Inventor bernerslee to original code nft

inventor bernerslee to original code nft

As Ars Technica points out, there’s a very early copy of the source code available on the web today (which Sotheby’s says is similar to the code being sold in the NFT, but not the original), and it seems difficult to compile according to CERN’s WorldWideWeb site. Even if the buyer got the original browser running, there are likely precious few websites still around that would work well with it.

Arguably, the web as we know it was made possible by the fact that Berners-Lee decided not to patent or charge for use of his idea, letting anyone with the technical know-how (and computer resources) design their own website. It’s easy to see, then, why some would find creating an exclusive NFT out of it as a bit of an odd choice for Tim Berners-Lee, on top of the environmental concerns around the tech.

NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one-of-a-kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.

NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs.

If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.

The NFT’s buyer may have trouble actually running the very first version of WorldWideWeb.


June 2021 letter from Berners-Lee “reflecting upon the code and his process of creating it.” All four elements are digitally signed. Proceeds from the $5,434,500 sale will benefit initiatives supported by the web inventor and his wife, Rosemary Leith.

“The process of bringing this NFT to auction has offered me the opportunity to look back in time to the moment I first sat down to write this code 30 years ago, and reflect on how far the web has come since then, and where it could go in the decades to come,” Berners-Lee said in a statement(Opens in a new window) thanking the Sotheby’s auction house and Crypto Community for their “help and support.”

Tweet(Opens in a new window)

Berners-Lee’s vision of a global hyperlinked information system came to fruition in the early ’90s, when he wrote the first web browser, released to research institutions and the general public in 1991.


Eight years after that gigantic sensational news that rocked the world, Edward Snowden again made it to the news screen by selling the ‘Stay Free’ NFT for nearly US$ 5.4 million.

One of the top 20 most expensive NFTs ever sold contains Edward Snowden’s portrait etched against the landmark court rulings where it said that the NSA did implement mass surveillance violations using its power.

13) This Changed Everything NFT: Sold For US$ 5.4 Million

This Changed Everything actually symbolized the creation of the internet through an NFT which contained an artistic view of the source code of one of the earliest or initial versions of the World Wide Web.

While working at Europe’s physics research centre CERN in 1989, Berners-Lee laid out his vision for what he initially called “Mesh”.

His boss at the time wrote “vague but exciting” on the cover of Berners-Lee’s 1989 paper “Information Management: A Proposal”.

Berners-Lee in 1990 was building an application he called “WorldWideWeb”.

It was originally developed in Objective C programming language on a NeXT computer, founded by Apple founder Steve Jobs after his ouster from Apple.

“Sir Tim’s invention created a new world, democratizing the sharing of information, creating new ways of thinking and interacting, and staying connected to one another,” said Cassandra Hatton, global head of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s.

“Over the past several centuries humankind has seen a succession of paradigm shifts that have brought us forward into the modern era …


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,” Berners-Lee said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: This beginner-friendly guide will teach you all about NFTs

The sale, which opens on June 23, will start at $1,000, but given that high-profile NFTs are often sold for millions, Berners-Lee’s WWW NFT could easily reach a much higher price.

According to Sotheby’s, the proceeds for the sale will benefit initiatives that Berners Lee and his wife, Lady Rosemary Leith Berners-Lee, support.

Berners-Lee never patented his inventions of the world wide web and the first browser, releasing the source code for free instead.

“Why an NFT? Well, it’s a natural thing to do when you’re a computer scientist and when you write code and have been for many years,” said Sir Tim in press material issued by Sotheby’s auction house. “They are the ideal way to package the origins behind the web.”

The NFT for a digital-only artwork by Beeple sold for $69 million in March this year. The blockchain-based tokens, which imply ownership but not necessarily copyright, have become controversial due to their environmental impact. Sotheby’s claims the “carbon footprint of this NFT is negligible” because it will pay for a carbon offset for the minting and transaction costs of the sale.

Should you wish to own a piece of internet history, the auction will run from June 23-30, with an opening bid of $1,000.

Wide Web, sir Tim Berners-Lee is auctioning off his original code as an NFT. As reported by BBC News, this will allow any budding internet historians or crypto investors the chance to own a genuine piece of tech history.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist who was working at CERN in Switzerland in 1989, coded the first web browser and web server on a NeXTcube. It was released to the public in 1991. Berners-Lee never tried to make money from his creation, refusing to patent it, CERN put the rights to the technology into the public domain in 1993.

The historically significant code, all 10,000 lines of it, is being sold by Sotheby’s in four lots, which include “the original time-stamped files” of the first web browser’s source code, “an animated visualisation” of that code, a letter from Sir Tim about the process, and a “digital poster” of the code created by him.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester was bought by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for $US30.8m in 1994.

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

Berners-Lee first outlined his idea for the web in a memo in 1989, but he did not begin writing the code that implemented it until September 1990.

The package being auctioned includes Berners-Lee’s original archive of time-stamped files for the WorldWideWeb browser, a 30-minute animation and digital “poster” of the code, and a letter explaining the background to his invention.

Bidding runs from June 23-30 and starts at $US1000.

Meanwhile, Christie’s is to auction artwork by 18-year-old trans artist FEWOCiOUS in the form of NFTs.

Several “CryptoPunks”, pixelated portraits that form one of the first series of NFTs, have sold for multimillion-dollar sums, the most recent going for a record $US11.8m in a Sotheby’s auction just last week.

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

After artists including Damien Hirst and musicians such as Grimes have experimented with NFTs, Sotheby’s is presenting its auction of Berners-Lee’s code as among the first to offer crypto collectors a historical artefact. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $US2.9m in March.

In more traditional auctions, handwritten manuscripts by Alan Turing and Albert Einstein have sold for more than $US1m.

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