Kapu: World’s First Social Sciences Cryptocurrency

The latest addition to digital currency, Kapu, deemed as the world’s first “archaeology coin,” had its launch in a small community this month. Having similar attributes like of Bitcoin’s, Kapu is designed specifically for archaeology — for its cultural heritage protection and data storage, thanks to Blockchain. Blockchain is the technology behind the two digital currencies, and while the public is still unaware of its existence and usage, we cannot deny that in the next decade, this technology will reign and become a standard.

But who is behind Kapu? Kapu derived its name from Capua, a place in Italy. Its founder exhibited genuine concern for the country’s heritage situation. Meet Martino Merola, Kapu’s CEO. Before Kapu, Merola actually engaged himself in the world of cryptocurrencies. After a while, he later on contemplated on merging Blockchain with archaeology. With a small team, Merola started working on Kapu, and even with a limited funding on the side of archaeological institutions, they successfully introduced a currency that is cheap, yet with strong data encryption prowess. They are working on improvements still, and look forward to having other interested parties to work on Kapu, too.

Blockchain has the ability to store and share valuable data. This fact interests everyone, including politicians and those from financial markets. Blockchain features a tamper-proof asset record for the following: homes and cars, food and fisheries, and now, artefacts.

Imagine banks or any institutions. They do have a ledger, right? Blockchain functions like a ledger, too. Blockchain technology process might sound complicated, but the concept is actually pretty simple. The coin-owners can have the copy of all transactions and of assets. With transaction registry network that can be securely accessed and viewed on computers by the owners themselves, transparency is guaranteed. Loss and tampering of data seem impossible too, because every activity requires permission from the network.

Blockchain does not tolerate even 0.01% of failure even in large bulks of digital information, just like what hard drives or computer servers do. Aside from that, because of its being a distributed network, not a single entity is permitted to manipulate the data. Financial ledgers, obviously, cannot compete with this technology.

Blockchain has a lot of improvements to do. Kapu keeps innovating and implementing SmartBridge, a platform developed by ARK. SmartBridge makes it possible to build a digital network between currencies, say Kapu to Ethereum to Bitcoin and vice versa.

It cannot be denied that most of the industries today rely on Blockchain. For example, in food production, Provenance, a UK-based company, now implements Blockchain in tracking fish from source. In the music industry, on the other hand, artists use Mycelia, a system that protects and sells music. Blockchain is used by Mycelia for a more secure payment transaction.

In archaeological aspects, Blockchain is becoming a necessity, too. Each block stores data, and amazingly has a large capacity to store even the museum or school’s records. Every data is encrypted; coin-owners cannot worry about having the data manipulated or stolen.

Blockchain, as mentioned earlier, can hold large quantities of tamper-proof data. And this is what most archaeological institutions need. These days, museums rely on Archaeology Data Service (ADS). With Blockchain as the game-changer, museums can store data securely but at the same time, can provide access to different levels — for example, some records can be shown to the staff only while some can be viewed by the public. The Kapu team is still working on improving and evaluating the best ways to serve the needs of archaeologists and heritage enthusiasts, according to Grant Cox.

Today, selling fakes and forgeries while looting genuine artefacts are increasingly becoming popular, owing to less strict regulations and law implementations. But if an artefact’s record is stored in a block, sellers, buyers, and authorities may now avoid dishonesty on both parties. Records are instantly updated every time the artefact crosses a border or when it is being sold or bought. Records from border security agencies can be compared with Interpol databases. Today, Blockchain is working on incorporating a new technology called Smart Water. It is another innovation to be anticipated. It tags artefacts but leaves no visible marks.

Researchers may also consider smart contracts, another Blockchain feature. It is not known to many that there is an ethical guideline: Data should be protected from human subjects. Ethnographic data have limitations in terms of the time period they can be stored. Confidentiality of records is taken very seriously. Smart contracts destroy these confidential records, say, after five, ten, or fifteen years.

Kapu is a growing trend in social sciences and other industries. Even though no one can predict its success, everyone believes and sees the promise of this digital currency. Just like what Albert Perucchini stated in an interview, Blockchain was just a ‘hype’ last year; now, is the year of its ‘first implementations’.