In what commenters are calling a ‘historic transaction’, the Ethereum blockchain was used to store information of an open letter to fight censorship.
The letter in question was written by Yue Xin, a Peking University student. It was written on April 21st after Yue petitioned the University to disclose information regarding the sexual assault of a former student, Gao Yan. In 1998, Gao Yan committed suicide after alleging that she was sexually assaulted by a member of the faculty.
The letter was heavily censored by authorities on prominent social networking services including WeChat and Weibo among others. People tried to prevent censorship software from recognizing the letter by editing it or flipping it upside down, but to no avail.
On April 23rd, an anonymous user made an Ethereum transaction of 0 Ethereum, with a service charge of $0.54. The user used the OP_RETURN protocol to store the text of Yue’s letter as part of the transactional metadata. This allows users to fulfill the same function as the memo space on a check.
This is not a new method of communication. AmeriTrade placed an ad in the blockchain using 68 transactions to “plant their flag”. Twitter user @textblockchain utilizes the same method to make a sort of blockchain-graffiti. Memo is an on-chain social network built on the BCH blockchain that has the same purpose.
However, this marks the first time that this protocol has been used in active revolution against censorship. Transactions made on the blockchain cannot be changed by external authorities, due to its cryptographic encryptions. This comes after social networks were forced to take down images of the open letter.
Some of the comments on the transaction include:
“Most of the students are not those students. Only those who are “extremely motivated, have ulterior motives, are utilized, and are always different from others”.
A Redditor says:
“There is no 404 blockchain.”
A Twitter user comments:
“What is missing is the protection of private property and the respect of individual rights.”
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