Earlier this year, at the height of NFT-mania, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk first minted a tweet of his as an NFT and then retracted the offer to sell it after receiving bids of up to $1 million. “Actually, doesn’t feel quite right selling this. Will pass,” he tweeted.
His admirers however have not stopped trying to buy his tweets. Through the platform Valuables, which also sold Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet as an NFT, offers have been pouring in for Musk. So far this week, 29 bids have been made on Musk tweets, worth over $15,000 in the cryptocurrency ether.
“It is very much thrill-oriented and status-oriented and, you know, frankly fandom-oriented. Elon has the most bids on his tweets because he has so many fans. And these are fans expressing their fandom…It’s that fandom that really drives them to engage in this behaviour,” Cameron Hejazi, CEO and co-founder of Cent, the blockchain based social media company that created Valuables, told Insider in an interview this week.
Valuables’ concept is simple – anyone can bid on tweets, or mint their own tweets to then sell. The authors of tweets can accept, or reject offers, users can out-bid one another or re-sell NFTs they previously purchased. Transactions are made with the cryptocurrency ether.
Minting a tweet through Valuables turns it into a NFT, a non-fungible token that is based on blockchain technology. NFTs are digital assets, like images, video, audio – or tweets. Ownership is recorded on blockchain ledgers.
Since its 2020 launch, Valuables has accumulated 53,000 users who have made transactions worth $3.2 million.
“Behind every NFT there is a person, story and a message. Those three elements combined give it value. Art works in the same way, but NFTs can move faster and they are more transparent and accessible to the public,” one user explained. “It’s a new type of human interaction that never existed before”, he continued.
Others go even further: “NFTs become a part of your identity”, another NFT trader said.
Fandom and admiration play a key role in users bidding on NFTs. “I felt like I had to have that tweet signed by Charles Hoskinson,” one bidder told us. Over the past month, he spent over $6,762 on NFT tweets. ‘I found out there’s something addictive about these things!” the trader told Insider.
“I definitely think that there’s aspects of gamification that can go into play here. Things like for instance trading specific moments or building a collection of moments…I do think that it will definitely solidify as a collectible like trading cards.” Hejazi told Insider.
At the moment, most of the excitement comes from the bidding process before a purchase is made, he said.
But some users are starting to see an increased post-purchase value. “When people buy one of those tweets, I’m autographing a piece of history and then also sharing with them a backstory that nobody has ever heard before,” another seller said.
Valuables is also trying to expand the thrill and experience beyond bidding. “The goal for us is to even get it beyond that right, even beyond just the fandom collecting aspect, it’s to really make it so that it ultimately fosters a connection in some meaningful way that’s real, that’s not just one sided, that’s not just on the fan side, it’s between the fan and the creator and so that’s where we’re actively exploring.” Hejazi said.