I ran across a surprising article this morning: NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet struggles to sell.
It’s about how someone bought Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet, which says “just setting up my twttr”, for $2.9 million!
Well, they didn’t actually buy the tweet itself (which, of course, is a digital artifact that lives within the Twitter platform). They bought an NFT (non-fungible token) that represents the tweet.
What, you might ask, is an NFT? According to Forbes:
An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.
So, in this case, someone paid almost three million dollars for a digital artifact that represents a digital artifact to which everyone has public access. The buyer bought it in the hopes that he could resell it for a profit. (At the time of the article, he’d been offered 0.2% of what he paid for it. According to OpenSea, the highest offer to date is $10,048.)
In my Digital Product Design course, we talk about what makes digital artifacts valuable. It basically boils down to knowledge. A digital artifact becomes valuable when it carries information that helps someone act more wisely–better accomplish some goal–in some context. The question is, can this NFT that represents the first tweet do this? In what context might owning this particular NFT provide someone with information that helps them act more wisely? Everyone already knows and has access to the digital artifact that is the first tweet. How does the NFT digital artifact add additional value? Beyond, perhaps, bragging rights, I don’t quite see how it does. Do you?