Company using blockchain technology to archive Russia-Ukraine conflict

Modern technology is helping preserve history in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian leaders and citizens alike are currently using Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for crisis communication, but experts are concerned those companies will delete or censor some images or posts. That’s where smaller companies play a role.

Tech startup Arweave asks people to save any images or photos of the conflict using blockchain technology. They’ve collected more than 10 million pieces of data so far.

The company’s founder said in a statement that global history must be preserved permanently and publicly.

“The hope is that then people will, on this network, be storing these files,” said Andrew Miller, a professor at the University of Illinois. “Even if they’re not exciting or needed right now, they’ll continue to be stored so that they’re available for archivists in the future.”

Most companies store their data in a central location, and if the company shuts down, the data is deleted and lost forever.

Decentralized technology like Arweave stores the data across many different locations like the cloud or private computers. That way, it’s more difficult to take the data offline.

Arweave only costs a few cents to start archiving photos on the platform.

“What’s distinct about using this effort is that you are going to provide some incentive in the form of paying at the time that you place this file in your Arweave network for storage,” Miller said. “The idea is that by providing this payment, you’re creating and bundling up as part of this network that says it’s going to store all of the files that are added to it in the future.”

There are some flaws to decentralized systems. While the data is being stored, it’s not being sorted, and there is currently no way to tell which photos and videos are legitimate.

Right now, the priority is to gather as much data as possible to paint an accurate picture of the conflict in the future.

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