Steve Jobs 1973 job application pitches physical versus NFT in head-to-head auction

The application is for an unnamed role and has been auctioned in the past.
The application is for an unnamed role and has been auctioned in the past. Photo credit: Getty Images / Supplied

Apple founder Steve Jobs's application for a job in 1973 has been sold via auction in two different forms in what's been described as a "social experiment".

The original application form, complete with Jobs's handwriting in blue ink, has been sold at auction three times before.

This time, a group called Winthrope Ventures decided to pitch the physical version against a digital, NFT version to see which would earn the most.

And it wasn't even close.

The application form is described as "a unique piece of history from the exact moment that a dreamer changed the world".

"It's a snapshot into the mind of a future genius at a moment where any small deviation from the path ahead, would have meant a very different world today."

The application for an unnamed role was first sold in 2017 and has increased in value by around 1200 percent since.

And, after 43 bids, the new owner had to fork out US$343,000 - just under half a million NZ dollars - for the stained A4 sheet of paper.

The NFT version only managed 10 bids for a total of 12 ethereum - a popular cryptocurrency. At the exchange rate at the time of auction, that totalled around US$27,000.

NFTs are assets held on the blockchain and record ownership of a digital item, such as the image of the application form. Anyone can view or download that asset but only the buyer can say they are the official owner.

That could be considered a bargain compared to some of the prices NFT have raised in 2021.

An NFT of the moment Andy Murray won Wimbledon sold for US$178,000 while the original source code of the World Wide Web reached US$5.43 million - but neither could compete with a CryptoPunk, a pixelated digital artwork, which was sold for US$11.8 million in June.

Auction founder Olly Joshi told Business Insider it was "fascinating" watching the head-to-head auction.

"This was a social experiment and we put the power in the pockets of the public," he told Insider in a statement. 

"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."