The source code, written by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, that formed the basis of the World Wide Web is up for auction as NFT.(Reuters, Sotheby's)
The source code, written by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, that formed the basis of the World Wide Web is up for auction as NFT.(Reuters, Sotheby's)

World Wide Web source code, written by Tim Berners-Lee, up for auction as NFT

  • The winning bidder for the World Wide Web source code, tied as NFT, will receive a letter from Tim Berners-Lee “reflecting on the code and the process of creating it.”
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 15, 2021 05:57 PM IST

The original source code that formed the basis of the World Wide Web is up for auction at Sotheby’s as part of a non-fungible token (NFT). Approximately 9,555 lines of source code, written by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, will be tied to an NFT that proves the authenticity of the code and unique ownership, with bids starting at just $1,000.

"Why an NFT? Well, it's a natural thing to do ... when you're a computer scientist and when you write code and have been for many years," Berners-Lee said in a statement. "It feels right to digitally sign my autograph on a completely digital artefact," he added.

The advent of NFT has made it possible to sell a digital-born artefact, allowing to prove that the files on offer are original. The digitally signed Ethereum blockchain NFTs endow digital files with provable scarcity. NFTs are not infinitely reproducible and confer uniqueness onto digital files and make it possible for them to be owned.

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The NFT of World Wide Web source code will contain an original archive of dated and time-stamped files containing the code written between 1990 and 1991. The contents of source code include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Berners-Lee; HTML (Hypertext Markup Language); HTTP (Hyper Transfer Protocol); and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers).

The winning bidder will receive a letter from Berners-Lee “reflecting on the code and the process of creating it,” along with an animated visualization of the code being written, lasting 30 minutes 25 seconds.

In a letter accompanying the files to be auctioned, Tim Berners-Lee noted that it has been fun to look over the code and see how those relatively few lines of code stayed enough on track to become the current form of web. “ I have never once felt I could relax and sit back -- as the web was and is constantly changing. It is not yet the best it can be: there is always work to be done!” he added, according to Sotheby’s.

The bidding will open on June 23, 2021, and will close at 11:31pm (IST), June 30, 2021.

(With agency inputs)

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