Sir Tim Berners Lee auctions World Wide Web source code NFT

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee is auctioning an NFT of the original “WWW Source Code” at Sotheby’s.

32 years after inventing the “Internet,” the first one “Hypermedia browser / editor”, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is now auctioning off an NFT representing the original source code.

Related | Rare Alien CryptoPunk NFT sells for over $ 11.7 million at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s auction began earlier this week with an opening bid of $ 1,000. At the time of writing, the 41st offer is $ 2.2 million, with six days to go. The sale will close on June 30 and proceeds will go to various charitable causes at the discretion of Sir Tim and his wife, Rosemary Leith.

The bundle includes four elements in one NFT:

  1. Original archive of dated and time-stamped files containing the source code, written between October 3, 1990 and August 24, 1991. These files contain code of approximately 9,555 lines, the content of which includes implementations of the three languages ​​and protocols invented by Sir Tim; HTML (hypertext markup language); HTTP (Hyper Transfer Protocol); and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), as well as the original HTML documents that explained to early web users how to use the application
  2. Animated visualization of the code being written (Video, black & white, silent), lasting 30 minutes 25 seconds
  3. A scalable vector graphics (SVG) representation of the complete code (A0 841mm wide by 1189mm high), created by Sir Tim from the original files using Python, with a graphical representation of his physical signature at the bottom right
  4. A letter written in the README.md file (in “reduction” format) by Sir Tim in June 2021, reflecting on the code and its creation process

Responding to criticism, Sir Tim said what he was doing is “Fully aligned with the values ​​of the web” and that the free nature of the web will not be affected. “I don’t even sell the source code” he explains in a recent Guardian report: “I am selling an image that I made, with a Python program that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it were taped to the wall and signed by me.”

In the same report, Sir Tim compares the auction to “Sell an NFT of a poster” or “Sell a book” and that net neutrality should not play a role in this regard. Sir Tim never claimed the rights to his revolutionary invention. The winning bidder of this auction will still not have the right to profit from it.

Sotheby’s also ensures that the environmental impact generated by the minting of the token will be “negligible” because it will pay off to offset the carbon footprint.

Commenting on NFTs and the technology behind them, Sir Tim said they are “The most appropriate means of ownership that exists. They are the perfect way to pack the origins behind the web.

NFTs could lose momentum, with some claiming the market has crushed, but recent NFT auctions prove that this space still has a lot to give – with digital artwork selling at six, seven, and eight figures in some recent high-profile auctions.


Image: Tim Berners-Lee

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