Behind the Record: Blockchain for Eventual Declassification

I think there is a lot of potential in the Blockchain, but, it most certainly isn’t in the form of crypto-currencies. I think it’s instead putting together new forms of identity and uniqueness to create both artistic works (it physically pains me to say NFT, but yeah, I think they are pretty damn cool. I even tried to sketch out how to make something like them on Ethereum a few years ago, but didn’t really get anywhere.)

My latest semi-baked idea is “Behind The Record,” which uses the blockchain to ensure eventual “declassification” or release of a document. This was originally inspired by some discussion about the rights and privileges of off-the-record converations on Carreyouio’s Bad Blood podcast, as well as reading a particularly opaque Guardian article quoting a bunch of un-named, un-identified Tory MPs. In both cases, some sort of statue of limitations on the contents of the interviews and identities of those involved would add a lot to the use, and provide greater trust in the articles and their sources. o Here’s my current thinking about a set of goals for the project:

Content is eventually disclosed. There is no way to avoid a final deadline.

Without this goal, there is no real value for this product. Having the promise that the content will always eventually be released is the core value proposition here.

There is no way to bring the deadline forward quickly.

This is where I want to play with design space. I think there is value in a way to negotiate earlier disclosure (and perhaps partial or limited disclosure) that avoids a “gun-to-the-head” scenario.

I still don’t have a good sense of what a MVP would look like here; I think I can get away with a straight author-source model, and there is a variable veto policy on the early release, but not over a final release. But again, it has to be resilient against any gun-to-the-head. (Which probably needs to be well proven, not just “it works against this one tactic.”)

The areas of growth would be more complex release processes, and model of multiple contributors.