Microsoft’s GitHub Archive Program is apocalypse-proofing Bitcoin’s code along with other open-source projects, such as Linux and the open-source parts of Android, that help power modern civilization by storing them in the Arctic World Archive.
To help ensure that open-source projects are preserved for future generations, the Arctic World Archive is designed to resist climate change, natural disasters, and outside access. It is situated 104 meters above sea level and 350 meters deep inside permafrost in a decommissioned mine situated in the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, home of the northernmost town in the world.
The archive chamber is built in a location where gravity can drag water out of the mine. In addition, the mine has multiple layers of access control that keeps physical access at bay.
The Bitcoin (BTC) project takes a snapshot of active repositories on GitHub site and safely deposits them in the Arctic World Archive. The code will be stored on silver-halide films and encoded frames with 8.8 million pixels each. The special film reels are designed to last over 1,000 years.
Microsoft, which acquired the online source code repository company GitHub in 2018 for $7.5 billion, is committed to protecting open-source projects. In addition to Bitcoin’s code, GitHub has archived thousands of open-source projects in its initial deposit including facebook/react, WordPress/WordPress, rails/rails, microsoft/MS-DOS, angular/angular, and many more.
GitHub is also teaming up with Microsoft’s Project Silica to dramatically increase the shelf life of stored data. The partnership seeks to “archive all active public repositories for over 10,000 years, by writing them into quartz glass platters using a femtosecond laser.”
According to Arctic World Archive team,
“A worrying amount of the world’s knowledge is currently stored on ephemeral media: hard drives, SSDs, CDs good for a few decades, backup tapes whose notional 30-year lifespans assume strictly controlled heat and humidity. Because (some) hardware can be much longer-lived, there exists a range of possible futures in which working modern computers exist, but their software has largely been lost to bit rot. The GitHub Archive Program will include much longer-term media to address the risk of data loss over time.”