Tim Berners-Lee sells World Wide Web source code NFT for $5.4 million

For a cool $5.4 million, the source code for the World Wide Web 1990-1991 has a new owner.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

A visualisation of the World Wide Web source code

Image: Sothebys

The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has sold an NFT version of his source code from the early 90s for just over $5.4 million.

Source Code for the WWW (1990-1991) was purchased as a non-fungible token (NFT), paid for in cryptocurrency through Sothebys auction house.

NFTs are used to verify unique items. The blockchain-created certificate of authenticity is used for a digital asset such as art, or in this case, a source code.

See also: NFTs cheat sheet: Everything you need to know about non-fungible tokens (TechRepublic) 

The work includes an original archive of dated and time-stamped files containing the source code, written between 3 October 1990 and 24 August 1991. These files contain code with approximately 9,555 lines, the contents of which include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Berners-Lee; HTML, HTTP, and URIs, as well as the original HTML documents that instructed early web users on how to use the application.

The owner also now has a 30 minutes 25 seconds animated visualisation of the code being written and an SVG representation of the full code, which stretches 841mm wide by 1,189mm high, which was created by Berners-Lee from the original files using Python, with a graphic representation of his physical signature.

In addition, the owner also has a letter penned by Berners-Lee earlier this year.

Invented by Berners-Lee in 1989, the "WorldWideWeb" application was the first hypermedia browser/editor, allowing users to create and navigate links between files across a network of computers. 

"This NFT is historic and singular, but, the code for the web and its use, knowledge, power, potential will remain open and available to us all to continue to innovate, create and initiate the next technological transformation that will be built upon what we see today, that we cannot yet imagine," the Sothebys catalogue note says.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward causes picked by Berners-Lee and his wife. 

Earlier this year, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey sold his first ever tweet for $2.9 million. The tweet, which reads "just setting up my twttr", was purchased as an NFT, paid for in ether.

Over in Australia, Lloyds Auctions has decided blockchain is the best way to prove ownership of a set of negatives capturing moments in Australia's history, such as Ned Kelly's armour and Phar Lap winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930.

The auction house will mint the Rose Stereograph Company, a collection of original glass plate negatives from over 140 years of operation, via NFT.


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