In the middle of last month, Tim Berners-Lee, the British engineer who created the World Wide Web (WWW), had put up for auction the original source code which he used to create the set of protocols that we all use every day to connect to the internet. This Thursday, it was finally sold, protected with an NFT: they were paid more than 5.4 million dollars.
NFT, short for non-fungible token, is a blockchain-based technology that guarantees the authenticity of a file in digital format like a work of art, as well as who owns it.
At an auction organized by the Sotheby’s house that began in mid-June and ended this Wednesday, Berners-Lee put up for sale as NFC the original WWW archive, which he developed between October 3, 1990 and August 24, 1991.
Finally, the bid that got the lot was worth $ 5,434,500, as the Sotheby’s auction page explains.
The WWW code, on the Sotheby’s page with the price. Photo Sotheby’s
In total 9,555 lines of code put up for sale, included the implementations of the three languages developed by Berners-Lee: HTML (HyperText Markup Language, the markup language for creating web pages), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).
Along with these files, accompanied by temporary certification, Berners-Lee also put up for sale the set of documents that explained to users how to use the application, considered the first browser in history, as well as a black and white video without sound showing an animation of the code while writing and a letter written by Berners-Lee in 2021.
Tim Berners-Lee and the code of the World Wide Web. Photo Sotheby’s
Berners-Lee defended his decision to sell this code in statements to The Guardian, claiming that its sale is “fully aligned with the values of the web”.
The engineer clarifies that with the auction he is not selling the Web, that it will continue to be “free and free”, as always, since “the central codes and protocols of the web are free of rights.”
The creation of the web
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a British physicist turned computer scientist, devised an information exchange system that would allow scientists to access to data from anywhere in the world.
While working at CERN’s Computing Center (originally the European Council for Nuclear Research, now the European Organization for Nuclear Research) near Geneva, christened the new network the World Wide Web (WWW).
In 1990 and 1991, he wrote the program that created the first Internet browser, laying the practical foundation for today’s web.
One of the first web browsers: Netscape Navigator. Netscape Photo
In the process, he invented the concepts of URL (Internet address), HTTP (which allows you to find a site), and HTML (the standard computer language for creating web pages).
Determined to make the web an open space, Tim Berners-Lee did not patent his program and made it freely available to all, which contributed to its dissemination.
Just over three decades after its invention, it put the original files up for sale from the program as a collector’s item. After the auction, you will receive a portion of the wealth generated, but you plan to donate the entire proceeds to charity.
The bundle included an animated version of those nearly 10,000 lines of code and a letter from the author.
“10 years ago we could not have” make this sale, said Cassandra Hatton.
The advent of “NFT” technology, which creates a digital certificate of ownership that cannot be forged, changed the situation in the eyes of collectors, who now have the assurance that your purchases can be traced.