World Wide Web NFT Sells for $5.4 Million at Sotheby's

Tim Berners-Lee's digitized source code was sold by the major auction house earlier today.

World Wide Web NFT Sells for $5.4 Million at Sotheby's
Photo of Tim Berners-Lee via Knight Foundation on Flickr

Key Takeaways

  • A digital NFT version of Tim Berners-Lee's source code for the World Wide Web has sold for $5.4 million.
  • Berners-Lee created the token on Ethereum earlier this month.
  • Sotheby's handled the sale; it has also auctioned other NFTs and accepted cryptocurrency as payment for other items.

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Tim Berners-Lee’s tokenized source code for the World Wide Web has sold for $5.4 million, according to Sotheby’s official website.

Sale Price Reaches $5.4 Million

The auction was originally announced on June 15, when Berners-Lee created an Ethereum-based NFT token from the source code for the World Wide Web that he wrote circa 1989.

Now, the sale for the WWW NFT has concluded. At 11:00 AM PST on June 23, the winning bidder paid $5.4 million for the item.

Over 50 parties placed a bid on the item before it was finally sold today. The identity of the buyer is still unknown.

Sotheby’s accepted cryptocurrency as a payment option, but it is unclear whether the winner paid with cryptocurrency or fiat.

The auction item contains an animated video of the World Wide Web’s source code, a digital poster of the code, and an archive of the original dated and time-stamped files. It also includes a letter from Berners-Lee that shares his thoughts on the creation of the Web.

Despite the NFT’s high sale price and the owner’s exclusive control over the original version of the token, most of the files can already be viewed publicly on Sotheby’s website at no cost.

Financial Decision Attracts Criticism

Today’s sale was widely criticized on the grounds that the sale of the Web’s source code undermines its free and open design.

Berners-Lee defended his decision by noting that the NFT sale will not actually affect the Web in any way, and that his token is merely decorative. “I’m selling a picture that I made, with a Python programme that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck on the wall and signed by me.”

Furthermore, it has been revealed that the proceeds will be donated toward causes chosen by Berners-Lee and his wife Rosemary Leith.

Sotheby’s Is Working With Crypto

In addition to today’s sale, Sotheby’s has auctioned other blockchain NFTs including Beeple’s “Everydays”, an NFT collection that includes a CryptoPunks token, and, most recently, a tokenized Jay-Z album cover.

Sotheby’s has also chosen to sell items other than blockchain tokens for cryptocurrency. This month, a 100-carat diamond went up for auction with Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment options.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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