Sir Tim Bernes-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web announced that he was auctioning the source codes as an NFT on Sotheby’s about two weeks ago. The source codes are the first item that was created digitally to go on auction at Sotheby’s.
The auction was scheduled for the 23rd of June and came to an end on the 30th of the same month. It started at a bid of $1000. The digital artifact, made up of four parts, was sold as an NFT. It contained “the original time-stamped files containing the source code; a letter written by Sir Tim; an animated visualization of the code; a letter written by Sir Tim reflecting on the code and the process of creating it; as well as a digital ‘poster’ of the full code created by Sir Tim from the original files using Python including a graphic of his physical signature; all digitally signed”, according to the information provided by Sotheby’s.
As of June 28th, bids for the source codes had gone up to $2.8 million from an opening price of $1,000. With just two days left till the end of the auction sale, experts predicted that the bid for the NFT could close at $3 million.
The NFT eventually sold for $5,434,500, surpassing the prediction of experts by almost twice. The proceeds from the sale of the NFT will go into the initiatives Sir Tim and Lady Berners-Lee Support.
There have been quite some misunderstandingsabout the NFT sale. To be clear, the World Wide Web itself wasn’t what was sold. What was sold was a blockchain-based record of ownership of files that contain the source codes for the World Wide Web. The source codes are digitally signed on the Ethereum network blockchain.Another question that a non-NFT enthusiast or a total novice might ask is how this digital-based asset holds value. It holds value because blockchain technology gives it the authenticity that it has been made and signed by the creator –Sir Tim Bernes-Lee.
According to Global Head of Science and Popular Culture at Sotheby’s – Cassandra Hatton, “the symbolism, the history, the fact that they’re coming from the creator is what makes them valuable – and there are lots of people who collect things for those reasons”.
About the NFT auction, she said that “we have placed it in a public forum, we have sold it at basically no reserve and we let the market decide what the value is going to be. There have been multiple bidders who have agreed that it’s valuable”.
Although NFT sales have declined this quarter, compared to the last, this marks another milestone that NFTs are slowly but gradually gaining momentum.