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World Wide Web Inventor to Sell ‘Source Code’

In this file photo, World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee poses for a photograph following a speech at the Mozilla Festival 2018 in London, Britain October 27, 2018. (REUTERS/Simon Dawson)
World Wide Web Inventor to Sell ‘Source Code’
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The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, is selling the first lines of computer code that he used to create it.

The code will be part of an NFT sold later this month in an auction by international seller Sotheby’s.

The digital NFT, or non-fungible token, includes 9,555 lines of code Berners-Lee used to begin the World Wide Web. The British-born computer scientist created the code between October 1990 and August 1991, Sotheby’s says in a description on its website.

In addition, the NFT will include an animation of the code being written. It will also contain a letter written by Berners-Lee in which he gives his thoughts on the code and his process for creating it. The buyer will also receive a digital poster of the full code that includes a representation of Berners-Lee’s signature.

Berners-Lee is credited with inventing, in 1989, what would become the World Wide Web. The idea came while he was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. He proposed a way to link the computers of scientists from all over the world to CERN’s computers so they could more easily share information.

The World Wide Web officially launched in August 1991.

Berners-Lee spoke about the upcoming sale in a statement. "Why an NFT? Well, it's a natural thing to do...when you're a computer scientist and when you write code and have been for many years," he said. "It feels right to digitally sign my autograph on a completely digital artifact."

The popularity of NFTs has risen this year. In March, a digital piece of artwork by American artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, sold for nearly $70 million.

The Sotheby’s auction, called "This Changed Everything," will run from June 23 to 30. The price of the NFT will start at $1,000.

Cassandra Hatton, head of science and popular culture at Sotheby's, said the NFT represents the internet creator’s historic influence on the world. "…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," she said.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

coden. written instructions for a computer

auctionn. a public sale at which things are sold to the people who offer to pay the most

digitaladj. using or characterized by computer technology

animationn. a way of making a video or movie by using a series of drawings, computer graphics, or photographs of objects

poster n. a large, printed picture that is usually attached to the wall

autographn. a person’s name, written by that person

artifactn. an object, especially something very old that has historical interest