Bargain? World Wide Web’s source code NFT sells for $5.4M at Sotheby’s

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has sold an NFT of the web’s source code for $5.4 million at fine art auction house Sotheby’s.

The piece titled ‘This Changed Everything’ includes a time-stamped file of the source code’s 9,555 lines, a high-fidelity image, a 30-minute animation of the code being written, along with a letter written by Berners-Lee.

While $5.4M is a significant sum, it’s a far cry from the $69 million record set in March for Beeple’s Everydays and less than some observers had predicted. Delphi Digital’s Piers Kicks said he’d been expecting a sale around $10M, noting:

According to Berners-Lee, he and his wife will donate the proceeds of the auction to causes supported by the family.

In a statement to the press released by Sotheby’s, Berners-Lee discussed the future of the internet and expressed his hope that it would remain open to allow it to be a continual source of creativity, technical innovation, and social transformation. These ideals were the inspiration behind Berners-Lee move into the NFT space, he said:

“NFTs, be they artworks or digital artifacts like this, are the latest playful creations in this realm, and the most appropriate means of ownership that exists. They are the ideal way to package the origins behind the web.”

Related: Hype is over: How NFTs and art will benefit from each other moving forward

The high-profile auction of the web’s source code isn’t the only multi-million dollar sale of a digital artwork hosted by a premier auction house this week. On June 30th, Christie’s Auction house closed a $2.1 million auction for the works of transgender digital art FEWOCiOUS.

The NFT “Hello, i’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life,” includes five individual pieces each depicting a year in the artist’s formative years from ages 14 to 18 as he transitioned to male. The works illustrate the artist’s struggles with loneliness and identity as he strove to become an artist.

The trajectory of the young artist’s career is indicative of the upward mobility the digital market offers to digital artists. FEWOCiOUS made his first tokenized sale on the marketplace SuperRare for $6,000 in September of last year and was soon selling artworks valued at over $1 million on Nifty Gateway.

Data provided by shows that combined sales from the digital art markets have shrunk to $18.3 million in June from their peak of $205 million in March. Winklevoss-owned marketplace Nifty Gateway saw a 94% decline in sales from a peak of $145 million to $7.6 million.

Some digital asset platforms have prospered. Relative newcomer to the digital art space, hic et nunc, has seen sales grow 276% from $717,000 in March to $2.7 million in June, capturing capturing 14.7% of the market.



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Two Feet and FEWOCiOUS’s NFT auction becomes the third to top $1m in sales

The auctions were organized by Illumino, an NFT-focused firm seeking to bring “tastemakers and artists” together to launch innovative art on-chain. Illumino was put together by the LA-based management agency Keel, crypto VC firm Framework Ventures, and Bruch Projects — the NFT arm of Manna Ventures.

The NFTs went live on Valentine’s Day, beginning with one-of-a-kind 3D renditions that were sold to the highest bidder.

The one-of-a-kind renditions included “Crowded City” and “A Peak In My Head” — works composed collaboratively by FEWOCiOUS and Two Feet that sold for $150,000 and $158,888 respectively.

Two other collaborative works were made available for open auction at a set price of $999 each, allowing unlimited purchases of the NFTs to be made during the auction. In total, 383 editions of “CryptoCaster” and 324 editions of City Hand were minted, generating roughly $382,600 and $323,700 respectively.

Overall, the four collaborative works drove more than $1 million in primary sales, making the drop Nifty’s most-valuable for 2021 so far. Twitter account “The Blockchain Review” noted that only three artists have previously issued NFTs collections that drove seven-figures worth of primary sales.

Platinum-selling musician Two Feet and acclaimed 18-year-old visual artist FEWOCiOUS have teamed up to launch non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on the Winklevoss-owned NFT marketplace, Nifty Gateway.

According to an announcement, the Two Feet and FEWOCiOUS’ NFT auctions were intended to showcase “how creative personalities can use cutting-edge tools to engage with fans — and in turn earn money — at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has shuttered concerts and galleries.”

While an announcement emphasized the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the live arts secor — with lockdowns destroying the revenue streams of many musicians and artists through disrupting concerts and galleries — Illumino co-founder Michael Ehrlich told Cointelegraph the firm was not founded in response to the pandemic.

“While the company was not founded as a reactionary event to the pandemic, we are passionate to help artists open up innovative ways to share and monetize their creations with the world,” he said.

Ehrlich stated that Illumino plans to launch “more projects in the future that bridge the gap between different artist communities,” noting that “musicians and visual artists will be the starting point, with more collaborative mediums to come down the line:”

“The next couple of releases will continue the innovative concepts featured during the first release. We plan on bringing new twists to the NFT landscape like we did by raffling off at random a one-of-one physical Fender Guitar for the buyers of the ‘CryptoCaster’ Open Edition NFT.”

NFTs appear to have been extremely popular this past Valentine’s Day, with crypto artist David Rudnick also selling a digital flower for 10.8 Ether worth roughly $18,600 on Feb. 14