In this new NFTexpress article I will explain how non-fungible tokens can be the solution to preserve different old and historical documents in order to protect history.
Over time, historical documents and archives have become increasingly important in modern culture, helping us to understand where many things that are in the world today came from. However, keeping these historical records safe can sometimes be difficult, whether due to man-made or simply natural/environmental disasters, especially if they are fragile or cannot be replaced.
Here comes into play the technology of NFTs that have the essential characteristics to store and track historical information thanks to the blockchain. These tools had never been possible in the past, but now we can effectively say that there are infinite use cases to take advantage of non-fungible tokens.
Although at NFTexpress we always emphasize what an NFT is, it never hurts to say that they are a type of digital asset that cannot be copied or exchanged. Currently, they are being massively used to show who owns digital works and collectibles, but this time we will see how they can be used to store and safeguard historical, important and rare documents that are worth keeping safe. In addition, I will discuss ways in which non-financial transfers of NFTs can be used to archive important materials and digitize historical documents.
NFTs are portable, easy to buy, easy to sell. Also, they are secure and clear because they are held on the blockchain and make it hard to commit fraud.
By digitizing documents and converting them into NFTs, you can ensure that historical artifacts and rare documents will be available for future generations and easy to find and use.
Digitization of historical documents in NFT format
The digitization of historical assets and their subsequent transformation into NFTs is one of the simplest applications to achieve historical preservation, since they are recorded in a distributed ledger (blockchain) and are secure against destruction, loss or theft.
As a result, access to different rare documents can be improved for academies, students, and the general public by digitizing them and converting them into non-fungible tokens. Moreover, accessing them will not be a matter of navigating through specific sites or physical locations, but through an Internet connection can be done from anywhere in the world.
Authenticate historical artifacts with NFTs
NFTs can be used to verify the authenticity of multiple priceless relics from the past. The best way to do this is to place the NFT on an object and make a digital record of its authenticity in order to stop forgeries and protect its value.
Property tracking of historical artifacts with NFTs
Beyond authentication, NFTs also allow them to be used to track who owns the historical relic, making provenance and ownership much simpler to determine.
This feature would be very useful especially for museums and similar sites where they take care and keep safe many elements that were part of our past and at present are considered too valuable.
Are NFTs being used to preserve history?
The reality is yes, for example the “Own the Impossible” project of the New York Historical Society, USA, uses the tools and benefits provided by NFTs technology for rare historical relics, documents, images and manuscripts. They digitize and create NFTs to indicate their true ownership.
Among the most important objects that the “Own the Impossible” collection has in its possession, it includes the letter written by George Washington in 1777, during the American Revolutionary War. This letter was written to Major General Horatio Gates and this project scanned it and turned it into an NFT so that anyone, anywhere, can own a piece of history and help keep historical documents safe.
Also, in 2021 the British Museum initiated the “Heroes of History” project with the aim of employing NFTs to preserve historical assets. For example, ancient Greek pottery and Roman coins in the Museum’s collection are represented as non-fungible tokens.
Individuals can help preserve these priceless relics and bring home a piece of history with the purchase of an NFT.
NFTs for preserving endangered languages
NFTs could help keep historic and disappearing languages alive. There are many indigenous languages that are on the verge of extinction as a result of dwindling native speaker populations and little funding for language revitalization.
Preserving these languages and making them available to scholars and language learners are two of the most important goals of digitizing language resources and converting them into NFTs.
The New Zealand Mori Language Commission, for example, is considering using NFT technology to help preserve and disseminate the Mori language. The Commission’s goal is to raise money to revive language-related projects and, at the same time, draw attention to the Mori language by providing non-fungible tokens that show essential ownership of language resources such as dictionaries and language learning materials.
Challenges of using NFTs for historic preservation
While NFTs have the power to greatly change the way history can be saved, there are also several issues to consider.
First, the creation and maintenance of these NFTs can be costly, which would make this inaccessible for certain companies and individuals. Also, concerns have been raised about how much energy blockchain technology needs and what effect NFTs could have on global warming.
Another barrier is the general public’s lack of knowledge about NFTs. Promoting the use of non-fungible tokens for this practice is a challenge, as many people are not familiar with NFTs and the potential advantages they provide.
Also, there is a misconception by some people that NFTs can be used for criminal activities, such as manufacturing fake historical items or selling stolen cultural assets. There is always the possibility that the most trusted companies and organizations in the industry can intervene, demonstrate and ensure that the items are real and know where they come from for people’s peace of mind.
Because of these issues, it is important that groups and individuals who use or plan to use NFT technology to store historical data are aware of the risks in order to take appropriate precautions and solutions.
It is clear that NFTs can completely revolutionize the way we preserve and digitize documents and any type of historical asset. Digitizing NFTs from digital copies protects objects from loss or theft and makes them more accessible to students, scholars, enthusiasts or the general public.
Also, NFTs can be used to ensure that historical relics are real and not fakes. In addition, this technology can be used to track who the real owner is, which is very important in this industry.
Finally, NFTs can become a useful tool to keep irreplaceable historical elements safe for future generations to enjoy these historical assets.
Written by Rodrigo Catalan (TW: @RodrigoCatalanB) for NFT Express.