Source code for World Wide Web being auctioned as NFT
After memes and songs, it's the turn of the World Wide Web to be auctioned off as a non-fungible token or NFT. That doesn't mean the internet—which, in all practical terms, is controlled by Google—is being sold off, but rather the 9,500 lines of code constituting its original source code. Auction house Sotheby's announced the sale of iconic code on June 15.
The original source code was written by English computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. The "lot" put on sale by Sotheby's includes "the original, time-stamped code files written by Berners-Lee; an animated visualization of the code; a digital 'poster' of the full code created by him; and a letter written by him reflecting on the code today."
Most NFTs are maintained by Ethereum blockchain, which is an incorruptible digital ledger verifying ownership. A good example being the $69.3 million sale of Beeple's Everydays artwork, which is essentially a JPEG image. In most NFT sales, buyers just get the ownership of a certified digital copy, and don't own the copyrights or even royalties generated through sales of the digital items.
The auction is slated to run from June 23 through June 30, with moderation provided by Cassandra Hatton, who heads Sotheby's Science & Popular Culture wing. Within the 9,500 lines of code underpinning the foundation of the World Wide Web lie the original languages and protocols that have shaped the internet as we know it—HTML, HTTP and URL.
Tim Berners-Lee is credited for inventing the WWW in 1989 by drafting these protocols and languages that laid the foundation of the modern internet. Sotheby's deems this as a means to "look into the bare bones of the architecture of the web's creation." The bidding for this NFT starts at $1,000, with proceeds going to initiatives chosen by Sir Tim and Lady Berners-Lee.