As expected, bidders flocked to Sotheby’s to bid for the beginning of the internet. The winning bid for the original World Wide Web Source Code is an eye-watering $5.4 Million. Dubbed as the inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee will finally directly profit from his invention.
How “This Changed Everything”
Sotheby’s ran a single lot auction appropriately titled, “This Changed Everything.” The NFT Sale includes the original time-stamped files containing the source code and a 30-minute animated visualization of the code being written. Moreover, Berners-Lee added a letter reflecting on the process of creating the code and its impact. Lastly, it includes a “digital poster” of the work featuring a graphic of Berners-Lee’s signature.
The starting bid for the world wide web source code was set at $1,000. Two days before the hammer went down, the high bid peaked at $2.8 Million. Then, it was upped by a $3.5 Million did. The auction finally closed after a total of 51 bids. The winning bid, $5.4 Million, came in 10 minutes before the sale closed. A portion of the proceeds will go to charities of Mr. Berners-Lee’s choice.
Oliver Barker, Chairman Sotheby’s Europe, looked back on the role of Sotheby’s in bringing this auction to life. She said, “While the source code to the web itself is a digital artefact that has existed since 1990, it is not until the emergence of NFTs that something like this could ever have been harnessed for sale. It has been such an exciting journey for Sotheby’s to play a role in this landmark moment from start to finish and to have opened a window into the astonishing world of Sir Tim Berners-Lee.”
Setting Several Records
This auction set several records. First, this is the first historical artifact relating to the creation of the web to ever come to the sale. Thus, offering the beginning of the internet as an NFT is very appropriate.
Second, the $5.4 Million bid solidly lands this auction as the fourth most expensive NFT ever sold. The auction shares the fourth spot with Edward Snowden’s NFT artwork. It consists of court documentation deciding that the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance practice violated the law. The document was overlaid with a portrait of Snowden by artist Platon to add a touch of creativity.
Lastly, this is actually the first time that inventor Tim Berners-Lee will directly monetize his work. Back in 1994, he didn’t patent his invention and shared it right away to research institutions and the general public. He believes that the spirit of collaboration is the only way to push for mass adoption. This move is the reason why we currently enjoy such an advanced version of the internet.
Berners-Lee looked back and shared, “The process of bringing this NFT to auction has offered me the opportunity to look back in time to the moment I first sat down to write this code thirty years ago, and reflect on how far the web has come since then, and where it could go in the decades to come.