The beginning of the internet is now an NFT. Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web inventor, is auctioning off his source code as an NFT. Sotheby’s will run the “This Changed Everything” auction from June 23-30.
The Beginning of the Information Age
The World Wide Web or simply Web is the information system that allows us to navigate webpages identified by URLs and accessible over the internet. Simply put, the Web is the primary tool billions of people use to interact on the Internet. Hence, it is one of the 20th Century’s Greatest inventions.
The 9,555 lines of source code tied to an NFT contains the original time-stamped files written by Berners-Lee. The code comprises elements of the web that many of us are familiar with today. For example, it includes functions to parse and display HTML documents, rudimentary styling support, the HTTP protocol, and even the ability to print a webpage. It also includes the HTML documents that served as the original owner’s manual for the world wide web.
The winning bidder will also receive memorabilia and digital art. The memorabilia will be a letter from Berners-Lee where the inventor will narrate a reflection on the code and the process of creating it. Additionally, the new owner will receive a 30-minute video made by a graphic designer that shows the code being written. Lastly, the NFT comes with a digital poster that contains each of the 9,555 lines of code and Berners-Lee’s handwritten signature.
Source Code NFT
This NFT Sale will be the first time that Berners-Lee will directly profit off his invention.
Berners-Lee never patented his invention. As a result, anyone with technical skills could use his idea and design their website. In fact, he immediately released the codes to research institutions and the public. This is why by 1994, barely five years after the invention, websites for general use are already available and mass adoption already kicked in.
“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,” said Berners-Lee. “For me, the best bit about the web has been the spirit of collaboration. 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.”
Why NFT is the Way to Go
There was a time when NFTs were synonymous with digital art and collectibles. The industry is well past that, thanks to the intrinsic utility of NFTs to prove authenticity, scarcity and fungibility. Nowadays, NFTs can represent stars, properties, financial products and even equity.
Berners-Lee sums it up, “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.”
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