But the winner has nothing in his hands …

The US auction house Sotheby’s has auctioned the source code for the World Wide Web for 5.4 million dollars (around 4.5 million euros). Sotheby’s announced on Wednesday. However, it was initially unclear who bought the first digital artifact ever offered by Sotheby’s.

The piece was the original files of Sir Tim Berners-Lee (66) from 1989 with the corresponding time stamp and signature. On March 12, 1989, the computer scientist presented his proposal for a system for information management from which the World Wide Web emerged.

Berners-Lee was then working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. Today he is considered to be the inventor of the WWW.

Sotheby’s auctioned the source code as a so-called NFT (non-fungible token). This is a kind of digital certificate of authenticity: there can be any number of identical copies of the item, but only this one can be considered the original.

NFT is currently experiencing a boom: a linked copy of a collage by digital artist Beeple was recently auctioned for a good $ 69.3 million.