Merry Christmas for Vodafone text message auction

Vodafone has raised close to £100,000 for charity by auctioning a non-fungible token (NFT) of the world’s first ever SMS text message, which simply reads ‘Merry Christmas’.

Having secured a winning bid of £90,800 in Ether cryptocurrency at an auction in Paris for the NFT - a unique digital asset that is stored and traded on blockchain - the mobile network provider said the funds would be donated to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The NFT guarantees sole ownership of a unique, detailed replica of the original communication protocol of the first text message which was on the Vodafone network on 3rd December 1992. The message was sent by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old British engineer who used his computer to send “Merry Christmas” to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone. The technology was built into the 2G standard as a universal service, allowing anyone with a compatible handset to send a 160-character message to anyone else.

The founder of the hosting auction house, Maximilian Aguttes, said: “The first printed book, the first phone call, the first email – all these inventions have changed our lives and communication in the world. This first text message received in 1992 is a historic testament to human and technological progress – we are delighted to be able to support the sale of this landmark piece of history for this cause.”

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