In our first team community spotlight, we caught up with the team behind http://sarcophagus.io/ — a dead man’s switch and smart contracting network hosted on Arweave, allowing users to create a general purpose, self-sovereign, digital dead man’s switch. Their distributed team consists mostly of individuals passionate about privacy and security, however, the glue that binds them all together is their shared interest in building censorship resistant, autonomous tools in the digital age. Jump in to find out more about the inspiration behind Sarcophagus and their ongoing mission as a cypherpunk-driven collective.
Where are you based?
We are a fully distributed team but are loosely focused around NYC.
Tell us more about your developer collective, how did you meet and what are your shared goals?
We have all come together over the years in the crypto universe, but mostly we bring people from the privacy and security circles. Some people we’ve met online and followed up in person at conferences around the world, others we know as nothing more than a snarky screen name.
Our shared goals are pretty amorphous due to the nature of the collective, but they do have overlapping themes of censorship resistance, autonomy and digital sovereignty.
Has your collective built anything previous to sarcophagus.io?
Everyone involved in this project has built things prior to this, they range from hedge fund crypto backup/security systems to full enterprise continuity plans, as well as other more traditional centralized software development. Along with developers, we’re also actively recruiting journalists, activists and other high-risk individuals to communicate their needs and support our cause.
How did you find out about the Arweave permaweb?
After diving deep enough into IPFS to see that it doesn’t solve any of the hard problems behind decentralized file storage.
What piqued your interest in decentralisation and the blockchain space and when?
Everyone working on Sarcophagus got involved in the space for different reasons, but most in the 2012–2014 timeframe. We share a collective interest in self-regulating math and physics driven markets. The human scale incentive structures behind the bits are the true breakthrough technology here, not the fastest transfers or most profitable exchanges.
Creating software that can ‘live’ autonomously, with no kill switch or off button is one of the most exciting movements in computer science today.
We hear you’re working on a dead man’s switch on top of the permaweb, can you tell us more?!
We are. After years of obsession over Victorian machinery, the Russian Dead Hand program and the countless examples of physical (and contractual) dead man’s switches operating in real life, we decided to mix the old idea of a dead man’s switch with the new technology of blockchain.
Our dead man’s switch, called Sarcophagus, pairs a smart contracting network (currently ETH) with Arweave, allowing users to create a general purpose, self-sovereign, digital dead man’s switch. Our architecture also allows the user to create several different human-scale tools from the base protocol, things like will and trust, safe deposit boxes, and even emergency notification can all be built on top of the system.
Do you plan to further develop sarcophagus.io or any other permaweb projects?
Absolutely. We are actively developing Sarcophagus v1 and will be using the permaweb for everything that we can.
What other communities are you a part of?
This is a hard question, but in cryptoland our ethos is derived from the privacy and cypherpunk communities.
If you could build any dapp, what would it be and why?
We’re building Sarcophagus, because we think it’s something the world needs. We see the use cases for what Sarcophagus offers as being only bound to the user’s imagination. There are so many use cases ranging from whistleblowers to journalists to your normal crypto enthusiast. There is a desire for information to be free. The community plays a pivotal role in development of applications for Sarcophagus. We see Arweave and Sarcophagus playing a key role in making sure this becomes a reality.
What does a decentralised future look like to you?
One where a user’s permissions are immutable. Where a vendor does not have the power to unilaterally charge, modify or exclude any user that is willing and able to pay. A world where service providers and users have the same rights and powers in a contract, a stark reality from today’s 200 page Terms and Conditions statements we’re all forced to blindly agree to.
Where can people follow your work?
You can keep up with us via our mailing list (signup on sarcophagus.io) or on our Telegram group that is linked below. Also anyone who is interested in working with us should drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org