The inventor of the World Wide Web is selling its original source code

Published June 18, 2021, 1:30 PM

by Joe Priela

Starting bid at Sotheby’s London is at $1,000

According to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, “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.”

Screenshot of the animated source code of the World Wide Web (Sotheby’s Auction House)

In technical terms, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a non-fungible asset with units that can be interchanged in an instant, similar to cash. It is a one-of-a-kind asset in the digital world that can be acquired and traded like any property. On the other hand, NFTs do not have any tangible form of their own and it has special properties as for the reason that it cannot be exchanged with something else.

Sotheby’s London recently announced that the original source code for the World Wide Web will be auctioned off as an NFT. It will be sold in the form of a poster signed by Tim Berners-Lee himself. Together with it is a letter he wrote about his process of creating the said code, the original time-stamped files containing the source code, and an animated visualization that plays for more than thirty minutes. The source code is around 9,555 lines and is written in HTML, HTTP, and URIs—all of which are languages invented by Berners-Lee himself.

The poster autographed by Tim Berners-Lee (Sotheby’s Auction House)

Since the conception of the World Wide Web, it has been used by more than 4.6 billion people and generated more than 1.7 billion of websites. Unquestionably, Tim Berners-Lee’s invention sits alongside Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Galileo’s proof of Heliocentricity, and other notable creations that left a remarkable mark in our daily lives.

From June 23 to 26, there will be a lone auction entitled “This Changed Everything,” exhibiting Berners-Lee’s work, with bidding starting at just $1,000. Looking in retrospect, a number of NFTs have been sold for millions of dollars. The most plays at $69,000,000. I guess we’ll just see how big will Berners-Lee work can go for.

To create a fully decentralized, open-access application that could be used by anyone and anywhere—this was, is, and will ever be Tim Berner-Lee’s mission as he currently works on Inrupt as its CTO, a company that aims to give individuals autonomous control over their own data.