Elon Musk turns down $1 million offer to buy his tweet as an NFT

Elon Musk, founder and chief engineer of SpaceX speaks at the 2020 Satellite Conference and Exhibition March 9, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk withdrew the offer to sell one of his tweets as a non-fungible token (or NFT) on Tuesday, even though a bidder had offered more than $1 million for the digital asset.

Musk said on Monday in a tweet, “I’m selling this song about NFTs as an NFT.” The social media post he put up for sale included a song with the lyrics: “NFT for your vanity. Computers never sleep. It’s verified. It’s guaranteed.”

The tweet-for-sale also contained a short video loop, which portrayed a trophy labeled “Vanity Trophy” with the term “NFT” at the top, and “HODL” across the bottom. HODL is a cheer used by cryptocurrency fans and retail investors to encourage peers to hold onto a coin or shares in a company, rather than sell.

On Tuesday, Musk changed his tune, saying in a tweet: “Actually doesn’t feel quite right selling this. Will pass.”

NFTs are unique crypto tokens used to represent digital assets, including images and video clips. They can be bought and sold like physical collectibles. NFTs run on a decentralized digital ledger, or blockchain, which means that transactions, ownership and validity of any asset that an NFT represents can be tracked.

Musk’s tweet, including his caption, video and song, was listed for sale as an NFT on “Valuables,” a platform released by Cent, the social media network built on blockchain. According to Valuables, the highest last bid on the Musk tweet was $1,121,000, from a Twitter user with the handle @SinaEstavi.

The experimental CEO has been known for his endorsement of digital assets of late, including bitcoin, Dogecoin and now NFTs. In February, Tesla revealed it purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin and might continue to make cryptocurrency acquisitions.

Musk’s romantic partner, a musician known as Grimes, also sold around $6 million worth of her digital artwork after putting them up for auction in recent weeks.

His buzz-generating NFT offer on Monday helped Musk distract his tens of millions of followers on Twitter from news of personnel changes in the top ranks of Tesla and a federal probe into a Tesla crash that took place in Detroit late last week.

On Monday, financial filings revealed that former Tesla Automotive President Jerome Guillen would be vacating that role to become Tesla’s president of Heavy Trucking, instead. Tesla has not yet announced a successor to Guillen for the role of president of Automotive.

On the same day, the federal vehicle safety authority, NHTSA, said it would be sending a team to Detroit to investigate the underlying causes of a “violent” crash that occurred there on March 11 involving a Tesla sedan and a semi-truck. The investigation is now underway.

In recent months, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has warned investors against buying or selling stocks and other assets based on info shared on social media. The financial regulator has also warned investors against buying shares in SPACs, or other assets, simply because of celebrity involvement in the deal.

— CNBC Make It reporter Taylor Locke contributed to this story.