Tim Berners-Lee sells web source code NFT for a whopping $5.4m

The original source code for the world wide web has been sold as a non-fungible token, making $5.4m (£3.9m).

NFTs are ownership certificates for digital assets that do not always have a physical representation.

They do not often involve copyright protection, and critics believe they are get-rich-quick scams that are harmful to the environment.

Web Source code NFT: What do you need to know?

World-wide web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee sold the NFT to an anonymous buyer through Sotheby’s auction house.

The highest price remained at $3.5 million for the majority of the final day of the auction, but there was a rush of bids in the final 15 minutes.

The auction began on June 23 with a bid of $1,000.

NFTs are ownership certificates for digital assets that do not always have a physical representation.

They do not often involve copyright protection, and critics believe they are get-rich-quick scams that are harmful to the environment.

Creator of the internet Sir Tim Berners-Lee sold the NFT to an anonymous buyer through Sotheby’s auction house.

The highest price remained at $3.5 million for the majority of the final day of the auction, but there was a rush of bids in the final 15 minutes.

The auction began on June 23 with a bid of $1,000.

Sotheby’s stated that the proceeds would be donated to charities chosen by Sir Tim and his wife.

As part of a single NFT, four distinct items were sold:

  • time-stamped files of the source code
  • an animated video of the code being written
  • a letter from Sir Tim
  • a digital poster of the code, created by Sir Tim

Royalty-Free

Sir Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web in 1989 by combining disparate pieces of information on the early internet with hyperlinks.

He developed the first web browser and server while refusing to patent his creation.

Cern, the research organisation Sir Tim worked for at the time, renounced all rights to the invention in 1993 and released it into the public domain.

When the NFT auction was announced, Sir Tim informed the Guardian, “The essential codes and protocols on the web remain royalty free, as they have always been.”

“I’m not selling the internet; you won’t have to start paying to click on links.”

“I’m not even going to sell the source code.”

“I’m selling an image I produced with a Python programme I wrote myself of what the source code would look like if it was hung up and signed by me.”

Sotheby’s described the lot as “the only signed copy of the code for the first web browser in existence,” equating its sale to the sale of a significant figure’s handwritten notes.

NFTs have been chastised for their environmental impact, as the blockchain, which stores ownership data on a digital ledger, consumes enormous amounts of energy to operate.

Sotheby’s stated that it will fund a carbon offset to cover the “minting and transaction costs of the sale.”