An NFT representing the source code for the Internet, as we know it, sold for $5.4 million in a Wednesday evening auction as a non-fungible token, or NFT, the latest digital to achieve a $1 million price tag. became collectible.
The NFT, called “This Changed Everything”, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web application in 1989.
In addition to the roughly 10,000 lines of code that form the backbone of the Internet, the NFT includes a recent personal letter by a computer scientist illustrating their process, as well as an animated video and digital poster representing the code.
The code includes languages and protocols, such as “HTML” and “HTTP”, that allow sites to be displayed in a web browser.
The winning bidder remains unknown.
Sotheby’s said proceeds from the sale will go to a charity supported by Berners-Lee and his wife.
Oliver Barker, president of Europe at Sotheby’s, said, “While the source code of the Web itself is a digital artifact that has existed since the 1990s, it was not until the emergence of the NFT that something like this could ever be used for sale. ” a statement.
Berners-Lee defended the sale from critics, who may claim that selling $10 million worth of NFTs does not align with the original “free and open” spirit of the Internet. Interview with the Guardian last week.
“The questions I have were: ‘Oh, that doesn’t seem like the free and open web,'” Berners-Lee said. “Well, wait a minute, the web is as free and open as ever, the core code and protocols on the web are royalty free, like they always have been. I’m not selling the web – you have to follow the link You don’t have to start paying for it.”
“I’m not even selling the source code,” he said. “I’m selling a picture I made, along with a Python program I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it were pasted on the wall and signed by me.”
NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of virtual objects – such as a video clip of LeBron James dunking a basketball – and act as certificates of authenticity. Ownership of NFTs is recorded on a blockchain network, which supports cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.
Digital art pieces have got attractive prices at auctions this year. The movement has attracted so much attention that major, centuries-old auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s have now sold NFTs.
While the market for NFTs declined earlier this year, the latest sale from Sotheby’s shows that the market remains strong.
Theo Wayt. Additional reporting by