You can now buy the original source code for the World Wide Web, written by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, in an auction starting at $1,000. Berners-Lee will be auctioning the source code signed by him as an NFT or non-fungible token in an auction by Sotheby's.
The NFT will be offered in a standalone online auction titled 'This Changed Everything'. The London-born computer scientist invented the World Wide Web in 1989, revolutionising sharing and creation of information in what is seen as one of the most significant inventions since the printing press appeared in Europe in 15th century Germany.
"The NFT - completely unique on the Ethereum blockchain - is composed of four elements; the original time-stamped files containing the source code written by Sir Tim; an animated visualization of the code; a letter written by Sir Tim reflecting on the code and the process of creating it ; as well as a digital "poster" of the full code created by Sir Tim from the original files using Python including a graphic of his physical signature; all digitally signed," Sotheby's said in a release.
The files referenced by the NFT contain code with approximately 9,555 lines, whose contents include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Berners-Lee that remain fundamental to the World Wide Web today -- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), as well as original HTML documents that instructed early web users on how to use the application.
The auction will open from June 23-30, with bidding starting at $1,000, and will benefit the initiatives supported by Berners-Lee and his wife.
NFTs have exploded in popularity in recent months, including at auction. A digital-only artwork by American artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold for nearly $70 million at Christie's in March.
"Why an NFT? Well, it's a natural thing to do as when you're a computer scientist and when you write code and have been for many years. It feels right to digitally sign my autograph on a completely digital artefact," Beners-Lee was quoted as saying in the release.
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