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Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the English computer scientist who is well known for inventing the world wide web has sold a non-fungible token (NFT) in an online auction hosted by the auction house Sotheby’s. The NFT is basically a video of the World Wide Web’s source code created in Python and the collectible sold for $5.4 million.

Tim Berners-Lee and Sotheby’s Auction NFT for $5.4 Million

This week, Sotheby’s revealed that Tim Berners-Lee sold an NFT of the original source code for the world wide web for a whopping $5.4 million. Before the NFT auction, Berners-Lee told the publication the Guardian: “I’m not selling the web – you won’t have to start paying money to follow links. I’m not even selling the source code. I’m selling a picture that I made, with a Python program that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck on the wall and signed by me.”

World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Sells NFT for $5.4M — 'Embarrassing' Coding Error Spotted in NFT
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the English computer scientist who invented the world wide web.

Berners-Lee invented the web in 1989 and before the NFT sale he said “The core codes and protocols on the web are royalty-free, just as they always have been.” A representative from Sotheby’s said the non-fungible token collectible art auction was historical and the fact that Berners-Lee verified the NFT makes it even more valuable.

“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 exactly those reasons,” Cassandra Hatton, the global head of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s explained in a statement. “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 all agreed that it’s valuable.”

Berners-Lee is well respected for his contribution to today’s online advances and in 2018 he announced a project aimed at decentralizing the web. “For all the good we’ve achieved,” Berners-Lee said at the time. “The web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas,” he added. The inventor of the web had also reported on bitcoin on various occasions during the crypto asset’s earliest years.

Coding Error Spotted – Researcher Says There Have Already Been Discussions of a Misprint Error

Following the Berners-Lee NFT sale, a coding error was spotted in the NFT video that sold for £3.9 million ($5.4 million). The researcher that spotted the error in the video told BBC News it looked like “a simple mistake.” Mikko Hypponen explains that certain symbols were translated into HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and he believes it was an error.

World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Sells NFT for $5.4M — 'Embarrassing' Coding Error Spotted in NFT
The error spotted by the researcher – screenshot taken by BBC News, an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

There have already been discussions about whether this would make the NFT more valuable – like a postage stamp with a misprint error,” Hypponen said.

Moreover, website creator Mark O’Neill told the BBC that “whoever made the video for the website ran the original text file through something that converted it into HTML. It’s embarrassing for Sotheby’s but I trust that nobody has done the same to the original code,” O’Neill added.

The BBC’s report notes that the newsdesk had reached out to Sotheby’s and Tim Berners-Lee for comment.

What do you think about Tim Berners-Lee selling an NFT for $5.4 million with an error? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Tags in this story
BBC, HTML, Mark O’Neill, Mikko Hypponen, Misprint, nft, NFT Auction, NFT auction Sotheby’s, NFT Sale, Non-fungible artwork, Non-fungible Token, researcher, Sotheby’s Auctions, Tim Berners-Lee, web, World Wide Web, World Wide Web Inventor, www, WWW inventor

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, BBC, Vanity Fair,

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