Blockchain and the Historical Studies
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Blockchain and the Historical Studies
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S278240120019373-3-1
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Article
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Published
Authors
Nikolay Bystritskiy 
Occupation: Senior researcher; Head of the laboratory
Affiliation:
Department of history Lomonosov Moscow State University
Institute of Oriental Studies RAS
Address: Russian Federation,
Edition
Pages
33-47
Abstract

In our memory, last five years was inextricably linked with a boom in digital cryptocurrencies, based on blockchain concept. Such a socio-economic impact shows the role of emergent technologies in the contemporary social life. The potential of blockchain applications in the development of historical tools is discussed in the present study. Perspective options for using blockchain applications for various areas of historical research, such as historiography and source studies, archival and museum practice, history of science and archeology, are considered.

Keywords
historical methodology, historical philosophy, historical applications, instumenta studiorum, Digital History, blockchain, token, trusted repository
Received
25.03.2022
Date of publication
22.04.2022
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289
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1 History is a lantern to the future, which shines to us from the past
2 Vasily Klyuchevskiy (1841–1911)
3 Introduction1
1. This article is a revised and expanded version of the 2016 study “Blockchain and History”, posted on Academia.edu [56].
4 Information technologies, which were rapidly developed in the second half of the 20th century and underlie basis of the third industrial revolution, continues changing the landscape of human civilization, transforming it into an information society [1; 2]. Today we can no longer operate without information resources; they have become our helpers, tools and toys. Moreover, every year their influence on human society becomes more obvious. In the elaboration of the topic, it would be useful to reflect on the impact of modern technological trends, not only on the course of history and the transformation of historical knowledge, but also on the emergence of inevitable innovations in historiography.
5 At present, “off-springs” of information society are beginning to penetrate even deeper into various spheres of our life, including such innovation as a blockchain. The concept of blockchain that appeared in 2008 was simply the base technology for servicing transactions of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency payment system; nevertheless today, it symbolizes a revolution in data storage and processing systems. By the degree of influence on public life, the implementation of the conceptual principles of the blockchain may prove to be no less crucial than the development of the Internet or the grass-roots usage of mobile communication, and lately smartphones [3]. “In the world of information technology, there have been five revolutions – the creation of computers, the creation of personal computers, the Internet, social networks services and blockchain” said German Gref, Head of Sberbank2. He is confident that the blockchain “will turn all industries without exception from agriculture, to banks, and ... also the state bodies”. What is so attractive about blockchain?
2. Such opinion shared Herman Gref, CEO, Chairman of the Executive Board of largest bank Sberbank in his speech on Business Breakfast named “Governments in the 4th Industrial Revolution: Ready, Willing and Able?” during annual session at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22, 2016 [57].
6 Blockchain concept
7 In the modern sense, “blockchain” (a chain of blocks) is a distributed information environment, which is per se storage of public data-records of all transactions made by its users. It is clear that it exists and operates purely in digital form. Information here is stored as a chain of data blocks, each of which contains information about a certain number of operations (interactions, transactions and communications). The main features of the blockchain are distribution, public transparency and mathematical authenticity.
8 The technological basis of the blockchain is an entirely new kind of database, which distributed store data in a network on digital devices of users. The principle of its operation is similar to peer-to-peer networks (familiar examples are torrents, Usenet, DC, Napster). Blocks registry is stored simultaneously on all system users’ devices and automatically updated to the current version with each new operation made [4, pp. 41–90]. Each user device not only has access to information about any operation that has ever occurred in the system, but also altogether acts as a collective notary, which confirms the verity of information in the database [5; 6]. According to the established strict mathematical rules, when a new public transaction data appears (the completion and confirmation of any operation or series of operations), at this moment a new block is added into the chain, which includes the necessary accounting information for this data. Each block is identified by a cryptographic signature (hash sum), which contains the time stamp and the signature of the previous block. It comes out that all the blocks in the chain are linked back, i.e. each block refers to the signature of the previous block, and thus, from any block it is possible to trace back the whole operation history is the entire chain towards the first block. Each block contains information about the entire previous network as a whole [7; 8].
9 This important effect of historicity has ensured that the technology of the blockchain is the initial guarantee of reliability, in view of the fact that any practical possibility of unauthorized add a fake block or replace an existing one is excluded, since it will immediately be seen in the entire distributed network. At the same time, the blockchain actualizes an immediate response to the change in its structure and protects information more reliably than any technology that was used before, accurately fixing the operation time and its authenticity [9, p. 95]. So, it turns out that fraud, attempts of external intervention or even pirates are practically excluded. Accessible to everyone and constantly – and in this sense, eternal – distributed ledger, provides the highest reliability of information storage and its transparency [10, p. 13].
10 According to experts, the blockchain seems to be a practical solution to the long-standing task of Byzantine generals, which was aimed to resolve the issue how a group of generals commanding the Byzantine army, could agree on a general offensive plan in case there would be some traitors among them [11]. In essence, such solution should resolve the problem of establishing trust between various parties connected through unreliable networks, such as the Internet. In this instance blockchain will actually become a technology of trust on the Internet [12]. Over time, blockchain can become a basic technology for ensuring a digital (informational) ecology [13], and especially one of its key elements – Internet of trust. Modern Internet resources for the most part contain unreliable or unverifiable data; the purpose of the reliable Internet is the prevalence of verified data related to their primary source. The close integration of the semantic web, implemented on the principles of Authority control, Linked Open Data (LOD), Hyperdata, with the services of the distributed registry of the blockchain will ensure future Internet of trust. “Blockchain allows you to build relationships with people and organizations that you do not trust, but remain confident that it is protected from any deception” pointed Marina Gureva, CEO in cyberFund and Deputy Director of the Innovation Center in the Higher School of Economics [14]. Such blockchain ability to eliminate the necessity for mutual trust between the parties and attracting the warrantor of the transaction as a trusted third party, has made it an indispensable technological basis for the implementation of Smart contracts – network procedures for automated execution of agreements reached3. Ultimately, the increasing decentralization of trust, inculcated by Blockchain, will lead to a transformation of the role of traditional institutions that have concentrated public trust – states and large trusts. The specialists figuratively compare the blockchain with a glass safe, say, of heavy-duty glass, in which every registered user can put anything. Any other users can see exactly what is there. But only the owner of an object or the person to whom such rights are delegated, i.e. owner of certain access rights, can take something from the safe or change it. More precisely, a certain key is known only to those for whom it is intended. Of course, it is impossible to crack or break the safe. An alternative analog is a unified but locally kept by each user log or diary, where he makes his notes that immediately appear in the diaries of others. However, this “magic diary” is written in some incomprehensible language, resembling the Voynich Manuscript4, and has magic (mathematical) medium that allow users to see all the text, but read the lines only for which they are intended. All the others, including the magicians (service owners and administrators) can not add or change anything there.
3. Smart contract is a contract that exists in the form of a program code that ensures the autonomy and self-fulfilment of the terms of such a contract upon the occurrence of conditions specified in it. The implementation of smart contracts requires a decentralized digital environment of the blockchain, which provides trust and completely excludes the human factor; also for the transfer of value in a smart contract it requires a cryptocurrency [58; 59]. This can be the executor of contracts of various kinds, from simple persuasion between friends, to large corporate deals. Because the smart contract is tied to fulfilment of a condition, it is automatically carried out with the transaction and eliminates the need for a third party to verify – notary, lawyer or financier.

4. The Voynich manuscript – an illuminated codex, composed on 240 pages of fine parchment and written, presumably in the first half of the 15th century by an unknown author, once belonged to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. The manuscript contains illustrations and coded text, in an unknown language, which is still not possible to decipher.
11 Social impact of blockchain
12 Unexampled protection of blockchain technology, its independence and low operating costs make it attractive for businesses and government institutes. Initially created as a core environment for the digital currency Bitcoin, it is now increasingly used in many areas. Not so long ago, experts realized that the core technology is much more interesting than the cryptocurrency itself and is able to provide much more applications than just payments. Creation of various platforms and services based on the concept of blockchain is growing as the leading high-tech giants (IBM, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung), and start-ups (Etherium, Factom, etc.) have already joined in this process.
13 Existing blockchain platforms and applications can be classified according to data accessibility as [7, p. 17; 15]:
14 Public is an implementations in which there are no restrictions on data reading or sending of any transactions.
15 Private is an implementations in which access to and submission of transaction data is limited to a certain set of authorized users.
16 Permissionless (inclusive) is actualizing as no restrictions on the identity of transaction handlers (users who can create transaction blocks) exist.
17 Exclusive (permissioned) – in which the processing of transactions is carried out by a certain set of authorized users.
18 Fully private, where only one entity controls the maintenance of the blockchain, although they may or may not be granted read permissions.
19 Various developers consider permissioned applications as perspective way for organizations to implement internal processes automation.
20 The founder of Block Notary start-up Igor Barinov, characterizing the blockchain as an embodiment of a distributed registry, notes: “In fact, this is a registrar of a new era. If we draw analogies, then the notary is an obsolete, not very effective analogue of the blockchain. It is expensive, poorly scaled, requires premises, and, most importantly, it is never possible to exclude the human factor” [16]. These functions of an ideal registrar are embodied in new electronic services developed by various companies, as examples: Ascribe and UjoMusic – provide management of rights for artworks; Provenance – controls the origin of goods; BitProof – service of documentary affirmation; EverLedger – register of the history of the property of diamonds; Evernym – a global network of personal identification; Blockcerts – service for verifying the authenticity of diplomas and other documents on education; Colony – allows people around the world to create companies online; and many others.
21 Governments and corporations are increasingly coming to the conclusion that the introduction of blockchain is a real way for optimizing one's own structure and expenses. So, the governments of Greece and Honduras ordered the land cadastre development, and Estonia, together with the Brazilian start-up Bitnation, improved the identification of refugees. Now Bitnation offers the governments of European countries its blockchain technology to better cope with the influx of the Middle East refugees without documents. Bitnation proposed to issue migrants virtual citizenship with the registration of their data in their blockchain application, a kind of Nansen passport, which will be recognized by the governments of other countries. Ethnologists and political scientists will be interested in studying the idea of a new digital national state implemented in this ambitious project. According to the statement of its founder Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, the project should “destroy the oligopoly of national states” and make the “outdated system of state borders” less important, she hopes that in the future Bitnation will be recognized as a sovereign unit and the open citizenship register as sovereign jurisdiction [14].
22 The European Parliament is considering the possibility of using a detachment to organize voting at the elections, this topic is devoted to its expert document “What if blockchain technology revolutionized voting?” [17]. Pilot projects for e-voting have been launched in the US, Ukraine, Australia, etc. The UK government, with the help of the blockchain, plans to begin tracking the money of taxpayers, in particular student loans, grants and taxes. Blockchain usage providing open and reliable access to information turned to be useful for a state that can optimize interaction with its citizens and simplify tax collection. The banks immediately appreciated the revolutionary significance of the new technology, in particular, more than 70 major banks and financial companies joined the R3 consortium, which is developing, not only cryptocurrencies, but also blockchain applications in the financial sector. The concept of blockchain today became the basis of a powerful social movement of the DAO (Decentralized autonomous organizations). It could be assumed that in a few years, the blockchain-technologies will firmly come in our lives and the usual services and goods can be obtained with their help: order food, issue a passport, register a car, sell an apartment, get a loan, buy tickets, etc.
23 It is predicted that the blockchain should bring a fresh stream into the field of education. As it is believed, in the future economy it will be appreciated not so much the diploma of education as the whole range of competences continuously received by the individual throughout life [18]. Such competencies can be generated not only by education, but also by experience gained at work, and skills acquired in spare time. Protected accounting platforms for the entire pool of diplomas, certificates, successfully executed projects and grants, job duties, assessments, references and gratitude letters (so-called badges) will be realized with the help of blockchain.
24 However, the most important field of practical blockchain application should be the Internet of Things (IoT) – an Internet network of interacting physical devices (“things”) equipped with built-in digital (“smart”) technologies and designed to make our life much more comfortable. As noted above, the blockchain lies at the heart of Smart contracts, which in turn are the basic tool for realizing the Internet of things. In this vein, IBM and Samsung have developed the ADEPT (autonomous decentralized peer-to-peer telemetry) system, which aims to become a record book and storage agent for all Internet of things operations [19, p. 5]. As a result, a conglomerate of various smart devices will independently exist and interact via a blockchain backbone.
25 In this connection, the philosopher Vadim Chekletsov remarked: “Blockchain is not just a distributed register, but also some rudiments of a new level of digital eternity” [20, p. 145]. Immediately comes to mind the idea of the ‘Great chain of being (Scala Naturae)’, which Arthur Lovejoy called one of the central doctrine of Western philosophy - a chain that “an infinite, number of links ranging in hierarchical order from the meagerest kind of existents, which barely escape nonexistence, through "every possible" grade up to the ens perfectissimum [21, p. 59]. This conception that all forms of being are aligned in a certain sequence, unfolding in time and space and being composed in a great chain of being, essentially goes back to the ancient ideas of Plato and Aristotle.
26 Blockchain application in Historiography
27 Plato’s and Aristotle’s older contemporaries, Herodotus and Thucydides, stood at the foundation of historical science. Herodotus at the beginning of his work “The Histories” reports that he collected and recorded events, “so that things done by man not be forgotten in time” [22, 1.1.0]. Thucydides in his “History of the Peloponnesian War” expresses the hope that his work will be useful because one could safely rely on the exact as can be expected in matters of such antiquity [23, 1.21.1]. As we see, they represented their historical works as narratives about the sequence of events in which surrounding them social life was reflected. Already in the twentieth century, Paul Ricoeur remarked: “History pretends ... to retrospectively create and compile a chain of events” [24, p. 38]. So, speaking in modern language, the content of historical science is made up of knowledge about the chains of events that determined the states and changes of participants (objects) of the historical process.
28 It is clear that most events do not arise by themselves, but as the results of actions of purposeful man, as historical object [25, p. 48]. Objects can carry out actions or be themselves exposed to external actions or processes. The actions have certain space-time duration; the events are characterized by specific time and space parameters. Thus, historical events are dealt as manifested and fixed states of an object at a certain point in time and reflect the results of purposeful actions or non-goal-oriented processes [26; 27, p. 81]. Actions and processes, and, consequently, events, are in various, including causal (cause-effect) relations with each other [28; 29]. One of the main tasks of historical research is the identification of cause-effect relationships between events [30, pp. 108-110], carried out on the basis of establishing temporal and other types of relations.
29 In general, historical knowledge can be represented by us as a set of interacting chains, connected by cause-effect relations and consisting of successive actions committed by historical objects [31]. Such chains can intersect with others or remain autonomous. As you can see, this natural representation of historical knowledge in the form of chains consisting of blocks of historical actions (events) turns out to be akin to the approach realized in the concept of blockchain. The blockchain basis is a chain of blocks linked by references to the previous one, and in the history – a chain of actions related to the cause-effect relationship with the previous one. Apparently, the similarity here is extremely obvious.
30 In addition, considering social life from a different perspective, we can see that it consists of constant interactions between the participants, composing in the transfer, redistribution of information and material resources. In view of this, all social processes can be reduced to communication and material operations of a different nature, called in sociology exchanges or transfers [32-34]. Blockchain, as we have seen above, is precisely such information environment for the reflection of operations. It turns out that for different levels of historical research, its results can be reduced to a form compatible with used in the blockchain.
31 Probably, in the near future we can expect the creation of a number of software tools that can automate the extraction of data from written sources or news feed, and, based on blockchain technology, chronicle historical events (transfers results). Such chronicle could consist of chains of linked event blocks, witch included following data:
32 1) Block timestamp
33 2) Event timestamp
34 3) Event description document link
35 4) Event source link
36 5) Event causal link
37 6) Signature of block originator
38 7) Cryptographic link to the previous event block
39 8) Block signature stamp
40 In our opinion, the proposed factual tools may bring a breakthrough in historiography.
41 Blockchain for Archival service
42 The blockchain, due to its high chronicle accuracy, helps to improve documents dating and registration methods. As stated, the blockchain is able to act as a reliable event log in which precisely dated blocks can be added, but nothing can be removed without a trace. The most important requirement for an archival service is to set up mechanisms that will ensure such properties of it’s contents as authenticity, integrity, safety of records in the long term.
43 The use of blockchain will unambiguously capture the exact chronological framework when an event (block) was placed in the log and record the fact that a particular resource (document, file, image, object) was created, changed, saved or moved at a strictly defined point in time. Along with this, it allows to fix data on the versioning of a document, about its creator and other involved persons (editors, reviewers, etc.), about the status of copyright, storage time and access mode. Each registered document in archival system induces one transaction record, which could consist of following data [35]:
44 1) Transaction timestamp
45 2) Document creation timestamp
46 3) Document metadata
47 4) Document version
48 5) Document verification timestamp
49 6) Signature of the participant who created the document
50 7) Signature of the participant who verified the document
51 8) Signature of the participant who added the document to the archive
52 9) Cryptographic link to the previous transaction block
53 10) Transaction block signature stamp.
54 Applications in the archive area are already beginning to appear that implement blockchain solutions for document managing. Developers are searching for a modern blockchain approach to building of a decentralized, transparent, immutable and secure archive management system [36; 37]. Researchers from Kazan Federal University developed archival system ARCHAIN for the State archive-keeping committee of the Republic of Tatarstan, uses a permission public blockchain model [35]. This application make it possible to verify the acceptance of the document at the specified time while also storing document metadata and information about network participants who operated with this document.
55 Blockchain applications in archival service and document management make it easier to find information from historical sources. The implementation of automatic analysis of document metadata and their internal relationships will simplify the identification and verification of historical information.
56 Blockchain in Museums
57 Blockchain-based tools have already actively begun to find their application in museum and exhibition activities. The range of areas of their application seems to be quite wide. The first of these relevant areas is the registration of museum objects. Blockchain-based digital certificates will be able to bring accuracy and traceability to the storage, movement and exhibition of cultural and historical heritage assets. Let us imagine that the digital certificate of a physical asset contains up-to-date data on the permanent and current location of the object, its author, owner, insurance agent, logistics service, curator, etc., and that each change in the state of the object will lead to a change in the content of the digital certificate. This certificate can then be permanently tied to the asset through a smart identification tag, which could safely integrate in the physical object and carried unique code ID that only matches this object, like a fingerprint [38]. By reading this code using special scanners, it is possible to unambiguously associate the object with its digital certificate. Certificate can be also incorporated with “digital twin” of the object. As a result, a digital certificate represents an art object throughout its lifecycle. For example, the state catalogue of the museum fund of Russia already contains 20 million records of objects. Digital certificates will make data about the owners and location of objects transparent [39]. It seems quite likely that in the near future a consortium of museums and cultural institutions will create their own private platform for tracking the location and movement of museum objects around the world.
58 Moreover, blockchain applications are demanded in the area of museum collections exchanges process with truthful, public, real-time databases shared across museums, art galleries and other collecting institutions. For example, Vastari (an art exchange facilitator) has developed such project, boasting a blockchain-based database on its website (2020) for museum professionals and producers to share and browse more than 100 000 000 objects amongst 33 000 contacts [40]. Vastari's online platform enable professionals to sourcing and collaboration for exhibitions, supporting small and large scale object loans [41].
59 Tangential to this area is a provenance history tracking, which refers to the history of heritage object ownership. In a simple way, it is a chain of trails of ownership that leads back to the original creator of that piece of work. Blockchain applications can act as tools for verifying and securing such provenance [42]. As ownership information once recorded on a blockchain is impossible to change, it is very relevant for use in this context as it helps prevent an incomplete or inaccurate record.
60 Blockchain is already being used by the growing digital art market. Digital art is a computer file – it can be replicated and redistributed at infinite, why it has not value to a collector. The solution is to use blockchain as a record of ownership, where one piece of art goes into one contract that mints tokens underneath it, and each token represents a digital print5. “Blockchain will allow for decentralized distribution of new media art forms, be it moving image, still image, VR/AR/MR or sound art,” the founders of WUNDER Museum for Digital Art, David Dehaeck says6 [38]. Blockchain allows expanding the museum experience anywhere and anytime. Any space in which people gather can serve as a museum space – museum objects in a digital forms could be accessible outside just four walls and transported to screens, tablets or VR headsets anywhere in the world.
5. Non-fungible token (NFT) is a non-interchangeable unit of data [60]. In a very simplified way, it is an information record that is stored into the blockchain block. This information is visible to all participants in the blockchain ledger; it cannot be changed or deleted. The content of a record is publicly available, making NFT an ideal technology for capturing ownership of an object. Because each token is uniquely identifiable, it can be sold and traded. Types of NFT record may be associated with digital files such as pictures, photos, videos, audio e-books and e-tickets.

6. The name of the museum stands from 16th century concept of the “Wunderkammer” (Cabinets of Wonder), which were the predecessors of our current museums. Abbreviations used: AR – augmented reality, VR – virtual reality, MR – mixed reality, XR – extended reality.
61 Another area is a description, attribution and clarification of objects in paintings. Parts of the image can depict people, their clothes, interior items, weapons, awards, etc., which can be associated with real people and artifacts stored in other museums. Such data regarding references to the depicted objects can be stored in blockchain and attached to a digital certificate.
62 Blockchain application in Intellectual History and History of Science
63 Blockchain will play a prominent role in the market of intellectual assets management, especially property rights management. So, in June 2021 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the creation of a public-state organization "Russian Center for the Turnover of Rights to the Results of Creative Activity" (RCOP). The main activities of which are development and safe operation of the ICT infrastructure for managing the rights of the results of creative activity, including in the scientific and technical sphere [43]. This infrastructure should be created to facilitate the circulation of such rights on the basis of the IPChain Association digital network, which maintain stable operation and development of the IPChain decentralized ledger that stores transaction blocks containing intellectual property (IP) rights and objects data [44]. The IPChain network should bring together the major owners and aggregators of digital intellectual property objects, including: Major scientific and educational institutions; Funds that support scientific work, research and development, or innovative activities; Legal entities for IP rights management, including societies for collective rights management; Corporations, holding companies, creative associations; Governmental authorities.
64 IPChain will develop services for free circulation of scientific papers, which ensure that the creators get a fair compensation, genetic information databases, services for selling 3D printing models, and many others. As a result, the IPChain will create a digital trust-space for creators, rights holders, users and other individuals or legal entities that deal with the intellectual property rights.
65 It won't look fantastic today if blockchain applications used for creative participation fixation are integrated with publishing platforms, science citation indexes and reference management systems. All creative activities of the scientist or writer will be recorded in the block registry. “Scientific information in its essence is a large, dynamic body of information and data that is collaboratively created, altered, used and shared which lends itself perfectly to the blockchain technology. Working on a blockchain would mean that whenever researchers create or interact with content in whatever way and at whatever stage, their interaction will be stored in a single platform” pointed exDirector of Publishing Innovation at Elsevier Dr. Joris van Rossum [45, p. 8]. With such applications combined with archive systems, chronological sequence and continuity of scientific research become extremely transparent [46]. Experts noted that blockchain in science bears the unique chance to make the research process up to publication significantly more open and to realign science’s incentive structures with honesty, effectiveness, collaboration and true inventiveness [47, p. 21]. Blockchain can possibly change book and periodicals industry [48].
66 At the same time, digital reference systems will make it possible to observe the sequences of ideas and eliminate one’s false usage [49]. If we can fix the meanings of specific quotations from the text of works and build connections between them, then it will be easy for us to trace the development of thought and establishing a scientific priority qualification. Thus, it is worth believing that developed blockchain applications will make a significant contribution to advance of Intellectual History and History of Science.
67 Blockchain in Archeology
68 Enthusiasts believe that blockchain can give a fresh impetus to the development of archeology. Blockchain, admired for its transparency, could play a vital role in the discovery, registration, recovery, conservation, exhibition and ownership of archeological objects. Blockchain also allows remove the financial difficulties that hamper archeology, ensure expeditions to be crowdfunded and crowdsourced. Through tokenization, anyone can invest in archeological efforts and benefit from the outcomes.
69 Let’s mention the first world archaeological blockchain project KAPU, which aimed to make immutable the human history with enhancements of today’s technologies (multimedia, AR, VR, etc.) [50]. Project develops archaeological blockchain coin and repository that will permit different users to store and share ancient artefacts data [51]. It allows many service providers to utilize particular artefact information with many tools like 3D viewers, augmented reality devices, 3D printing etc. for promoting archaeological researches.
70 Indeed, the blockchain tools may prove useful for preserving the original archaeological information. For example, if an archaeologist has a need to fix a kind of old monument on a certain date – he is photographing it and placing photo images in some storage resource, while cryptographic signatures of photo images are placed in the digital block (token), which has an exact binding to a time that can not be changed. This unique opportunity of chronological identification, which was previously difficult to implement, can prove extremely useful in historical studies. Blockchain technologies can also enhance digital archaeological tools such as ArchAIDE [52].
71 Bermudian startup PO8 proposed creation of blockchain ecosystem, which should lead the movement with a collaborative framework, breaking barriers between interacting interest groups (archaeological, commercial and public/government) and ensuring the successful implementation and enforcement of archaeological standards in commercial marine salvage for the protection of historic and cultural artefacts [53]. The ecosystem is aiming to democratize and decentralize the marine archaeology, such that anyone from around the world can now help in the recovery efforts of the long-lost cultural treasures. The ecosystem consists of an integrated pool of applications, one of which is the Historic Artifact Registration System – unique identification and decentralized registration platform uses ERC-721 Non-Fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain. Platform allows archaeological expeditions, scientific entities, government agencies, museums and organizations to register historic artefacts. Maritime Artifact Data System application designed for participant’s consolidation who wants to join expedition tasks and artefact recovery program. This salvaging system creates micro tasks on the Ethereum blockchain for members around the world to effectively collaborate on. Various professionals including historians, archaeologists, geographers, oceanographers, meteorologists, data scientists can be linked to analyze different data sources including sonar, magnetometers, geomaps, historical records, weather patterns, images, video feed and more.
72 It is believed that blockchain technologies will revolutionize this field, help to mainstream archaeology, allowing millions of people to participate and uncover mysteries about our long-lost past. Combining with museum, archival and intellectual property applications can create an end-to-end platform for transparent registering, tracking, describing and researching cultural and historical heritage artefacts throughout their life cycle.
73 Conclusion
74 Following the epigraph placed thought of the famous historian Vasily Klyuchevsky, today it is obvious that the craft of the historian consists not only in a close look into the past, but also in reflections on the future studying methods. Presently blockchain can be considered a promising future tool for describing and storing any kind of historical knowledge. The reliability and security of the block, its guaranteed unshakable veracity will not be superfluous for the reliable preservation of historical data. Of course, its practical use will require some adaptation, development of methodology and creation of special digital utilities and applications [54]. “2022 will be exactly the year of the blockchain” concluded the well-known analyst of Saxo Bank Steen Jacobsen [55]. Let's expect helpful blockchain applications for historical study.

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