Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the English computer scientist well known for inventing the World Wide Web, sold a non-fungible token (NFT) at an online auction hosted by auction house Sotheby’s. The NFT is essentially a video of World Wide Web source code created in Python and the collector’s item sold for $ 5.4 million.
Tim Berners-Lee and Sotheby’s Auction NFT for $ 5.4 million
This week, Sotheby’s revealed that Tim Berners-Lee had sold an NFT of the original source code for the World Wide Web for $ 5.4 million. Ahead of the NFT auction, Berners-Lee told The Guardian, “I’m not selling the web – you won’t have to start paying to follow links. I don’t even sell the source code. I am selling an image I made, with a Python program that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck to the wall and signed by me.
Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1989 and before the NFT sale he said, “Basic codes and protocols on the Web are royalty-free, as they always have been. A representative from Sotheby’s said the auction of non-fungible collectible artwork is historic, and the fact that Berners-Lee verified the NFT makes it even more valuable.
“The symbolism, the story, the fact that they come from the creator is what makes them precious, and there are a lot of people who collect things for exactly these reasons”, Cassandra Hatton, global head of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s explained in a statement. “We put it in a public forum, we sold it almost unreservedly and we let the market decide its value. There were several bidders who all agreed that it was valuable.
Berners-Lee is widely respected for his contribution to today’s online advancements and in 2018 he announced a project to decentralize the web. “For all the good we’ve done,” Berners-Lee said at the time. “The Web has become an engine of inequity and division; influenced by powerful forces that use it for their own agendas, ”he added. The inventor of the web had also reported on bitcoin on several occasions during the early years of the crypto asset.
Coding error spotted – Researcher says there has already been talk of a printing error
Following the Berners-Lee NFT sale, a coding error was detected in the NFT video sold for £ 3.9million ($ 5.4million). The researcher who spotted the error in the video told BBC News it looked like “a simple mistake”. Mikko Hypponen explains that some symbols have been translated to HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and he thinks this was an error.
« There have already been discussions about whether this would make the NFT more valuable – like a postage stamp with a printing error, ”Hypponen said.
Additionally, website creator Mark O’Neill told the BBC that “whoever made the video for the website executed the original text file through something that converted it to HTML. It’s embarrassing for Sotheby’s but I hope no one has done the same with the original code, ”added O’Neill.
The BBC report notes that the press office had contacted Sotheby’s and Tim Berners-Lee for comment.
What do you think of Tim Berners-Lee selling an NFT for $ 5.4 million with an error? Let us know what you think of this topic in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, BBC, Vanity Fair,
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