Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist, established the World Wide Web in 1989, transforming information exchange and production in one of the most significant inventions since the printing press first arrived in Europe in 15th Century Germany.
The original source code, an animated visualisation, a message written by Berners-Lee, and a digital poster of the whole code from the original files are all included in the digitally signed Ethereum blockchain non-fungible token (NFT), a one-of-a-kind digital asset that registers ownership.
In recent months, NFTs have grown in popularity, even at auction. In March, Christie’s sold a digital-only artwork by American artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, for over $70 million.
The files comprise 9,555 lines of code, containing implementations of Berners-three Lee’s developed languages and protocols: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) (Uniform Resource Identifiers).
Original HTML pages that advised early online users on how to use the application are also included.
Berners-Lee was working on an application he termed “WorldWideWeb” in 1990. It was created on a NeXT computer, which was formed by Apple founder Steve Jobs after he was fired from Apple, using the Objective C programming language.
“Sir Tim’s invention ushered in a new era, democratising information sharing, fostering new ways of thinking and communicating, and keeping people connected,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture.
“Over the past several centuries humans has undergone a succession of paradigm breakthroughs that have moved us ahead into the modern era… but none has had the seismic influence on our daily lives as the birth of the World Wide Web.”