15 letters that changed the world: Vodafone auctions
with Arteal & Aguttes the very first SMS as NFT
Vodafone is auctioning off the world's first SMS. It was transmitted through the Vodafone network on December 3, 1992
and received by Vodafone employee Richard Jarvis at a Christmas party. It’s 15 letter message: “Merry Christmas”. The
SMS is auctioned as a Non-Fungible Token ("NFT") in a unique sale organized by Aguttes Auction House in France. The
buyer, who will be able to pay with Ether cryptocurrency, gains exclusive ownership of a detailed and unique replica of
the original communication protocol that transmitted the world’s first SMS. The auction will take place on December 21st
2021. Vodafone will be donating the proceeds from the sale to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support forcibly
"The mother of all messaging services comes under the
hammer. With this auction, we are bringing together the
pioneering spirit of two centuries. We immortalize the
world's first SMS on the blockchain. And auction off its good
news as NFT for a good cause," said Vodafone Germany
CEO Hannes Ametsreiter. "Because we believe that
pioneers and technology can change the world. When they
serve people and connect people."
The transmission of the short text message nearly three
decades ago, was a decisive moment in the history of
mobile communications technology. In 1999, seven years
after the first SMS was sent via Vodafone, it was finally
possible to send text messages over multiple networks,
accelerating their use and popularity. Today, greetings for
Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid and many other holidays are sent
by billions of people around the world in the form of texts,
videos, audio messages and emojis. Without the very first
"Merry Christmas" sent to a cell phone, our world would be
less connected today.
From SMS past to NFT future
Much like SMS in the 1990s and early 2000s, blockchain technology has seen ever-increasing adoption – and our world has
entered a new era shaped by digital technologies. The Internet and its applications are constantly evolving at an increasing
In the last 12 months, for example, "non-fungible tokens" generated and stored on blockchains have finally experienced
their breakthrough. These tokens serve as unique and forgery-proof certificates of ownership that digitally prove ownership
over a specific asset. Use cases range from ownership of digital artwork and collectibles to virtual items for online games
and web domains, among others.
"Non-fungible" stands for "non-exchangeable", which means that NFTs can be used to prove ownership of an asset and the
associated rights for voting, for example, in an unalterable and unambiguous manner. The owner of an NFT holds it in his
own blockchain wallet – which is the equivalent of a digital wallet.
Auctioneer Claude Aguttes during Asian Painters Sale in Paris which totalled 4 million euros in September 30th, 2021
A historic moment for a good cause
The rise of blockchain technology and NFTs is similar to what Vodafone achieved by transmitting the very first text message.
Vodafone will now immortalize its own historic moment on the blockchain by auctioning it off as an NFT on December 21st,
In the process, the "First SMS" is being sold as a one-of-a-kind item. The exclusive one-of-a-kind NFT (1/1 Edition) guarantees
ownership of a unique, detailed replica of the original communication protocol of the first text message ever transmitted.
The auction will be conducted in Paris on the 21st of December 2021 by Aguttes, the first independent auction house in
France. Largely active in the international art and luxury market, they expect to gather bidders from all around the world
for this sale.
Maximilien Aguttes: "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. It transmitted a message of joy, 'Merry Christmas'."
To spread joy to those in need this holiday season Vodafone will donate all proceeds from the auction to UNHCR, the UN
Refugee Agency, to support the 82.4 million people who have been forced to flee their homes due conflict and persecution.
Christian Schaake, Head of UNHCR’s Private Sector Partnerships Service, said: “Technology has always had the power to
innovate and change the world. Through this combination of groundbreaking tech and movement for social good, UNHCR
can continue helping refugees and people who've been forced from home, giving them an opportunity to transform their
lives and build better futures for themselves, their loved ones and communities they're living in.”
With this in mind, from all of us at Vodafone, "Merry Christmas!"
To know more about the sale: https://www.aguttes.com/actualite/83570
The sale will be streamed live on Aguttes’ Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/aguttes_/
ABOUT AGUTTES AUCTION HOUSE
French alternative to the leaders of the international art market
Aguttes is the 4th largest auction house in France. Without external shareholding, it is also the first independent company.
Founded in Clermont-Ferrand in 1974 by Claude Aguttes and now managed by two of his daughters - Philippine Dupré la
Tour and Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier - it is today composed by a team of 60 people. With an international auction room
located in the west of Paris and representative offices in Brussels, Lyon and Aix-en-Provence, the company distinguishes
itself by a personalized service and reactivity. Its in-house experts enable the valuation and sale of Single Owner French
collections, including paintings, and exceptional works of art, jewelries and automobiles. Aguttes regularly breaks world
records thanks to its strength in communication and its 70% international buyers. In 2018, the auction house exceeded the
symbolic €50 million mark in auction, a result never achieved by an independent auction house in France (there are more
than 400). In 2019, it totaled 66M€ and will continue to outdistance the other Parisian auction houses during the years 2020
and 2021. Its growth is based on the following and unchanged values of transparency in intermediation, discretion, rigor