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The web’s source code is being auctioned as an NFT by inventor Tim Berners-Lee

On July 25, 2019, Sir Tim Berners-Lee delivers a speech at the Campus Party Italia 2019 in Milan, Italy.

LONDON: Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist and inventor, is auctioning off the original code for the World Wide Web as a non-fungible token.

NFTs are a type of digital asset used to demonstrate ownership of a one-of-a-kind virtual item, such as online photos and videos or even sports trading cards.

Sotheby’s in London will hold an auction for the world wide web NFT titled “This Changed Everything” from June 23-30, with bidding starting at $1,000. Sotheby’s stated that the auction proceeds will benefit initiatives supported by Berners-Lee and his wife.

The NFT contains original time-stamped files containing Berners-source Lee’s code, an animated visualisation of the code, a letter written by Berners-Lee about the code and its creation, and a digital “poster” of the full code. Berners-Lee will digitally sign them all.

It will be the first time Berners-Lee has been able to profit financially from what many consider to be one of the greatest inventions of all time.

“Three decades ago, I created something that has become a powerful tool for humanity with the subsequent help of a huge number of collaborators all over the world,” Berners-Lee said in a statement. “The spirit of collaboration has been the best part of the web for me. While I cannot predict the future, I sincerely hope that its use, knowledge, and potential will remain open and available to all of us in order to continue to innovate, create, and initiate the next technological transformation that we cannot yet imagine.”

He continued, saying: “NFTs, whether they are artworks or digital artefacts like this one, are the most recent playful creations in this realm, as well as the most appropriate form of ownership that exists. They are the ideal way to package the web’s origins.”

According to Cassandra Hatton, global head of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s, the “NFT format” will allow collectors to “own the ultimate digitally-born artefact.”

In March, South Carolina-based graphic designer Beeple, real name Mike Winkelmann, sold an NFT at Christie’s for a record $69 million. Later that month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million.

On Thursday, a rare digital avatar known as a CryptoPunk sold at Sotheby’s for more than $11.7 million. According to Nonfungible, a market research website, total NFT sales reached an eye-watering $2 billion in the first quarter of this year.

However, there are signs that the bubble is about to burst, with digital collectibles sales plummeting dramatically in recent weeks. According to Nonfungible data, overall sales fell from a seven-day high of $176 million on May 9 to just $8.7 million on June 15. This means that volumes are roughly where they were at the start of 2021.

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