A Berlin-based blockchain startup called Arweave is trying to keep in mind the phrase “history is written by the victors.”
The aftermath of the conflict threatens to whiten important relics of Ukraine’s history and culture as Russian troops continue to attack Ukraine and panicked civilians leave in swarms before it’s too late. I have. This includes important news articles, documents, videos, social media posts, and all kinds of digital media. Arweave’s calls its blockchain platform “permaweb” because it wants to provide an indelible receptacle for storing such content. Think of it as Noah’s Ark in the document. A perfect preservation for future historians and researchers.
In the past few weeks alone, the platform claims to have found a way to store virtually unlimited amounts of data cheaply and permanently, with more than 6.5 million Ukrainian conflicts surrounding software uploaded to software by a global enthusiastic network. Participants who absorbed the information. A week ago, the platform held only 100,000 different entries. In total, the platform is currently protecting over 50 terabytes of data.
Of course, on open platforms, there is concern that Arweave itself is at risk of being overwhelmed by illegal digital material and advertising. It’s not difficult for someone to send spam to the platform to make the repository unusable. Currently, there are few defenses or measures to prevent this type of attack. But for the time being, especially in critical scenarios such as the Ukrainian invasion, Arweave argues that it is more important to take everyone to life raft, advertisers, and everything else, and to organize things later. increase.
Here’s how the new blockchain platform works: Arweave participants host nodes around the world. Instead, you will be rewarded with AR, the network’s native token. AR is priced at $ 28 and has a market capitalization of $ 1 billion. The network currently boasts about 1,000 nodes, with the most concentrated in the United States, Germany, and, interestingly, China.
Similar to installing ad blocking software, you can upload documents by downloading browser extensions and setting up your digital wallet. The Arweave team will provide each user with a free token. You can use this token to reward miners for uploading documents. After completing these steps, you can archive by clicking the button at the bottom of the page. When complete, a window will pop up with details for all related transactions. A step-by-step guide can be found here.
Sam Williams, creator of Arweave, says he has created a platform backed by leading venture capital investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures because of the flaws found in today’s centralized data storage systems. “We can’t create persistent storage as a company because we can’t trust the company to change its business model or make errors. Everyone is in this archive because it’s basically censored. You can contribute. Make sure that cents per megabyte and what they consider important is recorded for history. “
To further encourage participants to upload documents related to the Ukrainian Crisis, Arweave announces a $ 100,000 grant program to help participants pay the fees needed to add information to permaweb. Did. This is the same concept as paying a transaction fee to a Bitcoin or Ethereum miner to send a payment or using a decentralized application.
So far, only about $ 5,000 has been shared, but Williams states that this shortcoming is more of a function of the rapidly changing environment than a lack of interest. One such participant is Pompano Beach, Andres Pirela, Florida. Software engineers have uploaded PDF versions of 10,500 news articles by connecting to their API Firehorse in multiple languages, including Ukrainian, Russian, English, Chinese, and Arabic. document.
Pirela has also taken it one step further by actually creating step-by-step instructions for stakeholders interested in archiving information surrounding the conflict. This process requires more technical knowledge than the simple steps above, but it is much more scalable.
It is worth noting that the Ukrainian crisis is not the first time Arweave has acted as a kind of escape valve for threatened information. However, the use case of preventing authoritarian regimes from whitening history has Russian and Ukrainian origins.
Williams tells an episode of a Russian naval vessel boarding a Ukrainian boat in November 2018, capturing 24 sailors. “Sputnik (English pro-Russian outlet) wrote the article. This was the first English-speaking language article by the Russian government, which was originally pro-Ukrainian. It was only 14 minutes online. But someone in the community snapped and placed it in the blockchain, and they (Sputnik) removed it. Of course, Sputnik followed up on a much more professional Russian piece, but I We were essentially able to capture Russia trying to remember this idea. “
Arweave also took action during the anti-democratic movement in Hong Kong in April 2019. According to Williams, the company has uploaded 650,000 sources, including the entire 12,000 article archives of the now obsolete independent newspaper. Apple DailyThe circulation was 86,000.
But Arweave isn’t just watching authoritarian governments. In fact, this archive also contains examples of other countries trying to remove unpleasant information. For example, the Canadian Department of Defense published an article in the news feed about sexual assault assignments, which was removed when the charger was dropped against a suspected soldier.
Like most projects that could be the needle for government, Williams recognizes that he could be targeted as the public face of the project. He tasted what it would look like last fall. Authorities seized the hardware of one node in the country after a presentation in China about the platform by someone unrelated to the Arweave team in September 2020. Williams speculates that miners were protecting data about Hong Kong. But things didn’t start there. He and his CTO then shared a Forbes email received from Google warning about attempts by state officials to hack their accounts.
For the time being, Williams and his team are focused on storing as much information as possible, but as the conflict continues, it can become more difficult.