There have already been a few high-profile pieces of internet history sold as non-fungible tokens, but you’ll soon have a chance at one of the most important pieces of them all. As BBC News and the Financial Times report, internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee is planning to auction the World Wide Web’s original source code as an NFT. The Sotheby’s-run auction will include almost 10,000 lines of code (including HTML, HTTP and URI), original explanatory web pages, a visualization of the code, a letter from Berners-Lee discussing the significance and a code “poster” built with Python.
Bidding will start at $1,000 when the auction begins on June 23rd at 2PM Eastern, although we’d expect a much, much higher final bid by the time the auction wraps on June 30th. The sale will fund causes Berners-Lee and his wife support.
It’s an unusual move for Berners-Lee, who famously refused to patent web technology and has long been an advocate of giving internet users more control. The code was released into the public domain decades ago. NFTs are also notorious for their impact on the environment due to the computational demands of the blockchain.
Berners-Lee told Sotheby’s that he felt NFTs were the “most appropriate means” of owning digital creations, however. The auction house also said it would pay for a carbon offset to minimize the impact. You might not feel too guilty for participating in the bidding war, then, even if the sale isn’t quite what you’d expect from a proponent of the open internet.
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