By Elizabeth Howcroft
LONDON (Reuters) – Crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi made headlines in March 2021 when he paid $2.9 million for an NFT of Twitter boss Jack Dorsey’s first tweet. But his efforts to re-sell it have run aground, with a top bid of just $6,800 as of Thursday.
The initial purchase was at the time among the most expensive sales of a non-fungible token, or NFT, and came amid a flurry of interest in the niche crypto assets which have since generated billions of dollars in sales.
Estavi put the tweet up for resale on the popular NFT marketplace OpenSea last week, initially asking for $48 million.
That price tag was removed after offers in the first week were in the low hundreds of dollars. As of Thursday, the highest bid was 2.2 of the cryptocurrency ether – equivalent to around $6,800.
“My offer to sell was high and not everyone could afford it,” Estavi, who was recently freed from jail in Iran, told Reuters via Twitter direct message, adding that he was no longer sure if he would sell the NFT.
“It’s important to me who wants to buy it, I will not sell this NFT to anyone because I do not think everyone deserves this NFT,” Estavi said.
NFTs are a form of crypto asset which can record the ownership of a digital file such as an image, video or text.
There is no guarantee of an NFT’s value and the market is rife with scams, fraud, counterfeits and market manipulation.
But Estavi was confident in the value of his purchase.
“This NFT is not just a tweet, this is the Mona Lisa of the digital world,” he said.
“VICTIM OF CRYPTO”
Estavi, who lives in Malaysia, said he had been arrested last May during a trip to Iran and held in solitary confinement until he was freed in February. Iranian state media reported in May 2021 that he was accused of “disrupting the country’s economic system”.
Estavi said he had been arrested because of the growth of his crypto exchange, Bridge Oracle, and described himself as a “victim of crypto”.
Reuters was unable to independently verify these details.
“I need the support of the cryptocurrency community,” Estavi told Reuters.
While announcing the NFT sale in a tweet on April 6, he pledged to give 50% of the proceeds – which he expected to be at least $25 million – to charity.
He said the rest would go to support Bridge Oracle.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Catherine Evans)