Tim Berners-Lee sells original www source code as nft

If you want to be part of internet history, you can create a very popular website, or hope your meme goes viral, but there is also an easier method. You will soon be able to literally buy the web, because the first source code is being auctioned as nft.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, is auctioning off the original code he used to create the web in 1989 as a non-fungible token. This is a recent development within blockchain technology in which digital works with a timestamp and cryptographic signature are stored on the blockchain. This allows an artist or programmer to claim his digital work as property, but that timestamp also makes it possible to resell the work as a so-called nft. Now Berners-Lee is doing just that with the code used to create the first web browser.

The code will be auctioned from June 23 at auction house Sotheby’s. That has already sold other NFTs and sees a lot of benefit in the technology. The price for Berners-Lees code starts at a thousand dollars, but the price is expected to rise considerably. The lot will be named This Changed Everything. It is a reference to the importance of the Internet, which Sotheby’s sense of drama aligns with Galileo’s proof that the Earth revolves around the sun, Gutenberg’s letterpress machine, and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

The lot consists of four pieces. These are the original files from the first WorldWideWeb application to create and link to web files, written between October 3, 1990 and August 24, 1991. The code consists of 9555 lines and contains the first forms of HTML and HTTP, and URIs. Also included is the original readme file for the first users. Buyers also receive a 30-minute animation video in which the code is written, and an svg with the code on it. Finally, Berners-Lee has written a new readme detailing how he now and then thinks and feels about the browser’s code and design.

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