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World’s first SMS has been bought as NFT for $149,729 at auction in Paris

The world’s first SMS has been sold as a non-fungible token (NFT) for $149,729 at auction in Paris, according to the auctioneer Aguttes.

Reading “Merry Christmas,” the message was sent by British programmer Neil Papworth from his computer on December 3 1992 to Richard Jarvis, then director of UK telecommunications company Vodafone.

Jarvis received the message on his Orbitel 901 cellphone during the company’s Christmas function




The NFT is a replica of the original communication protocol that transmitted the SMS, the auction house said. The unknown buyer, who was to pay in the cryptocurrency Ether, will also receive a digital frame with a 3D animation of the message being received.

Papworth and his colleagues were trying to develop a type of communication whereby their client, Vodafone, could offer users the ability to send messages to each other’s phones, Aguttes explained on its website.
They eventually refined the code, and the transmission of texts via Vodafone’s network became a reality.

“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,” Papworth was quoted as saying by the auctioneer.



“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,” he added.

Initially, texts could not be sent from cellphones because they did not have keyboards. However, by 1994, they were able to be transmitted from phones thanks to the arrival of the Nokia 210.

Five years later, text messages could be sent on various telecommunications networks, giving rise to their popularity. Texting as a means of communication began to overtake the use of phone calls, according to the press release.

The 160-character limit of SMS has since been incorporated across digital platforms including Twitter.

Non-fungible tokens are a form of cryptocurrency that convert digital pieces of art into unique, verifiable goods that can be traded on the blockchain.