Tim Berners-Lee is to auction the World Wide Web’s source code off as an NFT, starting this 23 June 2021

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee is set to auction its source code with renowned British auction house Sotheby’s

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is now auctioning its source code

32 years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, creating a tool that forever changed the way we store and process information. Soon, the World Wide Web’s source code will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s as its very first digital-born artefact. It is also the first historical artefact relating to this landmark moment to ever be sold. By doing so, Sir Tim hopes that people will come to reflect on the bare bones of the architecture of the web’s creation.

Needless to say, this NFT is one-of-a-kind and exists on the ethereum blockchain. It will also comprise of four elements: the original time-stamped files containing the source code written by Sir Tim, an animated visualisation of the code, a letter written by him reflecting on the code and the process of creating it, and a digital “poster” of the full code created from the original files, using Python. All four elements will be digitally signed; the “poster” will also contain a graphic of Sir Tim’s physical signature. The files referenced by the NFT include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Sir Tim that still remain fundamental to the World Wide Web today, amongst other historical artefacts.

The World Wide Web has since become the platform for innovation and change in the 32 years since Sir Tim invented it, so it seems somewhat fitting that the source code is being auctioned as an NFT. Sure enough, it almost feels as if his work has come full circle.

Bidding will start at US$1,000 (S$1,342), and all proceeds from the sale will go towards initiatives supported by Sir Tim and Lady Berners-Lee. The auction will run from 23 to 30 June 2021