Sotheby’s Auctions bought the Web’s source codes for $5.4 Million on Wednesday, 32 years after Tim Berners Lee, an English computer scientist. It was, naturally, in the form of an NFT (nonfungible token).
Sotheby reports that the source code used to create the Web was sold anonymously. The NFT was open to 51 bidders.
Berners-Lee declared that NFTs (artifacts and digital artifacts) are the newest playful creations in the realm of the Web. He also stated that they were the most appropriate way to own them. “They are the best way to package and display the origins of Web.”
Sotheby’s auction, “This changed all,” was held from June 23-30. Bidding started at $1,000. The global marketplace for art collectibles founded in Britain recently added digital collectibles like NFTs to their offerings. The $5.4million shared with Tim Berners Lee’s Open Source Technology Solid initiative.
NFTs are quickly becoming an option for digital community members to build a virtual museum and record historic moments online. It includes the sale for $4 million of the Doge meme NFT, the $2.9 million purchase by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey of an NFT of his first Twitter tweet, or the sale for Itzel Yard of an NFT art created from the key of Tor Browser. Itzel Yard is the most-sold female NFT artist.
Gauthier Zuppinger was the co-founder and chief executive of nonfungible.com. This database tracks the sales of NFTs, crypto-collectibles, and other information. He compared the source code with CryptoPunks (one of the first nonfungible tokens created on the Ethereum blockchain). Zuppinger believes that the NFT’s astronomical bidding price is due to the uniqueness of the code and its immense role in creating the digital universe.
What does the anonymous buyer get? It does not receive special usage rights since the source code for the Web is available in the public domain ever since CERN’s 1991 release of the global web code library.
The NFT is home to a multitude of technical tidbits and gemstones about the history of the Web. The original, time-stamped files which contain the code, written between August 1991 and October 1990, are included in the four elements. The Objective-C programming language’s 9,555 lines depict the three inventions of the physicist-turned-software-engineer HTML (Hypertext Markup Technology); HTTP (Hyper Transfer Protocol); URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). Berners-Lee will send a letter to the buyer with an animated visualization and a digital poster containing the code.
Berners-Lee said that “As people seem to like to appreciate autographed copies of books, we now have NFT technology.”
Berners-Lee is the man behind Web. However, he also serves as the director of the World Wide Web Consortium. This consortium oversees web development. Inrupt’s co-founder and chief tech officer, Berners-Lee, is working to improve open source technology called Solid to realize his original vision for the Web as a shared space for information for all.
Expert in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Dr. Merav Ozair, Rutgers Business School’s fintech faculty member, had compared the NFT sale of World Wide Web source codes to when America’s founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. The difference is that the code that created the internet also changed how the world functions today.
“This was also historic because he created a program that started everything. It is not just for the U.S.; it’s for all people,” she said.
Ozair said that the auction marked the launch of Web 3.0. It is a web version where cryptocurrency thrives.
The source code of the Web is already available in the public domain. Berners-Lee was the one who fought against CERN officials for this to happen, claims Marc Webber, curator of the internet History program at the Computer History Museum.
“It’s a bit paradoxical. Webber, who has been researching web history since 1995, said that there is an NFT for this open thing.
Webber said that the auction had stimulated curiosity about web-related history. The commodification in computer and technology history may make it challenging to procure digital artifacts for museum curators like Webber, who says NFTs offer lump-sum payouts and a large audience.
Webber states that Berners-Lee was offered multiple chances to cash in on the invention but has always chosen not to do so that the Web remains open to all. Webber says that he knows this is not a ploy to make money.