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Phil Hall
Phil Hall
Jun 15, 2021

Sotheby's to Auction Internet Source Code as NFT

Auction house Sotheby's will put the original source code of the world wide web by Tim Berners-Lee under the hammer as an NFT.
Sotheby's to Auction Internet Source Code as NFT

Auction house Sotheby's will put the original source code of the world wide web under the hammer as an NFT, as they teamed up with British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The unique NFT will be a bundle of four different elements, including the original, time-stamped code files written by Berners-Lee.

According to the official tweets, the internet source code NFT consists of four different elements. First there are the original, time-stamped code files written by Sir Tim. There's also an animated visualization of the source code. Furthermore, there will be a digital artwork of the complete source code. Finally there will be a letter by Berners-Lee reflecting on the code today.

The lines of code referenced by the NFT include three software languages crucial for the web today. These include Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). As a cherry on the pie, the original documents that taught people how to use the web are included.

“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.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Sotheby's website)

Bidding for the collection and thus the unique NFT will start on June 23rd and end one week later. As Sotheby's put it: This Changed Everything.

Wait, what is an NFT? And what’s NFT art?

Digital art has been around for decades. However, without the existence of blockchain technology it was impossible to verify authenticity and rarity. Now digital art is connected to a token on the blockchain, a non-fungible token or NFT. That way buyers can see how many copies of a certain artwork there are, and whether the product is original. Digital art on the blockchain used to be referred to as crypto art, but NFT art as a name has become increasingly popular.

The concept of seeing a digital image as art, is one thing. However, for many people it will be a challenge to consider digital images valuable. Consider this: The Mona Lisa is worth many millions of dollars. If I would paint the Mona Lisa in an exact copy, it would be worth only 50 dollars. Because we all know where the original version is. Being able to verify the authenticity and rarity of a piece of art is crucial. This applies to NFT art on the blockchain as well.

Some people don’t care about the Mona Lisa. It’s just a painting. They are happy to download an image from Google Images. Then print it on canvas and hang it in their living room. However, others want the real deal. The same rules also go up for digital art. Many people will be happy having a digital image they like, screenshotted on their phone. However, others will value having an original artwork, minted by the actual creator, verifiable through blockchain technology.

Read more to understand non-fungible tokens even better!

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