In a move that has really come full-circle, you can now buy the original source code for the world wide web as an NFT.
When Sir Tim Berners-Lee first birthed the internet back on January 1, 1983, he probably didn’t expect to be selling the original source code on whatever the heck a “blockchain” is in exchange for a weird, decentralised currency known as Ethereum.
Berners-Lee will be selling the original source code as an art piece entitled This Changed Everything through a Sotheby’s auction from June 23-30.
The starting price will begin at $US1,000 ($1,300.90) with the proceeds benefiting charities and initiatives that Berners-Lee and his wife support. There is no estimated selling price, but it’s expected that the important piece of digital history will sell for considerably more than $1,300.
The single-edition NFT will consist of four digital artefacts including the original timestamped files containing the source code for the internet we use today, an animated visualisation of said code being written, a digital poster of the full code, and a letter penned by Berners-Lee himself.
“Three decades ago, I created something which, with the subsequent help of a huge number of collaborators across the world, has been a powerful tool for humanity,” Berners-Lee said.
“While I do not make predictions about the future, I sincerely hope its use, knowledge and potential will remain open and available to us all to continue to innovate, create and initiate the next technological transformation, that we cannot yet imagine. NFTs (non-fungible tokens), be they artworks or a digital artefact like this, are the latest playful creations in this realm, and the most appropriate means of ownership that exists. They are the ideal way to package the origins behind the web.”
Selling the original internet source code as an NFT just makes sense, really. NFTs have changed the game when it comes to preserving and collecting digital artefacts, and what is more significant than the source code in which it was all built?
“This is so new, so unusual, and the ability to offer a digital-born artefact is a paradigm shift within the rare books and manuscripts world,” Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head, science and pop culture said in a press statement.
“For years, people have been asking ‘what do we do with digital-born artefacts?’ NFTs are making this possible.”
“It’s a digital, intangible artefact. If we had a physical manuscript, he could just sign it, and hand it off. The NFT is serving to authenticate that this is the manuscript and not a copy. There’s only one original. And that’s what we’re offering – and anything else would be a copy.”
The news comes as many have begun to speculate that the NFT bubble could be bursting as weekly sales plummeted from $176 million on May 9 to just $8.7 million on June 15, according to NonFungible data.