Jobs’ Maiden Job Hunt Shows Value of Real Assets Over Cryptic Avatars

First job application from Steve Jobs fetches $3,43,000 in online auction, its NFT version draws $23,000

Jobs’ Maiden Job Hunt Shows Value of Real Assets Over Cryptic Avatars
Jobs’ Maiden Job Hunt Shows Value of Real Assets Over Cryptic Avatars
Kumar Chatterjee - 30 July 2021

When a group of friends went on to answer a question, what is more precious – real or virtual, they were not sure that physical assets rule the roost even today.

Winthorpe Ventures, as Business Insider quoted the group, was armed with a physical document and its virtual prototype. The document had changed hands several times before. It was perhaps the first job application of Steve Jobs.

“Non-fungible tokens have dominated the art and collectibles sphere for months, but there is a debate around whether they represent real value, with doubts on whether they will stand the test of time against traditional physical assets,” the auction website said.

“By putting the NFT and original physical job application up for auction simultaneously, the sale will test the appetite for digital assets in contrast with physical equivalents. This first-of-its-kind auction will challenge the notion of value in the physical and digital worlds. The result of the auction will show if true value can be embodied in both or whether one medium is leading the way.”

When the auction ended, Winthorpe Ventures had the answer in absolute clarity. The original physical document drew four times as many bids as its NFT version. And, the online auction eventually sold the original document for a whopping $3,43,000, which is more than 10 times the $23,000 top bid for the NFT version. The original document was first sold for $18,750 in 2017.

Steve Jobs had presumably drafted the application after dropping out of Reed College in Portland, which was around 1973. He co-founded Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak in 1976.

The one-page application, filed in long hand, does not provide many details. There is no mention of the position for which he was applying, nor there is any mention of a company name. It only says that he was interested in electronics, tech or design engineer positions. His skills included computer and calculator experience.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are assets that delegate ownership of a virtual asset like a picture, a tweet or a video, typically paid for in Ethereum cryptocurrency. The asset can only be held by one person at a time, and the ownership is recorded on a digital ledger that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

“This was a social experiment and we put the power in the pockets of the public,” Olly Joshi, the auction’s founder, said in a statement to Business Insider. “The results clearly show that, on this occasion, people felt the physical job application held more value than its digital counterpart. It will be interesting to see if the perception of the value of digital assets shifts in the near future, and whether it’s time we think differently.”

A portion of profits from the auction will be donated to the non-profits Cancer Research Institute and One Laptop Per Child, according to the auction’s website.

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