Sir Tim Berners-Lee gives a speech at Campus Party Italia 2019 on July 25, 2019 in Milan, Italy.

Rosdiana Ciaravolo | Getty Images

LONDON – The British computer scientist and inventor Tim Berners-Lee is auctioning the original code for the World Wide Web as a non-fungible token.

The auction for the World Wide Web NFT, entitled “This Changed Everything”, will be held June 23-30 by Sotheby’s in London, with bids starting at $ 1,000. The proceeds from the auction will benefit initiatives that support Berners-Lee and his wife, Sotheby’s said.

NFTs are a type of digital asset designed to show that someone is the owner of a unique virtual asset, e.g. B. Online pictures and videos or even sports trading cards.

The NFT contains original timestamped files containing the source code written by Berners-Lee, an animated visualization of the code, a letter written by Berners-Lee about the code and its creation, and a digital “poster” of the complete code. They are all digitally signed by Berners-Lee.

It is the first time that Berners-Lee can benefit financially from one of the greatest inventions of our time.

“Three decades ago I created what, with the subsequent help of a wide variety of collaborators around the world, was a powerful tool for humanity,” Berners-Lee said in a statement. “For me, the best thing about the web has been the spirit of collaboration. While I make no predictions about the future, I sincerely hope that its uses, knowledge, and potential will remain open and available to all of us to continue innovating, too and initiate the next technological change that we cannot yet imagine. “

He added, “NFTs, be they works of art or digital artifact, are the latest playful creations in the field and the most suitable forms of ownership out there. They are the ideal way to package the origins of the web. “

Cassandra Hatton, global director of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s, said in a statement that the “NFT format” will enable collectors to “own the ultimate digitally born artifact.”

In March, South Carolina-based graphic designer Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, sold an NFT at a Christie’s auction for a record $ 69 million. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, sold his first tweet as NFT for $ 2.9 million later that month.

On Thursday, a rare digital avatar known as CryptoPunk was sold at Sotheby’s for over $ 11.7 million. NFT’s total revenue hit an impressive $ 2 billion for the first quarter of this year, according to data from Nonfungible, a website that tracks the market.

However, there are signs that the bubble may burst as sales of digital collectibles have declined dramatically in the past few weeks. Total sales fell from a seven-day high of $ 176 million on May 9 to just $ 8.7 million on June 15, according to Nonfungible figures. The volumes are now roughly back to the level at the beginning of 2021.

– Additional coverage from CNBC’s Ryan Browne.