- >What’s with the Trend of Turning Old Tweets into NFTs?
What’s with the Trend of Turning Old Tweets into NFTs?
Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first-ever tweet for over $2.9 million on March 22nd. The tweet was sold as an NFT after being listed on the blockchain-based ‘Valuables’ platform.
The March 21, 2006 tweet, which reads: “just setting up my twttr,” is the first-ever tweet on the microblogging site’s history. That fact alone was enough to spark a bidding war that culminated in a record-setting payout of $2.9 million. And it’s likely the biggest highlight of the cryptocurrency space’s current hottest trend: NFTs.
Hope Mutie | Mar 31, 2021
What The Heck Is An NFT?
It seems like almost everyone is talking about NFTs. After catching fire in 2020, the industry is exploding and grabbing headlines in 2021. That is partly due to the insane amount of money folks are raking in. Just ask Beeple – he sold an NFT piece that recently fetched $69.3 million (he walked with a $55 m paycheck). So what’s an NFT?
NFT is short for non-fungible token. ‘Fungible’ implies having the ability to be exchanged or replaced for something else of a similar nature/value. A $20 bill can be exchanged for another $20 bill or two $10 bills. A bar of gold can be swapped for another, just like one Bitcoin is just the same as any other Bitcoin.
For its part, a non-fungible asset is one that’s unlike any other. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital versions of ‘real-world’ assets such as paintings and sports memorabilia. NFTs are based on the blockchain and are thus incorruptible and permanent. NFTs have certain qualities, as discussed in this piece. NFTs can represent a whole lot of things, including cats (think CryptoKitties), virtual land, and of course, tweets.
Jack Dorsey’s NFT’d Tweet
Dorsey first tweeted a link to Valuable’s listing of a tokenized version of the tweet on March 6. Although the tweet was ‘minted’ in December 2020, the listing gained traction after he drew the attention of his 5 million followers. Bidding began with an offer of $1 and ended on March 22nd with an unprecedented $2.9m. The final bid was made by Sina Estavi, CEO of Malaysia-based blockchain startup Bridge Oracle. Estavi won the auction after outbidding TRON’s Justin Sun by $500,000.
The Twitter exec had announced on March 9 that the auction’s proceeds would be sent to the charity Give Directly, a promise he followed through with.
Even Elon Musk
Elon Musk, who’s also a Bitcoin proponent, was not to be left behind. The Tesla boss expressed interest in selling his tweet about a song on NFTs on March 15. The NFT features a video loop with a trophy embroidered with the word “HODL,” “COMPUTERS NEVER SLEEP,” “NFT,” all spinning around to a catchy house song. The song’s lyrics include “NFT for your vanity. Computers never sleep. It’s verified. It’s guaranteed.”
The NFT had already attracted a bid of over $1.1 million also from Estavi (again). However, the ‘Technoking’ of Tesla appeared to have a change of heart about selling the NFT, tweeting: “Actually doesn’t quite feel right selling this. Will pass.”
Notice the strong interest the NFT garnered. In barely two days, the NFT’s value had crossed the $1 million mark.
How Does It All Work?
So, you’re saying there’s a tweet on Twitter, and that tweet can be tokenized/turned into a non-fungible token. First, why would anyone want to do that? Before we get to the psychology or economics of that, let’s first see how the whole process really works.
First, anyone can mint a tweet. According to FAQs by Cent, minting a tweet simply involves copying a tweet’s link and pasting it on v.cent.co. You then proceed to make an offer for the tweet and leave a reply on the tweet to notify the tweet’s author that you’re interested in buying it.
If the tweet’s author is interested in your offer, they only need to ‘accept’ and ‘sign’. If your offer is not accepted, you can cancel it and receive a refund. Once you buy a tweet, you can display it on your digital gallery or resell it for profit on Valuables. When you buy a tweet, what you own is a digital certificate of the tweet. That digital certificate is the ‘non-fungible token’, and it will reside permanently on the blockchain. The NFT has been signed by the tweet’s original author – making it ‘unique and valuable.’ All this is assuming you have a Twitter account and some ETH that you don’t mind parting with.
Everyone can see the tweet on the author’s feed, but only you possess a signed copy of it – much like an autographed book/album by a singer. You get the bragging rights of owning a tweet signed by Jack Dorsey or Elon Musk.
The Age of Virtual Interactions
Do you remember how music fans queued up for hours to get an autographed copy of an album by their favorite singer? Well, that’s not exactly a thing now, thanks to the Covid pandemic. Humanity will always come up with ways to circumvent undesirable situations. Indeed, the NFT industry itself has existed for nearly a decade now, but it’s only found its wings after the pandemic forced people and events out of showrooms and stadiums. It’s a new way for people to enjoy art. And things like first-of-its-kind tweets (such as Dorsey’s) are like some sort of collection, a gem to be valued.
But still, there are so many questions. One, the tweet is up there in the original owner’s Twitter feed. Anyone can search and see it, screenshot it, whatever. Why would anyone shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a tweet?
Perhaps we can get a clue from Sina Estavi’s defense for the big splash after a Twitter user poked fun at him. He said the tweet wasn’t just another tweet and even likened it to a Mona Lisa painting. “Years later, people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting,” he asserted. People have different motivations for acquiring an NFT. Yes, even if the NFT is a sex audiotape by a semi-famous singer.
Putting It All Together
Jack Dorsey tweeted a link to his NFT tweet, and with that shined a brighter light on the irrepressible industry. Don’t be surprised if more popular figures suddenly start realizing what a gem their old tweets are. And who knows? Soon enough, even average plebs can monetize their retweetable tweets thanks to blockchain.