Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Just last month, auction house Sotheby's sold a non-fungible token created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee for a staggering $5,434,500 from a starting bid of just $1,000.

The lot included an animated version of Berners-Lee's nearly 10,000 lines of code and a letter from the British-born computer scientist himself. You can view the animated code here:

From the Sotheby's website:

"Work includes:

  • Original archive of dated and time-stamped files containing the source code, written between 3 October 1990 and 24 August 1991. These files contain code with approximately 9,555 lines, the contents of which include implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Sir Tim; HTML (Hypertext Markup Language); HTTP (Hyper Transfer Protocol); and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), as well as the original HTML documents that instructed early web users on how to use the application
  • Animated visualization of the code being written (Video, black & white, silent), lasting 30 minutes 25 seconds
  • A Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) representation of the full code (A0 841mm wide by 1189 mm high), created by Sir Tim from the original files using Python, with a graphic representation of his physical signature at lower right
  • A letter written in the file (in "markdown" format) by Sir Tim in June of 2021, reflecting upon the code and his process of creating it

Non-fungible Token ERC-721M

Minted on June 15, 2021, ed. 1/1

Smart Contract Address: 0x86ade256037d80d6d42df8df96d5be21cd25bd8f"

"The process of bringing this NFT to auction has offered me the opportunity to look back in time to the moment I first sat down to write this code thirty years ago, and reflect on how far the web has come since then," said Berners-Lee in a statement after the sale. "I am thrilled that the initiatives Ro­semary and I support will benefit from the sale of this NFT."

Cassandra Hatton, global head of science and popular culture at Sotheby's said: "Sir Tim's invention created a new world, democratizing the sharing of information, creating new ways of thinking and interacting, and staying connected to one another."