Trendy as it is, none of us fully comprehend the NFT world. We sure as hell try to act like it, believing that by knowing what the acronym stands for and the most expensive works sold so far, occasionally throwing in the world 'bubble', we can appear well-informed, current and more importantly, a cultured modern individual.
Well kid, the jig's up. But don't worry about it, this particular NFT is highly-relatable, and frankly, quite enticing. The very source code for the World Wide Web invented by British Computer Scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee will be offered for sale directly by the man himself. This Changed Everything marks the first historical artefact of the legendary moment to be sold. It is also a landmark purchase as what will be Sotheby's first digital-born artefact to be auctioned.
Stats for nerds
Completely unique on the Ethereum blockchain, the NFT is composed of four elements—the original time-stamped files containing the source code written by Sir Tim; an animated visualization of the code; a letter written by Sir Tim reflecting on the code and the process of creating it ; as well as a digital “poster” of the full code created by Sir Tim from the original files using Python including a graphic of his physical signature—all digitally signed.
The files referenced by the NFT contain code with approximately 9,555 lines, whose contents include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Sir Tim that remain fundamental to the World Wide Web today; HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), as well as original HTML documents that instructed early web users on how to use the application.
This Changed Everything
“Why an NFT? Well, it's a natural thing to do as when you're a computer scientist and when you
write code and have been for many years. It feels right to digitally sign my autograph on a completely digital artefact," says Sir Tim Berners-Lee. “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. 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. NFTs, 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.”
A little piece of history
As a platform that pretty much unites us all and gave millennials an excuse of a personality trait, the “WorldWideWeb” was actually an application and the first hypermedia browser allowing users to create and navigate links between files across a network of computers.
Another fun fact: It was written using the Interface Builder on a NeXT computer. The computer designed by the late Steve Jobs during the time he was forced out of Apple in 1985 (he later rejoined in 1997). There are now over 1.7 billion websites accessed by 4.6 billion people worldwide.
The sale will open from 23 – 30 June, with bidding starting at USD1,000. The sale will benefit initiatives that Sir Tim and Lady Berners-Lee support.