As a part of an archiving program for safeguarding an important part of technological history, a “snapshot” of all this code will be copied onto film reels and stored in a steel container, all done in an effort to keep the data alive and unscathed for 1,000 years.
An icy mountain in Norway’s Svalbard – an all but inhabitable, Arctic archipelago covered in glaciers and inhabited by polar bears – is an unlikely safe haven for cryptocurrency code, let alone a pillar of modern-day civilization.
While archiving cryptocurrency code could plug historical holes for historians, there are limits to what storing this information will enable.
Van der Laan pointed out that, from a software engineer’s perspective, the code might not make much sense to coders hundreds of years from now.
“As a developer, I do find the idea of a future historian trying to puzzle together our (what goes for) civilization from reams of clever hacks, spaghetti code and context-specific source code kind of amusing,” van der Laan said.
Jason Teutsch, the founder of Ethereum infrastructure project Truebit and a computer science researcher, argued similarly: Explanations of the code should sit alongside the raw material.
“The social, economic, regulatory and academic records depicting motivations and resources for code development may ultimately become more important than the code itself,” he said.
As a developer who hosts a wiki for futurist technological ideas, Avanti’s Bishop is looking to preserve information even further into the future. In fact, Bishop is awaiting a patent for a way to store information inside of DNA. He notes that the genetic instructions guiding an organism’s growth can preserve information for hundreds of thousands of years.
And while this project could help preserve some history, Bishop argues that there’s plenty of other important information out there that should be stored in a similar fashion.
“Beyond GitHub, I think they need to seriously consider archiving Sci-Hub, which has over 70 million scientific articles,” Bishop said. “It’s one of the great feats of human intellect and progress, and it needs to be preserved.”