A non-fungible token (NFT) of the internet’s source code is to be sold at Sotheby’s by computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world-wide-web.
The auction house said that the auction will run from 23-30 June with bids to start at US$1,000. Any proceeds from the sale will be used to benefit initiatives supported by Berners-Lee and his wife.
The NFT is comprised of four elements, the original time-stamped files containing the source code written by Sir Tim, a moving visualization of the nearly 10,000 lines of code, a letter reflecting on the code and the process of creating it, and a digital “poster” of the full code created from the original files using Python computer code.
The lines of code referenced by the NFT include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Berners-Lee that remain fundamental to the World Wide Web; namely HTML Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), as well as original HTML documents that instructed early web users on how to use the application.
“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. For me, the best bit about the web has been the spirit of collaboration”, Berners-Lee said in a statement.
“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 artefact 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.
The internet source code is the latest in a series of notable digital works that have been auctioned off as NFTs, with others including YouTube videos, memes and digital art having been sold off, sometimes for extremely high prices.
Last week, another Sotheby’s auction saw a rare NFT that is part of the ‘CryptoPunk’ series of 8-bit pixel artworks fetch a hammer price of US$11.8mln.