Auction at Sotheby’s www source code will be auctioned
Status: 23.06.2021 12:35 p.m.
It is basically the founding document of the World Wide Web: 9550 lines of programming code. Now the original files of the inventor Tim Berners-Lee come under the hammer.
From Peter Mücke, ARD Studio New York
“This changed everything” is what Sotheby’s calls the auction quite immodestly. Which, for once, shouldn’t be an exaggeration – because who would deny that the World Wide Web has actually changed almost everything. Even if its inventor Tim Berners-Lee was probably not aware of this when he presented his proposal for a system for the exchange of information on March 12, 1989.
It started at CERN
At that time, the British computer scientist was working at the European nuclear research center CERN and had the problem that parts of the laboratories are located on Swiss territory and other parts on French territory. Because the two countries had different network infrastructures, he developed a system that was supposed to facilitate the exchange of information across borders. This original programming code comprises 9550 lines and has since dictated the basic structures of the Internet: the page description language HTML and the transfer protocol HTTP and the identifier URI. A revolution – not just for the scientific world for which the project was actually intended.
Invented the Internet code: the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. Image: picture alliance / dpa
Digital collector’s item
Even if the code has long been “open source” – that is, freely accessible to everyone – it is now going under the hammer: the original files, provided with a time stamp and a signature from Berners-Lee, together with a digital poster that visualizes the source code and a letter from the scientist from 1989 in which he describes his project. Everything is conveniently packed in a so-called NFT – a “non-fungible token”. This is a kind of digital certificate of authenticity that is stored on a so-called blockchain. It should prove that the virtual object is unique – even if any number of digital copies can exist. The collector’s item of the digital age, so to speak.
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Minimum bid $ 1000
As a computer scientist, it is only logical to auction his invention as such an NFT, says Berners-Lee. It feels right to put your signature under an all-digital artifact. The online auction lasts a week and starts with a minimum bid of $ 1000. The proceeds will go to a foundation.
After the auction houses had long blocked the auctioning of such NFTs, they have been doing this for some time good sales with digital art . Most recently, the auction of works by crypto artist Pak at Sotheby’s raised $ 17 million. At Christie’s, an NFT of a collage by digital artist Beeple changed hands for just under $ 70 million