The Piql-based digital storage vault in Svalbard stores money NFTs created for use on the remote Arctic island.
We are told that for much of the 20th century, American, British, Norwegian, Soviet and Swedish mining companies created their own banknotes. The Soviets also created coins. The miners received their wages in local currency and used it to buy goods – exclusively in Svalbard.
Last year, Sparebank 1, a Norwegian alliance of savings banks, launched digital Svalbard banknotes and coins that could be bought and sold through a Svalbard money website. Coins and notes were/are so-called NFTs (“non-fungible tokens”) based on the Ethereum blockchain. But that operation ended on February 7 with the NFTs tradable on an OpenSea secondary market site.
NFTs are unique digital units or tokens that can be bought and sold and are stored on an immutable blockchain ledger. NFT registries are supposed to provide a public certificate of authenticity or proof of ownership, but they do not prevent sharing or copying of the underlying digital files or, apparently, preventing the creation of other NFTs based on the same digital files.
This is where we go quietly crazy. From February 14, Svalbard’s digital money will be stored for eternity in the Arctic World Archive located inside a former coal mine in Svalbard. Actual banknote and coin data, as well as historically collected material, will be stored on PiqlFilm – 35mm film reels that are supposed to be immutable and good for a lifespan of over 1,000 years. I mean, really, who cares that a bank that hardly anyone has heard of is storing NFT money, which is of dubious and erratic value, inside shipping containers at a mine of island coal off Norway and beyond the Arctic Circle?
Resourceful Morten Søberg, Public Relations Manager at Sparebank1 and initiator of the Svalbard Currency Project, said: “With the help of Piql’s technology, this unique piece of financial history will be stored securely for the eternity in the archives of the arctic world. In a way, Svalbard’s money will be forever. It’s a great idea.”
In your dreams, Morten.
Rune Bjerkestrand, managing director of Piql, also developed the idea. “Svalbard’s silver has come full circle. They’ve gone back to where it all began over 100 years ago, deep in one of the arctic coal mines. The cool, dry permafrost will help preserve this fascinating piece of Svalbard’s memory for future generations.