back to article NFT or not to NFT: Steve Jobs' first job application auction shows physically unique beats cryptographically unique

A dual-format auction of a physical and digital non-fungible token (NFT) version of a job application penned by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has come to a close – and the physical side has emerged victorious, by an order of magnitude. Set up by former ad exec Olly Joshi and launched last week, the auction took a physical piece …

  1. Paul Williams


    ...I could just take an image of the document (perhaps by cropping the image in in this very article), and create a new NFT?

    Which raises the question - why bother?

    1. Geez Money

      Re: Presumably....

      Yes, you absolutely can and there are definitely cases of people creating NFTs for things they have nothing to do with and making bank already. There's also nothing stopping multiple NFTs for the same thing. At the end of the day an NFT isn't proof of anything at all and has no useful value at all other than reselling to the next sucker. They're the virtual equivalent of a void replica deed to a property.

      Also because creating an NFT is significantly more complex than creating a cryptocoin they're many, many times as environmentally impacting to boot. The average NFT emits as much carbon as a cross country drive, and the more they're bid on/transferred/sold the worse it gets, it's not just at time of manufacture but continuous and forever.

      I saw someone describe them as an ecological nightmare pyramid scheme, and that's pretty much right on. At least tulip bulbs could be planted into tulips.

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    For sale now!

    NFT of a bridge! Unique! Limited to one! Buy now!

    1. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: For sale now!

      Would you consider an exchange for some clothes?

      Brand new - made for an emperor ...

  3. DJV Silver badge

    ' "My gut says the NFT will attract the highest bid," Sarah Buchanan, director of auction software house Snoofa.'

    Did she use to work for Gartner?

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      If she did

      She clearly understood the "hype cycle" and that at the point that auction was carried out NFTs were probably peaking so it wasn't an unreasonable prediction.

      I'll bet the resale price of this NFT has already fallen since the 15 minutes of fame for NFTs in the popular press is already over.

      NFTs will end up with some purpose, as proof of ownership of the "original" copy of something digital which can be proven to be from its creator will always be worth something in the same way that the typewritten copy of a Hemingway novel as sent to the publisher would always be worth something. I imagine Linus Torvalds could offer an NFT for the initial version of Linux he released, for example, and draw some pretty high bids. If I offered such an NFT, however, it should be near worthless since I had no connection to the release of the first version of Linux.

  4. myhandler

    wtf. so physical thing on scrappy old paper is worth more than imaginary thing conjured out of nothing?

    who'd have thought it.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge
    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: The truth

      How informative that was. Very original.

      Some adjectives which really apply: incorrect, irrelevant. But thanks anyway.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone fundamentally misunderstood NFTs

    They were auctioning ownership of a copy of the original document, and were then surprised that it went for less money than the actual original document? That's like expecting obvious recreations of the Mona Lisa to sell for more than the Mona Lisa itself!

    They could have tied the NFT to ownership of the original document itself, thus the NFT would be a cryptographic (and public) attestation of ownership of the original document. That could then provide a protection against theft or forgeries, such as if you were to buy the document, and the NFT is transferred to you, but later find out you were given a forgery, you would still be considered the legitimate owner of the original if it were to be uncovered, rather than just being a schmuck with a worthless piece of paper.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Someone fundamentally misunderstood NFTs

      you would still be considered the legitimate owner of the original if it were to be uncovered

      On what basis?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Someone fundamentally misunderstood NFTs

        > On what basis?

        On the basis that it proves that you bought the original from someone who had the right to sell that original. Just think of the NFT as a public, unforgeable, receipt of the transfer of ownership.

    2. SW10

      Re: Someone fundamentally misunderstood profit maximization

      Surely to maximise returns for your favourite charity, the trick is to sell the NFT of the incredibly collectible and historic bit of paper first. Then when the hubbub dies down, sell the extraordinarily rare and covetable physical object.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Someone fundamentally misunderstood profit maximization

        Why not sell an NFT of the sales receipt as well? And then NFT of the sales receipt of an NFT? And then an NFT of an NFT of the sales receipt of an NFT? And then an NFT of an NFT of an NFT of the sales receipt of an NFT? ...

        1. Geez Money

          Re: Someone fundamentally misunderstood profit maximization

          I enjoyed this post so much I'm offering it up as an NFT. Bids start at $1million.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Someone fundamentally misunderstood profit maximization

            I'll take eight!

            Where's the Zoidberg icon when you need it?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Value is transferred once," he told us. "So we would be first to do it, therefore that [NFT] is the first one, and it will retain its value for that reason."

    Since he doesn't understand the meaning of that very first word, the rest of the statement has a predictable worth.

    1. Geez Money

      Re: Word


  8. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Oh NO!

    I have just shredded my old (7 years plus) bank statements, and car service history documents (I sold the car for scrap recently, but the file was over 1" thick and included all the failed MOT certificates, receipts, insurance documents and other stuff). I could have made a fortune selling the NFTs for those 100+documents and the paper versions as well.

    1. Rufus McDufus

      Re: Oh NO!

      But think of the money you can make selling each piece of shredded paper. And they're all unique!

      1. Outski Silver badge

        Re: Oh NO!

        Banksy's already done it:

  9. heyrick Silver badge

    and in a twist surprising all involved

    In what alternate reality? You're essentially pitting a scan of a document against the real thing. Make up all sorts of technical sounding bullshit about fungible tokens, it's still a picture of something versus the real thing. And everybody thought the picture, the copy, the not-the-real-thing would attract the higher value? In what alternate reality?

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Perhaps NFTs are an idea whose time has gone.

    1. Phil Kingston

      I suspect so. Probably helped along by the terrible name. Should have gone for something like OwnerRazzle, AuthentiBadger or ProofJelly.

  11. hammarbtyp

    Someone just managed to make 23K by scanning a document....definitely beats working for a living

  12. katrinab Silver badge

    Just one question

    Can they legally sell an NFT of this thing?

    Surely the copyright is owned by Steve Jobs’s heirs? They can sell the physical document thanks to the first sale doctrine, but I’m not so sure they can make additional copies of it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like