NFT of first tweet struggles to attract bids

The inaugural post was by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2006

Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT. Screengrab
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A non-fungible token (NFT) of the first tweet posted on Twitter by co-founder Jack Dorsey is struggling to attract bids anywhere near the price sought by the seller.

Bids on the NFT marketplace OpenSea have, after more than a week, reached 10.1 Ether — equivalent to about $29,000 — having been bought last year by Malaysia-based entrepreneur Sina Estavi for $2.9 million.

Mr Estavi announced this month that he was offering the NFT for sale with a price of $48m in mind, and said he would donate 50 per cent of the proceeds ($25m or more) to the charity GiveDirectly.

However, the bidding has not gone according to plan as yet, and he may end up not selling the NFT.

“My offer to sell was high and not everyone could afford it,” Mr Estavi told Reuters.

“It's important to me who wants to buy it, I will not sell this NFT to anyone because I do not think everyone deserves this NFT.

“This NFT is not just a tweet, this is the Mona Lisa of the digital world.”

Mr Dorsey, who launched the microblogging site 16 years ago with the now famous words “just setting up my twttr”, converted the proceeds of his sale last year to Bitcoin, and then passed it on to the non-profit GiveDirectly's Africa Response.

He resigned as chief executive of Twitter in November, and was replaced by the company's chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal.

NFTs have swept the online collecting world in the past couple of years. A digital artwork by the artist Beeple sold for $69.4m in an online auction by a British auction house earlier, with an NFT as a guarantee of its authenticity.

What exactly are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset or a licensing instrument? They are mix of all of three, according to Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das said.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das said.

“They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

That will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value.

“However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs [and] videos,” Mr Das said.

What's happening with Twitter and Elon Musk?

Elon Musk, Tesla's founder and world's wealthiest person, offered to buy 100 per cent of the biggest microblogging platform last week, setting off a firestorm on his motives and what the future holds for the company.

Mr Musk offered to buy Twitter for $43bn at $54.20 a share, which represents a 38 per cent premium on its stock's closing price on April 1, the last trading day before his investment of 9.2 per cent in the company was publicly announced.

Twitter made a move on Friday to shield itself from the takeover bid by Mr Musk. The social media company's board adopted a limited-duration shareholder rights plan, which would enable its shareholders to buy additional stock, it said in a statement.

Updated: May 30, 2023, 8:34 AM