The line goes down

How much should owning the rights to a picture of tweet be worth? If you asked me, I might give you, as an act of charity, a dollar before throwing it away. Not Sina Estavi! He paid $2.9 million for this:

Oops. I think I just committed grand larceny. It’s the first time I ever stole millions of dollars, and it felt good. Maybe I should steal more…oh, wait. Uh-oh.

Crypto investor Sina Estavi bought an NFT of Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet ever for $2.9 million in March of 2021. And after a year of constant hype for NFTs, most people would naturally assume Estavi might be able to turn a nice profit on his investment by now. But most people would be wrong.

Estavi put the NFT up for auction last week and bidding ended on Wednesday. The highest bid? Roughly $277 worth of ethereum, at current prices, according to crypto news outlet CoinDesk.

That’s a crushing disappointment. One moment I’m a glamorous international thief planning a weekend in Monte Carlo on my ill-gotten gains, and next I discover that my precious objet d’lucre is worth next to nothing, and if I could even find a fence for it at best I’d get a trip to the drive-through at my local McDonald’s.

I can laugh now, but I sure hope I don’t learn that my retirement funds are all invested in blockchain shit.


  1. robro says

    $277 is a lot of McDonald’s, PZ. I’m not sure I’ve spent $277 on McDonald’s in my life…well, except for the spawn when he was a little tyke. So, go whoop it up.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    I wanna concoct a new psychedelic drug and call it “ethereum”.

    Hell, just a bucket of opium will do…

  3. PaulBC says

    I wouldn’t buy an NFT in the first place, but seriously who gives a flying fuck about Twitter? What are they teaching the kids these days? That happened long after the actual dot-com boom when the web was first commercialized, and long after URLs appeared on everything (as Jamie Zawinski proudly and with some justification attributes to Netscape). Before that there was Usenet, and I (wouldn’t pay a dime for an NFT but if I did) would pay more for nearly anything Gene Spafford posted than Jack Dorsey. Jack who? All Twitter did was move the needle of diminished attention spans further along to where we’ll be grunting and farting at each other by 2032.

    Or maybe an NFT of the “Great Renaming” in 1987, or the actual creation of Arpanet. As a great man once said “If you know your history, then you would know where you coming from, then you wouldn’t have to ask me, who the heck do I think I am.” Kids today. Don’t know history. Don’t know jack shit. Jack Freaking Dorsey? You kidding?

  4. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “I can laugh now, but I sure hope I don’t learn that my retirement funds are all invested in blockchain shit.”

    You’ll be singing a different tune with SpiderCoin, right?
    Ok, Ok, better to have your funds in something safer.

    Maybe Tulips. I hear they’re going up, even now.

  5. numerobis says

    PaulBC: seriously who gives a flying fuck about Twitter?

    Journalists live on Twitter, have for a few years.

    Also, Elon Musk has decided to buy it, so I guess he cares.

  6. tuatara says

    I refuse to invest in cryptocoin unless it is called dolus.
    A dolus must be worth a dollar, right?

  7. PaulBC says

    numerobis@8 Indeed, but the idea that Jack Fucking Dorsey’s first tweet some sort of defining “Come here, Watson.” moment in technology just makes me want to vomit.

    Yes, it was a defining moment in the dumbing down of communication and harbinger of evil, bringing Donald Trump that much closer to the White House. I got that. I’m haven’t been in a coma for the last decade (though I wish).

    BTW, I am sure someone can make a convincing argument that many very smart software engineers had to develop innovative methods to scale these stupid tweets to everyone’s cell phone. I’m not going to deny it. It is still not a moment I’m inclined to celebrate. And I’ll celebrate all kinds of things, including the Trinity nuclear test as significant steps even if they do a lot of damage.

    Twitter is not such a step in humanity’s advancement. Journalists live on it? I don’t give a flying fuck about journalists either.

  8. PaulBC says


    Also, Elon Musk has decided to buy it, so I guess he cares.

    Elon Musk put his shareholders in jeopardy so he could make a lame 420 pot joke.

    Seriously, your point about journalists has some validity, though it pains me to think so. Elon Musk is a buffoon who shows terrible judgment in many ways on a regular basis. Yes, some of what he has done is impressive on balance, and yes he is very rich and influential. But what he “cares” about is a very poor indicator of whether any thinking person should care about it.

  9. Dunc says

    NFTs do not generally confer any actual rights to anything. You’re buying a receipt for a link to a thing, not the thing itself. There is absolutely no guarantee that the thing on the end of the link will stay there, or stay the same. Very often, the people selling the NFTs do not actually have any rights over the thing they’re selling the receipt for the link to. And most of the high-profile NFT sales are wash trades – people selling receipts for links to things to themselves, in order to jack up the price of receipts for links to things in general.

    Yes, it really is that stupid. This is capitalism eating itself.

  10. fentex says

    How much should owning the rights to a picture of tweet be worth?

    That’s not what an NFT is. Selling a NFT based on an image of that tweet does not convey any rights over the image at all.

    NFT’s are worth less than that.

    All a NFT is, is a cryptographically signed reference (or representation) of… something, that is recorded on a blockchain somewhere and presumably non-fungible (turns out they are actually fungible, if you get into the details enough – but no one trying to sell them encourages understanding them). It’s not the image, or the thing depicted, it’s just the cryptographic signature – the token.

    I can produce a truly non-fungible token by presenting a random string of characters of absolutely no value, which no one will exchange for anything (well, except idiots and grifters) – the only thing that creates imaginary value is that these things use the new, wonderful, exciting, amazing never seen before brilliance of THE BLOCKCHAIN!

    Which is just a publicly viewable dispersed ledger, intended to provide surety in place of trust for users.

  11. Rich Woods says

    @Walter #13:

    How would you tell either of those apart from the long-running getting-kicked-in-the-teeth capitalism?

  12. birgerjohansson says

    The Scathing Atheist 478 just arrived at Youtube. I mention it in case you need something to pass an hour during Easter.

  13. felixmagister says

    As far as I can tell, NFTs are a parody of the capitalist obsession with ownership and commodification. They provide all the thrills of ownership without there actually being anything to own.

  14. PaulBC says

    felixmagister@19 They remind me a little of derivatives trading, except they are derivatives of nothing at all.

    Another analogy that comes to mind is intrinsically worthless celebrity memorabilia. E.g., nobody wants my old, sweaty running shoes, but somebody might want Ariana Grande’s old sweaty running shoes. Running shoes are slow to move around though, so NFTs solve this by taking the worthless and moving it around at the speed of light.

    As long as you are paying for these with intrinsically worthless virtual scrip (cryptocurrency) I suppose it evens out.

    “Aye, but it’s based on a real treasure chest.”

  15. says

    felixmagister@19 — yeah. It’s the worst of the Libertarian ideal of cryptocurrency coupled with the conceit of owning 1 square inch of the moon (or Scotland, which is a real thing — I mean, I know Scotland is a real place, but owning 1 square inch so you can call yourself a Scottish Lord or whatever is a real thing, too).

    Cryptocurrency is a scam, and everything based on cryptocurrency is also a scam.

    Thank you for joining my weekly sermon, “Preaching to the Choir.”

  16. Kagehi says

    Weird Al needs to update his “ebay” song.

    An angry ape,
    a oversold tweet,
    I got them both on blockchain!