If you ask Cameron Hejazi, co-founder of Cent, the company behind the Valuables auction market, selling tweets is an almost philosophical exercise, putting fandom, the monetisation of social media popularity, and the power of internet platforms to the test. “Nobody thought prior to this experiment that their tweets were valuable or worth anything,” he says, which is why Valuables lets potential buyers make the first move. “What we’re observing with NFTs and collectibles, [is that] there are a lot of potential interested people saying: ‘I want to own that tweet’.”
The reason for that craving goes from sheer adoration for the author, to something that appeals to collectors. One thing tweet-sales might be replacing, Hejazi says, is the kind of bashful monetisation attempts some people engage in on Twitter when their posts go viral – which usually takes the form of linking to their GoFundMe or Ko-fi pages in a bid to rake in some tips. “We think that there’s a model where the [tweet] itself that is blowing up, the thing itself that is getting retweeted, commented and talked about – that is inherently valuable,” he says. “You should be able to be rewarded for that value.”
Sean Stein Smith, a professor of economics at City University of New York’s Lehman College, says that while the prices being flung around are “overheated”, the tweet sale speaks to a real question. “Equitable compensation of artists and other content creators – be it music, be it artwork – has been an issue for a long time,” he says. “And so this NFT concept really opens up all of that to actually be able to fairly and accurately monetise content that was already created.”
This conversation is indeed taking place within Twitter, which recently announced the launch of a “Super Follow” feature that would allow accounts to charge followers for special content. (Hejazi declined to comment on Valuables’ relationship with Twitter and on whether Twitter is or will be an investor in the company. Twitter declined to comment on its relationship with Valuables, or on its views on the tweet sale; Jack Dorsey did not respond to requests for comment via Twitter direct message.)
Another way to think about NFT tweets is as collectibles: an NFT tweet signed by Jack Dorsey – or Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, Barack Obama – can be compared to a football trading card autographed by the player. In this specific case, we are talking about the first tweet ever by Twitter’s CEO, something of significance if you accept that a unique string of characters on a digital ledger fulfils that criteria. “It is akin to a certificate, a document, or the Declaration of Independence, right? It’s very much a historical collectible,” says an NFT collector and cryptocurrency entrepreneur who goes by the name of WhaleShark. “Given how Twitter has grown today, I think it’s a very good purchase.” All that, however, must be read in the context of crypto, an unregulated, speculative environment that goes through periodical sprees and self-destruction for the sake of publicity, speculation, or just the odd bit of trolling.
Read more: After jack dorsey valuables nft – Krypto-NFTs