Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has sold ownership of his first tweet for just over $2.9 million (£2m).
Dorsey sold the message in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), a form of unique digital asset that has exploded in popularity in recent weeks.
An NFT is a piece of data that resides on a blockchain digital ledger, which provides publicly accessible proof of ownership.
The assets are not “fungible”, or interchangeable, making them rare by design.
Dorsey’s first Twitter message, “just setting up my twttr”, was posted fifteen years ago, on 21 March 2006.
The message’s NFT, which resides in the Ethereum blockchain, was sold on a platform called Valuables by a company called Cent, which specialises in tweets “autographed by their original creators”.
The highest bidder was Sina Estavi, the Malaysia-based chief executive of blockchain firm Bridge Oracle.
Estavi initially offered 1630.5825601 Ether, the equivalent of exactly $2.5m, on 6 March, before updating the offer on Monday to reflect that the same Ether figure was now worth just over $2.9m.
When asked by Reuters for comment on the transaction Estavi said he was “thankful”.
Dorsey, a Bitcoin enthusiast, opened bidding for the tweet on 6 March.
He later said he would convert the proceeds to Bitcoin and donate them to a fund benefiting people in Africa impacted by Covid-19.
Dorsey receives 95 percent of the proceeds of the sale, while Cent receives a 5 percent commission.
An NFT does not restrict access to the original digital file, but acts as an addition to the file that makes it unique, and therefore more valuable, a process comparable to a work of art being signed by the artist.
The technology has been used for sales of digital art as well as collectible digital items and virtual assets in games.
Christie’s sold a work by digital artist Beeple titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days for a record $69.3m earlier this month.