The source code was sold in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), a kind of crypto asset that records ownership of digital items.
The NFT was created by English scientist Berners-Lee in 2021 and has been owned by various digital elements since its invention from the World Wide Web in 1989.
Certainly, the World Wide Web itself has not been sold. What was sold was a blockchain-based record of ownership of files containing the original source code for the World Wide Web. The final price was $ 5,434,500 and half of the bidders were new to Sotheby’s.
The World Wide Web is the system for navigating and accessing information on the Internet.
The NFT is considered valuable by some because the blockchain authenticates that it is one of a kind and that it was officially created, or “smitten”, by Berners-Lee himself.
“The symbolism, the story, the fact that they come from the creator are what makes them precious – and there are a lot of people who collect things for exactly these reasons,” said Cassandra Hatton, global head of science. and popular culture at Sotheby’s.
“We put it in a public forum, sold it almost unconditionally (auction started at $ 1,000) and let the market decide its value. There were several bidders who all agreed that it was valuable.
The purchase includes NFTs representing approximately 9,555 lines of code written in 1990-91, a 30-minute animated code visualization, a digital code poster and a digital letter written by Berners-Lee in June 2021, reflecting on his invention. .
The letter begins: “As people seemed to enjoy autographed versions of the books we now have NFT technology, I thought it might be fun to make an autographed copy of the original code from the first web browser. “
The sale is the latest in a series of moves by traditional auction houses to embrace blockchain-based assets, which exploded in popularity in early 2021.
In March, an NFT of a digital collage by American artist Beeple sold for $ 69.3 million at Christie’s, in the first sale by a major auction house of a work of art that does not exist physically. Twitter boss Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet in NFT form for $ 2.9 million.