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Hieroglyphs and Blockchains
The idea that knowledge can be lost seems foreign to our modern life…
The idea that knowledge can be lost seems foreign to our modern life, where everything is recorded multiples times and, if anything, information online seems to never go away.
But that has been the case throughout history, from the Library of Alexandria to the Dark Ages, knowledge has been lost several times.
I’m in London this week and went to the British Museum, where an exhibition about Egyptian Hieroglyphs is taking place. The exhibition explains how humanity lost the knowledge of how to read hieroglyphs for centuries until, finally, after a lifetime of work, Champollion was able to crack the code.
The Rosetta Stone (below) is often cited as the key to crack the hieroglyphs code, but the exhibition made clear that there were additional decades of work to get a full understanding of how to read hieroglyphs and how they actually represent both words figuratively and sounds, depending on the context.
An under-appreciated use case for blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum is that of being permanent records.
By attaching an economic incentive to the record keeping, the idea is that there will be a permanent incentive for people to be validators (or miners) and to keep the record by making the chain run.
Of course, both technologies are so new in the grand scheme of History that currently it would be imprudent to only store important records onchain, but over time I expect this to become the norm. We’re seeing Cryptohistory in the making.
See you tomorrow.