We've Got A Brooklyn Bridge To Sell Whoever Buys Jack Dorsey's First Tweet For $2.5 Million+
Once upon a time, a million years ago, when I was born, one of my uncles "bought" me a star. My parents got some kind of official-looking document with a map and coordinates and what have you and it was all very cute. It was also a total scam, because all of these companies that sell people stars to name after themselves or their relatives do not actually have the right to go around naming stars. Our sky is not filled with a million Lindas. Only the International Astronomical Union has the right to name stars and as great as your grandma may have been, it's probably not going to happen.
The selling of intangible objects is the oldest scam in the book. Famed con artist George C. Parker sold the Brooklyn Bridge on multiple occasions (often leading to his marks getting arrested as they tried to set up tollbooths), Grant's Tomb (while claiming to be Grant's grandson), Madison Square Garden and the Statue of Liberty.
But now, apparently, the selling of intangible objects is becoming legit, at least if you are an absurdly rich person who is willing to pay an absurd amount of money in order to simply be able to brag about owning a piece of internet ephemera. Like Jack Dorsey's first tweet, which has already raised $2.5 million at auction. The tweet is being sold as a "non-fungible token" or "NFT" which is like a cryptocurrency collectible.
just setting up my twttr— jack (@jack) 1142974214.0
The Twitter CEO shared a link Friday afternoon to a platform called "Valuables," where his March 21, 2006 tweet "just setting up my twttr" was up for bidding. The highest offer is from Sina Estavi, CEO of Bridge Oracle, for $2.5 million as of Saturday afternoon, according to the website.
Ownership of these assets is recorded on a blockchain — a digital ledger similar to the networks that underpin bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, unlike most currencies, a person can't exchange one NFT for another as they would with dollars or other assets. Each NFT is unique and acts as a collector's item that can't be duplicated, making them rare by design.
The only actual point of "owning" these NFTs is bragging rights — to be able to say "Hello! I am the idiot who spent $2.5 million to say I own the first tweet!"
For instance, "Nyan Cat" recently sold at auction for $450k. Not the commercial rights to Nyan Cat, mind you. Just ... Nyan Cat. The GIF. Which anyone can still use, for free.
Nyan Cat GIF Giphy
It seems unlikely these things will appreciate in value, given that people will hopefully find out any day now that they can just say they own the first LOLCAT or whatever and it will be no different experientially from buying the first LOLCAT at auction for $70 million. Just like how Beanie Babies stopped being worth anything when people realized they didn't actually care that much about Beanie Babies and did not really want a house filled with Beanie Babies. Collectible things almost never increase in value — just look at how cheap commemorative plates are!
This is clearly just an exercise in "Hey! Check out how wealthy I am! I can spend $2.5 million on absolutely nothing!," which is actually pretty goddamned wretched when you think about it. You would have to be a really fucked up person to be like "Oh hey, there are people starving all over but I'm gonna pay $2.5 million to pretend I own a tweet!"
And that is why I have decided this is a cry for help. Maybe it is akin to "stop me before I kill again" in rich-person-ese. On some level, perhaps only a subconscious one, these motherfuckers are begging to be taxed.
Granted, not all of these people live in the United States. But they serve as an example of what could happen should these vast riches go unchecked and untaxed. These people are being driven to such boredom that they are just throwing their money at non-existent, intangible, imaginary things. And that is very sad for them. We do not want these poor millionaires and billionaires to become so disconnected from reality that they become the victims of scammy things like this! Next thing you know, people will be selling them all kinds of absurd things, like "the weird way your teeth feel after you eat spinach" or empty Kleenex boxes "filled" with sorrow. Or the Brooklyn Bridge.
Clearly, instead of letting them waste all of their wealth on nonsense like this, we should help them be more useful to society by allowing them to participate in the funding of universal childcare, subsidized college, single-payer healthcare and all kinds of other things that will make this country a nicer place to live in for everyone. And that actually is a tangible thing.
But, failing that, I say we come up with a thousand stupid ass things and just keep selling them nothing until we have all of their money and can redistribute it among the masses.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse