Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet has been sold for the equivalent of $2.9m (£2.1m) to a Malaysia-based businessman.
The tweet, which said “just setting up my twttr,” was first published on March 21, 2006 and was auctioned off by Mr Dorsey for charity.
The Malaysia-based buyer Sina Estavi compared the purchase to buying a Mona Lisa painting. The tweet was bought using the ether cryptocurrency, a rival to bitcoin.
It was sold as a nonfungible token (NFT) on Monday to Mr Estavi, the chief executive of technology firm Bridge Oracle.
An NFT is a unique digital certificate that states who owns a photo, video or other form of online media. Each NFT is unique and acts as a collector’s item that can’t be duplicated, making them rare by design.
Mr Dorsey said he would convert the proceeds to bitcoin and then donate them to the Give Directly’s Africa Response fund.
“This is not just a tweet!” Mr Estavi posted on Twitter. “I think years later people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting.”
Mr Dorsey’s brief tweet was sold via an auction on an online platform called Valuables, which is owned by the US-based company Cent.
Under the platform’s rules, Mr Dorsey receives 95% of the proceeds of the primary sale, while Cent receives 5%.
But the post will remain publicly available on Twitter even after it has been auctioned off. Within minutes of the auction bids reached more than $88,000.
Social media experts predict the sale of tweets and other online posts will become more popular.
“We live in an age where celebrities, musicians and influencers have more than fans, they have stans, and they will want to own a piece of their favourite stars,” said Cathy Hackl, founder of technology consultancy Futures Intelligence Group.
“Just like people buy physical memorabilia, they will buy their tweets, posts, and snaps because they want to feel close to that star”.