Sarcophagus DAO Raises $5.4M Funding
Sarcophagus DAO, a dead man’s switch protocol on Arweave and Ethereum, recently received funding from a number of investors including GreenField One, Placeholder, Inflection, Infinite, Lattice, LD Capital, Lo Enterprises, Compound VC, Hinge, Blockchange capital, Arweave and Figment. The amount raised in the past few months sits at roughly $5.4M.
The announcement was made public through a tweet from the Sarcophagus DAO’s Twitter account:
Sarcophagus DAO Closes $5.4m to Build the First Decentralized Dead Man’s Switch – Read more here: https://t.co/nmmp6GX3Wp
— Sarcophagus 𓂀 (@sarcophagusio) January 6, 2022
— FΞlix Machart (@felix_macht) January 6, 2022
So what is Sarcophagus DAO and why is this an important development for the entire web3 ecosystem?
Sarcophagus is a protocol that was created by a global team of software developers and security experts. They released their litepaper in August 2020 setting out the way the DAO would work.
It is a protocol that aims to act as a dead man’s switch. A dead man’s switch is something that is triggered when it detects that the user is no longer present. Like for example a cord that is attached to a runner on a treadmill. If the runner were to fall off of the treadmill, the cord would be pulled and the treadmill would deactivate automatically.
The developers working on Sarcophagus DAO have taken this method and applied it to the blockchain. The protocol will allow one user’s data to be recovered by another user if the first were to stop showing signs that they are still present. The way they show this is by periodically signing a message on the blockchain through their wallets (e.g. Metamask).
So how does this work?
The idea is pretty simple, the execution highly sophisticated. Any user wanting to make sure certain information, data or documents could be recovered if they were to pass away, or even just loose access to their account, can create a Sarcophagus and store those files inside. Storing the file inside the Sarcophagus is known as Mummifying them.
When Mummifying a file through the Sarcophagus dApp (Decentralised App) the file is encrypted and uploaded to Arweave. Arweave generates a transaction ID for every transaction and every file uploaded. The user who creates the Sarcophagus is known as the Creator or Embalmer.
Upon creation of the Sarcophagus, the Embalmer also sets a Recipient, a Resurrection Time and a Bounty. The Resurrection Time is the time at which, and after, the file can be decrypted again. If this time needed to be updated by the Embamer they would then have to sign a new message with their wallet on the Sarcophagus dApp, known as Re-Wrapping, in order to extend the Resurrection Time and maintain having all their data still locked away securely and accessible only to themselves.
If the Resurrection Time is reached then the Sarcophagus is eligible to be decrypted and have its contents sent to the Recipient. The recipient is set and identified by their public Ethereum address.
The Bounty is what the Embalmer pays for the service. It is quoted to them when creating the Sarcophagus, after inputting all their settings. It is paid in SARCO tokens. The Sarcophagi are decrypted by the nodes (aka computers) running the Sarcophagus DAO software, known in the protocol as the Archeologists.
These Archeologists are incentivised to decrypt the messages by getting rewarded with the Bounty. However if they try to decrypt the message outside of the specified timeframe (too early or too late) then they loose the Bounty and it is returned to the Embalmer. On top of this the Archeologist is also slashed. This means the Archeologist loses part of their existing SARCO tokens as a punishment for not performing their duties lawfully.
Being a DAO, once a Sarcophagus is deployed, this all works automatically through a smart contract. The smart contract that outlines all the settings and Embalmer input is known as a Curse. After someone decides to create an Archeologist, they then have to set their own parameters for their accepted Resurrection Time and the minimum Bounty they would accept.
The reason the Archeologist sets their minimum accepted Bounty is due to the fact that the Embalmer specifically chooses which Archeologist they want to use (aka Curse). It is worth noting that the file, when being Mummified, is encrypted on the client’s side first. So even if a malicious Archeologist wanted to decrypt a Sarcophagus prematurely, they would not be able to.
In order for the file to be decrypted it needs the private key of the Recipient along with the Arweave transaction ID that was generated for our file when we uploaded it. The Recipient doesn’t need to have any value in their account, as long as it is a valid Ethereum address.
If you want to see the Sarcophagus dApp in action (as well as revisit a time when ETH gas was just a few cents) then take a look at this video demonstrating the early days of the dApp.
Future of the Sarcophagus DAO
On the note of ETH gas prices, it is good to know that the Sarcophagus developers are planning on expanding the dApp to other EVM compatible blockchains like Polygon and Arbitrum.
The team are also planning on building ways to make it easier for third party developers to integrate the dApp in to their own applications.
The further development of the Sarcophagus DAO is beneficial to the entire web3 ecosystem at large since it will allow so many individuals that use pseudonyms on the web to be able to have their digital assets transferred in the case of their passing.
The issue right now with web3 is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify someone who is connected to a decentralised application, to which they logged into via their decentralised wallet, in which they have digital assets (whether these be crypto or NFTs). Not to mention the fact that many web3 users have a VPN active for their security at most times as well, making it hard to track even just these anonymous individuals’ IP addresses.
But now, with the Sarcophagus DAO, we will all have greater peace of mind knowing that our assets will reach our loved ones if something were to happen to us.
The team of developers working on the Sarcophagus DAO have definitely found a great use case for the Arweave network. Since Arweave is literally the Permaweb, and anything you upload to it will live there forever, many would argue it is the best place to store files for future use. And combining this with a decentralised app that encrypts the files in a secure way, means that no one person could maliciously gain access to them.
So would you trust your digital assets to the Sarcophagus DAO? And would you create a Sarcophagus containing your Last Will And Testament? Or would you rather have it sat on a physical shelf at a solicitor’s office?
Developers will be pleased to know that Sarcophagus is 100% open source and uses Unlicense.
Find more info on the Sarcophagus DAO GitHub page.