On Thursday, 7 February, for the first time ever, we published one of our investigations to the permanent archive of the blockchain. Why did we do this? Two reasons: safekeeping and transparency.
Sadly, we can’t assume that our stories will be safe online. Billionaires buy or sue publications deleting their archives in the process (see DNAinfo and Gawker), and repressive regimes around the world also prevent journalists and activists from getting the truth out.
When #MeToo was sweeping the world because of brave women working together and sharing their experiences, activists in China were struggling to make their voices heard.
After taking the brave and difficult decision to share their own instances of sexual harassment, their stories were deleted from social media and messaging apps over and over again by censors.
Just imagine the added burden, on top of revealing your highly personal and emotionally difficult story, you must then face a whole governmental system working to keep the truth from being exposed to the world.
In the end, they turned to blockchain to safeguard their stories by storing them on the permanent archive of the blockchain, allowing these stories to live on thousands of computers simultaneously.
Following their example, we decided to publish our investigations on the blockchain, thanks to our partners at The Civil Media Company. It’s not a perfect solution, the archive looks like a scramble of HTML code and regular text, but with a little bit of effort, our stories can be recovered if needed.
So, whenever governments try to shut us down, block our website or try to stop sources from sharing sensitive information, there is now the blockchain. I’m sure with some time determined repressive regimes will find ways to make it more difficult to access the blockchain as well, but at least we’re fighting back. We need to keep innovating to get important stories out there.