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A Blockchain Ledger That Could Authenticate Cultural Artifacts

A Blockchain Ledger That Could Authenticate Cultural Artifacts

  • Salsal, by employing blockchain technology, aims to authenticate cultural artifacts to prevent theft and looting.
  • Although some territories have laws in place for protecting artifacts, Salsal proposes itself as a unified tool working on an immutable blockchain for easy usage.

Scientists Have Announced An Artifact Ledger For Salsal

Adil Khelifi, a computer scientist from the University of Abu Dhabi, and Mike Altaweel, an archaeologist from the University College London, have announced the development of a new blockchain tool called Salsal. 

It is a Web3-based verification service model that validates the authenticity and provenance of cultural artifacts. Salsal aims to leverage blockchains for the verification of artifacts.

Salsal enables collectors and museums to submit the details of their artifacts through a web portal. After the submission, a team of experts assesses if the collection was legally and ethically obtained while keeping its authenticity in mind. 

The developers, Adil Khalifi and Mike Altaweel, claim that the tool is secure, transparent, reliable, and a definitive way to track the authenticity and ownership of the artifact. 

After getting their collection verified from Salsal, the owner can convert that into a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), which can serve as a certificate of authentication. This allows a smooth and secure transfer of ownership and allows tracking of the movements of the collection.

This tool establishes a transparent history that limits the probability of theft of any artifact and encourages the return of the artifact to its native nation. Moreover, the tool also allows users to access the artifact through its database, for those who cannot see it in person.

It’s not all roses for Salsal; even though significant advancements have been made in blockchain technology, challenges remain that we need to overcome. The developers of the tool, Khalifi and Altaweel, express that the biggest challenge to Salsal’s success is convincing people to use it.

Salsal is not free-to-use, but it also doesn’t charge a hefty amount. To use Salsal, the collectors have to pay no more than a couple of dollars for each collection. However, this associated cost will not be prohibitive. The developers envision the tool reaching such heights that any artifact that is not verified by Salsal might come into question about its authenticity.

The Need For An Artifact Ledger

As Salsal hasn’t launched yet, there is no existing tool or registry for the authentication of historical cultural artifacts. Regardless of this, most territories have laws in place for procuring, trading, buying, and selling cultural artifacts, specifically when they are unearthed from public or protected land. 

In today’s time, some artifacts with great cultural significance and value remain unaccounted for. Artifacts like the Crown Jewels of Ireland and Honjo Masamune have been lost in the sands of time, or in most cases, stolen. 

And, numberless artifacts have been looted from their significant native sites before archaeologists could catalog them. As we discussed above, Salsal aims to overcome these limitations by identifying, grading, and recording the information related to artifacts with great cultural value.

The data relating to these artifacts is already recorded on databases across the world, but a unified database operating on an unbending blockchain could limit theft and looting to a great extent by making it mandatory for sellers and curators to provide documents to support the provenance of any artifact.  

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