In China, residents turn to NFTs stored on a blockchain using Arweave to record moments of the pandemic and other censorable media.
Arweave, a blockchain-based storage solution, is a new type of blockchain based on Moore’s law of decreasing data storage costs. Users pay less than one cent per megabyte in advance for a hundred years of storage, and the interest accrued will cover the declining storage cost forever. More than 1 million data is currently stored on permaweb, with about 200 apps already developed.
For many Chinese citizens, using blockchain to record indelible moments from the COVID-19 pandemic has become more routine. Back in March 2020, Arweave raised $8 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, and Union Square to help the government fight against pandemic censorship.
While major NFT collections including BAYC and CryptoPunks have certainly led sales, profile picture avatars have little significance for Chinese citizens who have faced harsh lockdowns in some of China’s major cities.
“Our test must be remembered,” says Derek Yi, a lawyer for a tech company in Shanghai that is responsible for mining many NFTs. Now most of the NFTs listed on OpenSea are selling for very low prices, because their value lies not in their artistic merit, but in something deeper.
“Memories are not for sale,” Yi said. A video clip with a request for help, dubbed “The Voice of April”, was minted by several while others scrambled to save the clip on Arweave, a blockchain-based hard drive that stores data. Records it irrevocably, forever.
More Content Creator Arweave. are involved in
Bypassing censorship, other content creators have turned to Arweave to back up podcasts and posts made earlier on Weibo.
A Chinese publisher uses blockchain to permanently store articles written by 100,000 authors.
Similarly, Likecoin has a WordPress plug-in to preserve content.
“If you have an article, as long as you think it is important enough to be permanently archived as human history, you can do so,” said Likecoin founder Qin Ko.
Ko’s technology has previously been used by residents of Hong Kong, who are desperate to preserve archived material from radio television Hong Kong. The move comes after an announcement by the broadcaster that it would start removing content older than a year.
Back in 2019, video footage of an attack on a group of protesters sharply eroded public trust in law enforcement, making the video content politically charged and likely to be erased.
Ultimately, conservation became paramount in using Ko’s nascent technology.
The Key to Conserving Multiple Storage Spaces
In most cases, NFTs contain information about the online storage location of an item rather than the item itself. If the item is removed from the storage location indicated by the NFT, clicking on the link in the NFT will result in a “Not Found” 404 error.
According to an MIT expert at the Digital Currency Initiative, the best way to preserve content is to create enough redundancy “so if someone wants to take it down, they have to go to everyone hosting those copies,” Neha said Narula.
LikeCoin uses Arweave to store the media file in multiple locations, making the content challenging to censor, but easy to detect using the Interplanetary File System (IPFS).
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