The day before, the creator of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, sold at Sotheby’s a unique NFT token linked to the original source code of his brainchild. The deal was worth $ 5.4 million .
At the same time, about half an hour after the close of the auction, representatives of the decentralized investment organization PleasrDAO, which buys up expensive NFTs, discovered an error in the token. We are talking about a half-hour video in which the source code was typed on the screen. The most interesting thing is that this error can make the NFT even more expensive.
Let’s start by explaining what’s going on. The topic of unique NFT tokens has been around for a long time. Back in 2017, they caused an overload on the Ethereum network: then the so-called CryptoKitties were especially popular, which needed to be grown and sold.
A new peak in NFT demand was recorded this spring. Then the developers, among other things, created entire projects based solely on this concept. In addition, at the end of June, Binance launched a separate trading platform for this category of tokens.
The peculiarity of NFT is originality and uniqueness, which are easy to verify due to the transparency of the blockchain. Since the data in the latter is open, anyone can find out who owns a particular NFT and when he acquired it. And this changes the idea of digital property rights, because in this case, the honesty of the parties to the transaction is guaranteed by cryptography, and not by intermediaries in the face of auction houses.
Now NFT has started to appear in the headlines again. Some tokens are sold for a lot of money, but even this does not guarantee the absence of any problems. However, in this case, the mistake of the creators can only make the work more expensive.
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In the video, the characters > and – part of the source code that Berners-Lee wrote in the C programming language – were mistakenly replaced with their equivalents from another language called HTML. These are » lt», » gt» and » amp», which must be written together.
However, since when they are written together, the combinations will turn into similar symbols at the beginning of the paragraph -,> and – we decided to write them separately for clarity.
PleasrDAO member Scott Burke noticed an error checking the NFT for his DAO and notified Sotheby’s of the error. However, representatives of Sotheby’s made it clear that they can no longer do anything: they still could not notice the inaccuracy in time before the sale of the lot.
Here is Burke’s comment from an interview with reporters, in which he shares his attitude to what is happening. The quote is from Decrypt.
Perhaps the person who animated and encoded the video did not have much experience with C. In this case, he probably would not have noticed the error – the fact that these characters are from HTML.
But this does not mean that the buggy NFT has depreciated. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review in 2017, collectors are willing to pay even more for art that has certain bugs. This makes such works even more unique and valuable. In addition, the error in the NFT code contains a kind of symbolism: there could be no typos in HTML if Berners-Lee had not first invented the World Wide Web itself.
Burke thinks the NFT is somewhat similar to Claude Monet’s The Beach at Trouville, which contains grains of sand from the beach, where the French impressionist painted. The expert continues.
Imperfection is a manifestation of the reality that the source code helped bring to life.
This means that the expert is sure that a mistake is able to make an even more valuable exhibit out of work. In fact, the bug has become a unique artifact that cannot be found in other NFTs.
In any case, the defect affects only a quarter of the NFT. Burke found no bugs in the other three components: the source code archive, the full code digital poster, and Berners-Lee’s letter. PleasrDAO noted that Sotheby’s is ready to cooperate with the buyer to give him the opportunity to correct the error. Although the metadata embedded in the NFT is often immutable, the Berners-Lee NFT can be updated.
According to Burke, «the best way out» would be to update the NFT with re-processed video «to make it part of the story of the piece.» Thus, according to him, «the origin of the update will be available to descendants on the Ethereum blockchain.»
We think the situation was funny. Obviously, the creators did not plan to create such inconveniences, but in this case they fit into the concept of the work itself due to the difference in programming languages. Accordingly, this NFT can deservedly be considered even more unique than initially.