What It Is

It's a blockchain agnostic dead man's switch that uses multiple layers of encryption.

Sarcophagus is a blockchain-enabled, general purpose, digital dead man's switch. It is autonomous, censorship resistant, and immutable. We rely on modern smart contracting networks like Ethereum, Tezos, or Stellar as well as Arweave's permanent file storage network.

Historically, dead man's switches have been used in heavy machinery to ensure the operator is paying attention and is present at their post. However there are many other examples of physical use cases such as suicide bomber vests and even Russia's Strangelovian Dead Hand nuclear program.

A dead man's switch is a mechanism (digital or physical) that triggers when the user fails to perform an action.

Bitcoin gave us the base of blockchain tech, it proved to us that making computers do physical things to supplant human trust (or violence) is not only sustainable, but approaches antifragility. Ethereum gave us the ability to execute code on a 100% uptime, decentralized and immutable computer. Arweave gives us the ability to economically store and retrieve files from a separate immutable and permanent file system. Only the combination on multiple ground breaking innovations in the past 10 years have made Sarcophagus possible.

Making Computers Do Physical Things

Cryptography allows us to program computers in a way that is more physical than it looks on the surface. With properly written code, we can lock data into multi-layered sarcophagi of encryption. After introducing the element of time, we are then able to send that data to the future.

Leaving Secrets to The Future

Our goal with this is to make secret recovery easier and more intuitive. However we know that we can't just start offering password recovery with a centralized server (ZK or otherwise). That would be going backwards. We have to think about the concept of secrets, how they affect us as humans, the value they hold, and the nature of time when it comes to their storage and recovery.

We need to rethink the concept of secret storage, and choose the mechanisms we want to control their loss or recovery.

This litepaper is to serve as a living document as we build out the community and codebase for the sarcophagus protocol.