First Trades, First Dollars, and the NYSE Celebrates Moments

April 13, 2021

On April 12, 2021, the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") announced that it would be minting its first Non-Fungible Tokens ("NFTs") in order to memorialize the first-ever direct listing of Spotify, and the First Trades of Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Robloz, and Coupang. In NYSE President Stacey Cunningham's post: "Introducing NYSE NFTs", she states in part that:

At the NYSE, we love to celebrate moments. It seems fitting to launch our own NYSE First Trade NFTs as a new, fun way to mark the moment a company joins the NYSE.

As a company's market maker opens trading in their stock for the first time, its CEO strikes the NYSE First Trade bell, announcing the company's official arrival on the public markets.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, NYSE technology is processing over 350 billion order, quote and trade messages across our markets on our busiest days, more than any other exchange in the world. Each message is recorded in our trading platform's digital ledger. Only one of those messages marks the NYSE First Trade: the exact moment a company became public, creating an opportunity for others to share in their success.

The NYSE First Trade NFT memorializes that unique moment in a company's history.

Also, NYSE posted this on its own website on a page titled: "There's only one First Trade" at

When we decided to mint the NYSE's first NFTs it was fitting that we chose to memorialize that particular one-of-a-kind moment.

Our first class of NYSE NFTs celebrates the First Trades of these notable listings: Spotify, which executed the first ever Direct Listing, Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Roblox and Coupang, the largest U.S. IPO so far this year.

We are starting with these six, but we know there will be many more NYSE NFTs to come as we continue to welcome new, innovative companies to our community.

If you're really intrigued, you can visit and see six videos of the NYSE's much heralded First Trade NFTs. Well -- actually, what you're going to see is about 10 seconds of a video in which an animated hammer smashes down upon what looks like a trophy, which then breaks into animated pieces followed by the display of a bunch of numbers and letters with some hip, modern sounds playing in the background. Oh my, the wonderful, breathless, digital celebration of moments!  

It's all so . . . so . . . how should I put it?  Silly? You ever notice how stupidity comes off as more serious when you use an acronym? Yeah, sure, NFTs.

I was the third generation of my family in the wine and liquor business. Mounted on a wall in my home is the framed First Dollar that my father got when he opened his liquor store in the 1950s. It's a "Silver Certificate" with its own unique serial number -- almost like cryptocurrency but for the fact that it is a legacy, paper currency with a physical manifestation but, hey, if my aunt were a man she'd be my uncle.  Also, someone (whose name is now lost to history) wrote on my father's First Dollar: "Best of Luck!" Imagine if my father had transformed his First Dollar into an NFT way back in the 1950s. Why that First Dollar would be worth -- what? -- something like $2 or even $3? You would have doubled or tripled your investment.

You know, maybe the NYSE is on to something. Perhaps I should digitize my father's First Dollar and transform it into an NFT.

CAPTURE THE MOMENT: Be the proud owner of an NFT of my father's Silver Certificate with "Best of Luck" handwritten across the bill.

After some 40 years on Wall Street, my immediate reaction to the NYSE's NFT collection is to think back on all those Lucite cubes that I was given to commemorate any number of deals. Of course, many of those companies went bankrupt. As best I can tell, almost all of the brokerage firms pushing those deals are out of business. Some of the stock exchanges on which the now-defunct companies traded are also extinct. Come to think of it, I'm not so sure that the NYSE will be around by the end of this decade. Maybe they will transform the NYSE into an NFT. 

Am I lining up to buy an NYSE First Trade NFT? Nah, I'll pass on that trade. Personally, I'm having too much difficulty understanding the mechanics of the transaction. Do I buy the NFT with real, old-fashioned dollars or do I use some form of cryptocurrency? If I pay with a digital currency, doesn't that put me in the position of purchasing a digitized product with digitized cash? And if I do slap the crypto-cash on the crypto-barrel, what exactly do I walk away with -- an animation? I mean, don't get me wrong, this transaction could work out. Then again, why do I have the nagging sense that one of NYSE's First Trade NFTs will retain about as much value as shares in MySpace. You remember how in 2005, News Corp paid $580 million for MySpace, which soared to a $12 billion valuation within a couple of years, and then sold in 2011 for a whopping $35 million. You remember MySpace, right? When did you last use it -- about the last time you logged on to your AOL account or sent a Hotmail email? Why do I have that nagging feeling that this whole NYSE First Trade NFT is just too cute, too clever, and, in the end, you're going to own something that no one will want and you will try to remember just what it was that prompted you to buy it. Then again, whatever happened to my beloved 1958 Rocky Colavito baseball card? Who's Rocky Colavito you ask? Hey, ya shoulda been there.