The original code for the World Wide Web was sold for $5.4 million as a non-fungible NFT token at Sotheby's online auction. An NFT is a type of digital asset designed to show that someone owns a unique virtual item. Like photos and videos online.
This NFT was created by British computer scientist and web inventor Tim Berners-Lee. It includes original files containing the source code written by Berners-Lee. Additionally, there is an animated graphical visualization of the code. And a message was written by Berners-Lee about the code and its creation. And a digital poster of the full code. And they are all digitally signed by Berners-Lee.
In a statement, Berners-Lee said, NFT is the most recent innovation in the field and the most appropriate proprietary vehicle in existence. It is the ideal way to accumulate assets. After the auction was announced, there was some backlash to the plan, whether it was due to public concern over NFT or environmental concerns.
In a strange turn of events, Berners-Lee appeared to talk about the importance of NFT in an interview with The Guardian after critics questioned whether the auction was in line with the values of the Web.
He said, I do not sell the source code. I'm selling a picture I took of Python, which I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was on the wall and signed by me.
The auction for NFT began June 22, with auctions starting at $1,000. Sotheby said the proceeds benefit initiatives supported by Berners-Lee and his wife, Rosemary Leith.
Some NFTs have sold for millions of dollars in the past few months. In March, artist Beeple sold NFT for $69 million at a Christie's auction. Additionally, the Twitter CEO sold his first tweet as NFT for $2.9 million. Earlier this month, a rare digital avatar known as CryptoPunk was sold for more than $11.7 million.
NFT sales totaled $2 billion in the first quarter of this year. That's according to data from the market-tracking website Nonfungible. But there are signs that the bubble may burst. And that's with sales of digital collectibles dropping dramatically in recent weeks.
As a result, total sales fell from $176 million on May 9 to $8.7 million on June 15. This means that volumes are now almost back to what they were at the beginning of 2021.