email, all these inventions have changed our lives and communication in the world,” Aguttes said.
“This first text message, received in 1992, is a historic testament to human and technological progress. It transmitted a message of joy, 'Merry Christmas'."
The unknown buyer is thought to have paid in the cryptocurrency Ether.
"The mother of all messaging services comes under the hammer," Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter said.
“With this auction, we are bringing together the pioneering spirit of two centuries. We immortalise the world's first SMS on the blockchain … and auction off its good news as [an] NFT for a good cause.
"Because we believe that pioneers and technology can change the world … when they serve people and connect people."