The World Wide Web source code is auctioning as an NFT by inventor

    17 Jun 2021

    Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist and internet pioneer, is auctioning the source code for the World Wide Web as a nonfungible token (NFT) for charity.

    Bidding — entitled “This Changed Everything” — will start at Sotheby’s in London on June 23rd at 7:00 pm GMT at $1,000 and end on June 30th. Although a much, much higher final bid is expected.

    The auction run at Sotheby’s will include 10,000 lines of the source code, original manual web pages, an animated visualization of the code, a letter written by Berners-Lee on the code and its significance, and a digital “poster” built with Python.

    It is not the first of high-profile pieces of internet history sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), but this case is one of the most important pieces of them all.

    This sale is an unusual step for Berners-Lee, who’s well-known as a proponent of the open internet. He donated the code to the public domain decades ago. He also refused to patent web technology and always has been a consistent advocate of giving more control to internet users. But Berners-Lee declared to Sotheby’s that he considers NFT the “most appropriate means” of owning digital creations.

    Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are a new type of digital asset issued to show that someone has ownership of some unique virtual item, like online pictures and videos, sports trading cards, or even music.

    Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture, said in an announcement that the “NFT format” will allow collectors to “own the ultimate digitally-born artifact.”

    “Three decades ago, I created something which, with the subsequent help of a huge number of collaborators across the world, has been a powerful tool for humanity,” stated Berners-Lee in an announcement. “For me, the b est bit about the web has been the spirit of collaboration. While I do not make predictions about the future, I sincerely hope its use, knowledge and potential will remain open and available to us all to continue to innovate, create and initiate the next technological transformation, that we cannot yet imagine.”

    “NFTs, be they artworks or a digital artifact 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,” he added.

    However, this NFT sale likely will not get the amount of money gotten for an NFT last March on Christie’s. The digital artist Beeple has got $69 million for a work titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” which shows his 5000 artworks.


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