British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the original source code for the World Wide Web, is making the data part of a nonfungible token (NFT) through luxury auction house Sotheby’s.
According to a Tuesday announcement from Sotheby’s, the auction house will be putting up the World Wide Web NFT for bids starting on June 23. Bidding for the NFT, named “This Changed Everything” and containing time-stamped documentation of the code, will start at $1,000.
First created in 1989 before there were web browsers, Amazon, or even shareable memes, the roughly 10,000 lines of code — written using Python — includes implementations of the HTML, HTTP and URI languages and protocols. The computer scientist has also included a letter explaining how he created the code and his signature.
“NFTs, be they artworks or a digital artefact like this, are the latest playful creations in [the realm of technological transformation], and the most appropriate means of ownership that exists,” said Berners-Lee. “They are the ideal way to package the origins behind the web.”
Berners-Lee never patented the WWW source code, choosing instead to make it free for all. Perhaps as a result, current estimates put the computer scientist’s net worth at roughly $10 million, rather than what could have potentially been in the trillions or quadrillions. According to Sotheby's, all the proceeds for the NFT sale will benefit initiatives that Berners-Lee and his wife support.
Sotheby’s is seemingly becoming more well known for high-profile NFT auctions. In March, the auction house announced it would be offering tokenized art by a creator known as Pak. Last week, its London salesroom sold a CryptoPunk for $11.8 million, reportedly a world record for the type of artwork.