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Web NFT by Tim Berners-Lee Sold for $5.4M at Sotheby’s

UTC by Patrick Kariuki · 3 min read
Web NFT by Tim Berners-Lee Sold for $5.4M at Sotheby’s
Photo: Marco Verch / Flickr

Initially, Berners-Lee gave his source code at no pay to the world wide web, however, he’s now managed to raise $5.4 M by simply auctioning one copy as an NFT via Sotheby’s.

Without a doubt, NFTs are still fetching a lot of money. World Wide Web’s inventor, British-based computer geek Tim Berners-Lee has put a source code to be auctioned as a non-fungible token (NFT). The NFT was bought for $5.4 million.

On Wednesday, the computer scientist announced that his NFT had attracted more than 50 bids. However, the NFT buyer wasn’t disclosed, obviously for security reasons. A spokesperson representing Sotheby’s also disclosed to Coindesk that the buyer was anonymous. The spokesperson further added that they weren’t sure whether the payment will be done using crypto or fiat currency.
The proceeds from this sale will be directed to charities linked with Berners-Lee’s family, Sotheby’s disclosed.

What does the Sale Actually Mean?

The NFT sale will no doubt transform the way Non-fungible tokens are viewed. Initially, Berners-Lee gave his source code at no pay to the world wide web, however, he’s now managed to raise $5.4 M by simply auctioning one copy, autographed, as an NFT via Sotheby’s.

The NFT will join the electric company. Besides the code copy, the auction shows an animation mimicking the writing of the code, graphics depicting the full code, and a written summary of what it feels to write code which was written earlier in the year by Berners-Lee himself. Sotheby’s clarified that the computer scientist intends to donate the proceeds but he hasn’t revealed his beneficiaries.

The sale presents a peculiar and momentous occasion for the history of the internet. Since 1993, the code that was written by Berners-Lee has never been copyrighted by any property law. The curatorial director Marc Weber based at the famous Computer History Museum was quoted saying that some people thought that it was critical for making the web succeed. He further said that it was a basic thing to facilitate the movement of free software.

Additionally, he noted that this would be a perfect example of the way innovators should act, choosing collaboration and moving history forward instead of choosing profits. Decades later, the source code that was offered for free a few years back is getting monetized.

Fundraising

Berners-Lee has accomplished a lot, and in essence, he’s not out to sell the source code but rather, raise funds and promote his legacy without interfering with copyrights or property rights and laws. If it wasn’t for NFTs Berners-Lee wouldn’t have put the source code in the public domain while at the same time getting someone to acquire/ buy an ownership certificate for the same.

Last week, in an interview with the Guardian, Berners-Lee said that the sale will not change the Web’s openness or even the code. He added that he’s selling a picture that he made, with a computer program, Python, that he wrote.

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Patrick Kariuki

Patrick is an accounting & economics graduate, a Cryptocurrency enthusiast, and a Blockchain technology fanatic. When not crafting informative pieces on any of the above subjects, he will be researching on how the Blockchain technology can transform the world, particularly the financial space.

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