Funny how famous hyperlink Sir Tim Berners-Lee is in NFTs, glorified hyperlinks • The Register


Updated Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee is auctioning a link to his very first World Wide Web browser and the source code of his server in the form of a non-fungible token.

Yes, another NFT. These are tokens that are embedded in a blockchain, and can be sold for millions and traded between traders. Buyers really don’t get much. Typically, the data they paid for isn’t actually stored on a blockchain, they are simply given a token, and the tokens include a link to the material they represent that anyone can see and access. This is a receipt stored in an add-only database. You basically brag about things that are public.

And in the case of Sir Tim’s code, it’s definitely public: you can find at least his first WWW browser code here for free, the web server code here for free, and the first website he created at CERN recreated here. free.

Like all modes, the value of NFTs has increased and decreased. They peaked in March when digital artist Beeple sold what is, essentially, a link to a giant JPEG as NFT for $ 69 million in cryptocurrency… albeit to an NFT fund manager. . The craze seems to have died down, however. No NFT has managed to recover so many since.

Still, Sir Tim is ready to give him a volley kick. He sells a link to code he wrote on a NeXT computer that became the backbone of the web as we know it today (see links above). The source was written between October 3, 1990 and August 24, 1991 in Objective C, and it totals some 9,000 lines of code. It contains its implementations of HTML, HTTP, URI, etc., which laid the foundation for today’s web. And, snark aside, as an internet publication we appreciate this contribution to the world.

But that’s not all. The buyer will also have the right to brag about a black and white video [what, this one, for free? – ed.] stream the code line by line – which, let’s note, contains many typos due to encoding angular brackets in ObjC code in HTML – and a snapshot of the entire codebase in SVG, and and finally a README note written by Sir Tim.

Sotheby’s will be hosting the auction, offers are open now and start from $ 1,000. The auction will end on June 30.

“Sir Tim has thought about the web for the past 30 years, both good and bad,” said Mitzi Mina, director of Sotheby’s London press office. The register. “It allows us to celebrate creation while reflecting on the past, present and future of the Web. Sir Tim sees this as similar to selling an autograph copy of a book. “

Sir Tim appears to be a fan of NFTs and blockchain technology in general. He praised them as a way to “avoid central control,” according to the Financial Times. The money from the sale of the source code link will go to “initiatives that Sir Tim and Lady Rosemary Leith Berners-Lee support”, we are told. It is therefore essentially a charity auction.

“Three decades ago, I created something which, with the subsequent help of a large number of collaborators around the world, has been a powerful tool for humanity,” he said in a statement to the press.

“For me, the best of the web has been the spirit of collaboration. While I do not make predictions about the future, I sincerely hope that its use, knowledge and potential will remain open and available to all of us for. continue to innovate, create and initiate the next technological transformation, which we cannot yet imagine.

“NFTs, whether it’s artwork or a digital artifact like this, are the latest playful creations in this field and the most appropriate means of ownership there is. They are the perfect way to pack the origins of the web. “®

Updated to add

On June 30, the NFT was sold for $ 5,434,500 and will be donated.


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