Tim Berners-Lee’s source code for the World Wide Web, the latest non-fungible token (NFT), has soared to $2.8 million from an opening price of $1,000 which started on June 23. The lot includes an animated version of Berners-Lee’s nearly 10,000 lines of code and a letter from the British-born computer scientist himself.
Cassandra Hatton, vice-president at Sotheby’s, said that ten years ago, they wouldn’t have been able to do this. He highlighted that the work is unique because of its importance for the creation of the World Wide Web. “That changed every aspect of your life. We don’t even fully comprehend the impact that it has on our lives, and the impact that we will continue to have on our lives.”
NFTs currently generate several hundred million dollars in transactions every month, with exchanges taking place in cryptocurrencies on specialist sites but traditional auction houses are seeking to capitalize on the phenomenon.
Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist, invented the World Wide Web in 1989, revolutionizing the sharing and creation of information in what is seen as one of the most significant inventions since the printing press appeared in Europe in 15th century Germany. He told The Guardian that this is totally aligned with the values of the web. “The questions I have got, they said: ‘Oh, that doesn’t sound like the free and open web.’ Well, wait a minute, the web is just as free and just as open as it always was. The core codes and protocols on the web are royalty free, just as they always have been. I am not selling the web – you won’t have to start paying money to follow links,” he said.
“I am not even selling the source code. I am selling a picture that I made, with a Python programme that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck on the wall and signed by me. If they felt that me selling an NFT of a poster is inappropriate, then what about me selling a book? I do things like that, which involve money, but the free and open web is still free and open. And we do still, every now and again, have to fight to keep it free and open, fight for net neutrality and so on.”
Furthermore, this is the first time Berners-Lee has openly embraced the cryptocurrency community, the underlying technology has much that appeals about it.