Berners-Lee web inventor at the auction of the original code as NFT

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is auctioning off his original source code for the web in the form of a “Non-fungible token”, as digital collectors continue to take millions of dollars despite recent sales in cryptocurrencies.

The auction at Sotheby’s will be the first time that Berners-Lee he has been able to raise money directly from one of the greatest inventions of the modern era, with the profit taking advantage of initiatives that he and his wife Rosemary support.

“The idea is that anyone could like a digitally signed version of the code, a bit like many people have asked for physically autographed copies of the book,” Berners-Lee said.

Bandits hope that the unique digital artifact will generate interest in NFTs beyond their own puntellu of works of art, games and sports memorabilia. Investment in NFT has declined since the March record $ 69.3m sale of Beeple’s “Every Day: The First 5000 Days.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Berners-Lee, 66, said the auction was an “opportunity to look back … 30 years after the initial code, which was very, very simple, for the state. [of the web] now, that has some wonderfully simple aspects but it also has a lot of problems of various kinds. ”

Unlike the founders of Google, Facebook and Amazon, who have earned huge wealth through the web, Berners-Lee is not a billionaire.

The source code behind the world wide web and its first browser, which were conceived and coded by Berners-Lee between 1989 and 1991, was never patented. Instead, it was released free into the public domain by Cern, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland where the British scientist worked at the time.

The move has allowed a widespread adoption of a technology now used by more than 4 billion people every day. But for potential archivists and collectors, too complicated the idea of ​​authenticating Berners-Lee’s original work.

“The fantastic thing about NFT we can create this digital source document, demonstrating the authenticity that comes from the creator, ”said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global leader in science and popular culture.“ This will become the point of reference for everyone else. It’s really the most suitable digital birth device, quintessentially ”for an NFT auction, he added.

Tim Berners-Lee at Cern in the early 1990s. He first explained his idea for the web in a note in 1989 and began writing the code that implemented it in September 1990.

While Berners-Lee said the NFT project was his “first foray into crypto,” he sees similarities in his original vision for the web and the philosophy behind the decentralized network of the ether blockchain, which supports most of the NFT. Chimes also with its latest project, Solid, which is intended to give individuals control over their personal data.

“The blockchain and Solid communities share motivations for empowering people,” Berners-Lee said, adding that many blockchain projects are motivated by “avoiding central control”.

He originally conceived of the web as a collection of personal pages that link to each other, rather than being dominated by a handful of giant corporations. “It had to be empowering individually,” he said.

He fears that online monopolies “automatically hinder innovation” and sees a “huge reaction” among site users who are worried that their data is accustomed to manipulate the elect.

Today, Berners-Lee serves as head of technology at Inrupt, that is develop commercial applications based on its Solid framework. The technology is being piloted by the Flemish government and parts of the NHS, among others. Inrupt is now beginning its “first serious series” of fundraising, Berners-Lee said.

“We will not be able to make a better world without technological and political changes,” he said, “but fortunately, they are happening at the same time.”

Nearly $ 650 million in ether has been spent on digital artwork as well NFT to date, according to Cryptoart data, which tracks trading volumes. Many “CryptoPunks,” pixelated photos that form one of NFT’s first series, have sold for multimillion-dollar sums, the most recent going for a record $ 11.8 million in a sale at the Sotheby’s auction last week.

However, NFT volumes fell month-on-month in April and again in May, according to Cryptoart, alongside a wider sale in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Then artists included Damien Hirst and musicians like Grimes have experimented with NFT, Sotheby’s presents its auction sale of the Berners-Lee code as one of the first to offer crypto collectors a historic artifact. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $ 2.9m in March.

On sale at the most traditional auction, manuscripts by Alan Turing and Albert Einstein have sold for more than $ 1m. Leonardo da Vinci Codex Leicester it was bought by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for $ 30.8 million in 1994.

Hatton said Berners-Lee’s winning NFT bidder “will be able to own what would be analogous to the manuscript” for the web.

Berners-Lee first explained his idea for the web in a note in 1989, but did not begin writing the code that put it into effect until September 1990.

The package put up for auction includes Berners-Lee’s original archive of printed files for the WorldWideWeb browser, a 30-minute animation and a digital “poster” of the code, and a letter explaining the background of his invention.

The offer runs from June 23 to 30 and starts at $ 1000.

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