Individuals are now buying and selling their tweets as NFTs (“NFTweets”) in exchange for Ethereum (ETH) using Valuables, a platform engineered by Cent.
Tweets are spread by their ability to provoke emotion. Content creators are in a constant battle to win people’s attention and screen time, often at the expense of authenticity. Using NFTs, Cent is trying to change the way people use Twitter by giving people the tools to create content that generates a living income.
“Launching Valuables, we really wanted to give people another way to express how much they appreciated something, or how much something has resonated with them,” Cent CEO Cameron Hejazi told Decrypt, adding, “We’ve been witnessing all types of digital art getting tokenized, so we thought why don’t we extend this to social platforms?”
Twitter is a popular social media platform. Image: Shutterstock
The long term goal is to give individuals the chance to earn a living by monetizing the content they create online. Most of us spend a lot of our time on social media, but few of us have monetized that time, and that is exactly what Hejazi wants to change. “This is just the first step in a broader mission for us to enable creative income for anyone who is creating digitally,” Hejazi said.
And so far, the tweet selling business is growing at speed.
How big is the tweet-selling business?
At the end of 2020, over $75,000 had been made in offers to buy tweets, and over 400 “NFTweets” were sold. But those figures are growing.
As of yesterday, over $270,000 has been made in offers to buy tweets, representing an increase of 64% since Christmas 2020. Much of this increase is down to the fact people are returning to buy NFTweets more than just once.
According to Hejazi, almost 80%—or four in every five people—are buyers who have made repeat purchases.
Not only is the tweet-selling business growing, but it’s attracting some big names. According to Hejazi, Mark Cuban, a world famous investor and owner of the NBA franchise the Dallas Mavericks, made about $1,000 dollars selling this tweet.
“The Store of Value Generation is Kicking Your Ass and You Don't Even Know it Yet !” the tweet says, with a link to his blog.
“I think there was an offer for about $1,000 dollars, it got his attention, it got him into the app, he set up his Metamask, and he accepted it,” Hejazi said, adding, “Here we have a really well know figure engaging with people who are his biggest fans.”
Neeraj Agrawal, director of communications at Coin Center, has also checked Valuables out. After tweeting about the idea that many NFTs appear to be overpriced, he then sold that tweet for $20 as an NFT.
Speaking to Decrypt, Agrawal acknowledged that specific tweets could end up being quite valuable.
“There are, occasionally, these ‘legendary’ tweets that are just iconic and go down in history, so I can imagine that if you value digital artwork, then owning a tweet would also be valuable,” he said.
But how exactly does buying and selling tweets work on Cent?
Trading tweets for Ethereum
Users on Cent can buy or sell tweets for Ethereum using Cent’s Valuables platform.
Once the creator of a tweet decides they would like to sell a tweet, the first thing they do is mint it on the Ethereum blockchain. This will store it forever on its immutable ledger. They create a one-of-one autographed version of the tweet, which can be sold to anyone who wants to buy it.
To sell a tweet, first you need a Twitter account of your own. Then, you use your Twitter profile to log into Valuables so that Cent can verify which tweets belong to you. After adding Metamask to your browser, you can review and accept any offers for tweets via Valuables directly.
To purchase a tweet, all you have to do is visit the Valuables platform and input the url of the tweet that you want to make an offer on. Even if it hasn’t been minted yet, you can still make an offer.
Whenever a tweet is sold, 95% of the proceeds from that sale will go directly to the author of that tweet, while 5% goes to Cent. Of course, transactions on the blockchain are irreversible, so once a tweet is sold, the buyer is indisputably the owner of that tweet in NFT form.
This gives rise to an interesting new problem caused by blockchain technology.
The future of Twitter and selling tweets
Selling tweets is a growing business, but every innovation that arises from social media risks inheriting some of social media’s long standing issues.
So what happens if someone purchases a tweet that Twitter eventually takes down? What happens if the original author of a tweet gets suspended after selling their content?
“Part of signing a tweet and selling it means that you agree it gets put on the blockchain, and when it gets put on the blockchain it becomes permanent,” Hejazi said.
According to Twitter’s rules, the author of a tweet is the copyright holder of that content, so in a sense, the author of a tweet is free to do what they wish with that content, regardless of whether or not it gets removed from Twitter down the line. What matters is what third parties do with content that has been removed from Twitter.
“Third parties are expected to remove [deleted tweets] from their platform, but if by that point the original creator has uploaded it to a public immutable blockchain, there’s really nothing to be done at that point,” Hejazi said.
This is a problem that could cause new headaches for Twitter. But, ultimately, there’s nothing they can do about it.