5.4 million dollars! WWW inventor sells internet source code as NFT – but it contains a bug

July 5, 2021

5.4 million dollars! WWW inventor sells internet source code as NFT - but it contains a bug

The inventor of the internet as we know it today - Tim Berners-Lee - sold the 30-year-old source code of the World Wide Web as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) - for 5.4 million dollars. In the meantime, however, it has come to light that the NFT contains an error.

5.4 million for NFT "This Changes Everything

Tim Berners-Lee is considered one of the most famous personalities in the tech industry: he came up with the important concept that gave rise to today's internet. He invented it back in 1989 - and has now made money out of it. The programme was auctioned off at the New York auction house Sotheby's and fetched an incredible 5.4 million dollars. Contents of the NFT entitled "This Changes Everything": an animated, half-hour version of the almost 10,000 lines of code - and a letter from the computer scientist dated June 2021, in which Berners-Lee reflects on his experiences creating the code.

Berners-Lee explains:

   "The process of bringing this NFT to auction has given me the opportunity to look back at the moment when I first sat down to write this code thirty years ago, and reflect on how far the web has come since then and where it might go in the decades to come."

Background NFTs: So-called NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are blockchain-based crypto-tokens (mostly on Ethereum, but also on Tezos or Polygon) that allow users to prove they actually own or own a digital or physical asset. According to Sir Berners-Lee, NFTs are "the latest game-changing creation in the field and the most appropriate means of ownership there is".

Earlier this year, the NFT industry experienced a gigantic boom that eventually culminated in a record sale at Christie's auction house: digital artist Beeple fetched an incredible $69 million for his NFT collection. Since then, sales have declined, but the development of the NFT ecosystem continues unabated. NFTs have come to stay. This is also demonstrated by the fact that IT pioneer Berners-Lee is selling such a historic document as an NFT.

Famous NFT contains critical error

Incidentally, the 66-year-old was also responsible for the development of HTML, URL and HTTP - three important technologies that have decisively shaped the nature and functionality of the internet to this day. In addition: the programmer and his wife are co-founders of the "World Wide Web Foundation", and he also overlooks several non-profit organisations that are concerned with "digital equality".

Together with his wife Rosemary Leith Berners-Lee, Bernes-Lee now wants to donate his share of the sales proceeds to charity:

   "I am thrilled that the initiatives Rosemary and I support will benefit from the sale of this NFT. I want to thank everyone at Sotheby's who worked on this project and the crypto community for their help and support."

It is quite possible, however, that the famous NFT will be destroyed ("burned") and reissued. Because: Shortly after the auction ended, users found an error in Berners-Lee's half-hour video. Parts of the source code that Berners-Lee wrote in the programming language C were replaced in it by equivalents of the programming language HTML - a gross blunder for enthusiasts, but one that could also increase in value.

For example, a mistake was also made in an art action by the artist Banksy: one of his paintings was to be shredded during an auction - but the mechanics failed, the work was only half destroyed - and became worth even more as a result of this mistake.

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About the author

Hi there, my name is Zalman Weinberg. I'm enthusiast with over 7 years of experience in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professional Trader providing Blockchain solutions to Startups and Enterprises. Expert in all cryptocurrency exchange APIs (BitMEX, Bittrex, Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken, Poloniex, Gdax etc.). I have also worked with multiple Forex broker APIs.

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