If you’ve ever run an Ethereum node, you have a copy of my sci-fi short story.

Less than a month after the Ethereum network launched, I published a sci-fi short story.

The premise of the story is that in the near future, as a result of various information (prediction) markets, people became increasingly incentivized to submit information to a blockchain. Using this information, software could recreate a person & simulate it in a VR experience. Thus: one could relive experiences with people who are no longer with us, because blockchains don’t forget. For example: etched indefinitely (for now), is Simon de la Rouviere, trading a CryptoKitty.

I posted a hash of the short story into the Terra Nullius smart contract: the first interactive smart contract on Ethereum. It’s a simple graffiti contract, and I scribbled a hash into it.

However, when I published the short story on Reddit, a community member (linagee), published the whole story into Ethereum as a hexadecimal string.

https://etherscan.io/tx/0xb5a7f176fa2db224140b66985034b9ebb852d62fa2fe31453eba13b99546dd01

Back then, it only cost $0.25. However, with the same gas prices today (57 gwei), it would now cost ~$150.

If you take the input of that transaction & do the following on OS X:

  1. Store the hexadecimal input into ‘story.hex’.
  2. Run: xxd -p -r story.hex > story.txt.gz
  3. Run: gunzip story.txt.gz
  4. Run: cat story.txt

There, you will see in your terminal: my short story. Since it was published less than a month after Ethereum launched, it’s likely that if you’ve ever run an Ethereum node and still have the chain data, you have a copy of my short story on your hard drive. A story about how we are forever being etched into a blockchain is now distributed in computers all across the world.

It’s definitely an unexpected & strange realisation. Even IF blockchains change their designs to shed old, unused storage (likely), this piece of writing will exist far longer than anything else I create.

If the Ethereum blockchain ever switches to a mode where one has to pay rent for storage, I can hopefully keep it around by just selling access to the 5 ether I locked up in October 2015 till the year 2065. ;)

Simon de la Rouviere

Written by

Explorer of all stories, master of sunsets. Writer, Coder, Musician & Dancer. Blogging here lately: https://blog.simondlr.com

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