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News Report

World Wide Web Source Code NFT Sells at Sotheby’s For $5.43 million

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James

In Brief

  • An NFT of the original World Wide Web source code sold for $5.43 million.
  • The auction is the most recent NFT event hosted by Sotheby's auction house.
  • The winning bidder will receive original time-stamped files written by the internet's inventor, Tim Berners-Lee.
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Sotheby’s NFT auction for the World Wide Web’s original source code has ended with the winner paying $5.43 million to own the piece of history. 

The sale of this unique non-fungible token (NFT) was entitled “This Changed Everything” and was designed to highlight one of the biggest steps forward our society has experienced. The invention of the internet.

While people have mixed feelings about the internet and the information it provides, there is no denying it is one of the significant inventions the human race has ever seen. 

Opening bids for the collection started at a reasonable $1,000 and most had no idea how high the price could reach. Things were pretty calm the first week or so of the auction but, on Monday, with just two days left, bids soared to $2.8 million as bidders battled with their wallets. 

The fact that the auction was to benefit charities did help a lot, but the winning bid of $5.43 million was still a shock to many. As of now, it is unknown who the winning bidder is. 

WWW NFT is a significant piece of history

The NFT up for action contained the original time-stamped files written by its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee back in 1989 while working at CERN Labs. The company passed on Berners-Lee’s idea because it was deemed too vague to move forward with. Despite being passed over by CERN, Berners-Lee remained optimistic and wrote the implementation of three languages and protocols himself. When all was said and done, 9,555 lines of code that would become the internet. 

Those 9,555 lines of code are what make up the main part of the NFT sale. The files will all be accessible to the buyer now, whoever they might be. Included are the origins of HTML, HTTP, and URIs along with HTML documents that were written as the first owner’s manual for the worldwide web. The NFT collection also contains an hour-long video made by graphic designers that shows the code actually being written by Berners-Lee.

Rounding out the collection is a letter from Berners-Lee in which the inventor reflects on his process for creating the code. The success of the sale marks the first time Berners-Lee has ever been able to make a profit from his incredible invention.


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