Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the Internet, is selling the source code of the original World Wide Web browser as a non-fungible token (NFT) in a historic one-off sale at Sotheby’s, the auction house has announced. The auction will include not just the original code written by the British computer scientist but also three other elements: a letter from him reflecting his thoughts on the Internet today, a digital poster (vector file), and a 30-minute black-and-white animated video depicting the code being written. The money received from the auction will go to the causes supported by Berners-Lee and his wife.

An NFT is a form of digital certificate of authenticity for the owner of an item. It does not necessarily include copyright control and has been widely criticised to be bad for the environment. But many people also support it as a great innovation that allowed digital art and other collectibles to be monetised.

In a statement, Sotheby’s said that the auction is to be held from June 23 to June 30, with an opening bid of $1,000 (roughly Rs. 73,300).

“For me, the best bit about the Web has been the spirit of collaboration. 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,” Berners-Lee said.

When Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (WWW) while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, it was originally conceived and developed for automated information-sharing between scientists at universities and research organisations around the world. Later, CERN relinquished its rights over the technology in 1993. Since then, the Web has remained an open standard.


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