created by british Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, the protocol WWW (World Wide Web) it was the first system to allow browsing between files and links on computers through a data network.
Now, 32 years after the invention that made the modern internet possible, auction house Sotheby’s and Tim Berners-Lee himself have sold as crypto-active a representation of what would be the protocol’s source code, in other words, a kind of certificate proprietary digital that uses the same cryptocurrency logic as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The shot was made last Wednesday (30), for the value of £2.9 million – the equivalent of US$ 5.4 million. Thus, the bidder can consider itself the sole owner of an authentic version of the original internet code.
“Through the centuries, humanity has seen a succession of paradigm shifts that have brought us into the modern era. None have had the seismic impact on our daily lives as the creation of the World Wide Web. Sir Tim’s invention changed everything,” says the auction’s introductory text.
But that doesn’t mean the internet has an owner, explains Sotheby’s under the terms of the auction.
According to the company, the purchase is equivalent to the purchase of “a rare and significant copy of a book, such as the first manuscript edition of The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin. The advent of NFTs [tokens não-fungíveis, na sigla em inglês] made it possible to prove that digital files can also be original”, he informs. The purchaser of the digital asset does not signify any change or restriction on the use of the internet or the protocols that enable communication between computers.
The initial bids started at US$1,000 and earned the so-called father of the internet around R$27 million. The name of the winner was not disclosed, only the content of the lot that was purchased. In addition to a digital poster containing all 9,555 lines of code for the WWW protocol, a 30-minute video of the code being written, a version of the code containing the original line-by-line design times and a letter from the creator of the internet addressed to the bidder .
Non-fungible token technology – a blockchain-based form of digital authenticity verification, the same technology behind cryptocurrencies – was invented by Tim Berners-Lee himself in 2014.