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How Starling Labs Leverages the Filecoin Network to Preserve History

The Upload V16

How the Starling Lab Leverages the Filecoin Network to Preserve History

A recent investigative report in Rolling Stone shed light on one of the 571 unresolved war crime cases from the 1990s Bosnian War, a conflict marked by ethnic cleansing. A Serbian unit called Arkan's Tigers was notorious for their brutality, but a lack of prosecution meant their members enjoyed impunity for decades. The technology didn’t exist to authenticate their participation – until now.

Working alongside the Starling Lab for Data Integrity, Rolling Stone created an interactive Web3 archive to authenticate and preserve records of alleged war crimes committed by Arkan’s Tigers during the Bijeljina massacre in 1992. The story takes a distinctly modern twist, revealing the unit’s lasting bonds as members have stayed connected on social media. The documents collected during the investigation are captured and registered on Numbers Protocol and stored on Filecoin and IPFS.

The Starling Lab, a Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) project partner, is pioneering advanced cryptographic methods and decentralized web protocols to capture, store, and verify sensitive digital records. They use the Filecoin distributed storage network for its robust, persistent data storage.

Following the Starling Framework, the moment a camera registers light, a cryptographic seal forms around each pixel. This proof of integrity is registered on the Filecoin network for safekeeping. A content identifier, or hash, is created for each step in the process, putting a seal on an envelope of the data. Tamper with the seal, and it will be obvious. If the seal is intact, so is the underlying information. This means that any subsequent online manipulations or alterations of an image will be exposed, as an irrefutable record of the original version exists.

Starling Lab is the first center in the world dedicated to using decentralized tools to advance human rights and is one of the first projects to show exactly how and why Web3 storage and authentication can help build digital trust.

Read more about Starling’s work in Rolling Stone.

The Event File

Speakers announced for FIL Paris! Set against the backdrop of EthCC, FIL Paris will take place July 15-20. Developers, storage providers, clients, and ecosystem partners will convene for a week of programming and networking. Connect with the Filecoin community in Paris and hear from speakers including:

  • Juan Benet, Protocol Labs

  • Ally Haire, Filecoin Foundation

  • Kevin Owocki, Supermodular, Gitcoin

  • Marla Natol, Textile

  • Butian Li, Blockless

  • Christopher Szymczak, UNICEF

  • Paul Sengh, OpenBlock Labs

And check out the ever-expanding schedule of events:

Network News

MIT and Starling Labs, FFDW project partners, are co-editing the series “Tech, Tools and Media” for Commonplace, a digital publication out of the Cambridge-based Knowledge Futures group. The series examines questions of trust, authenticity, and digital content.

FFDW project partner DivInc hosted an in-person “EmpowerDWeb Panel” in Houston, TX, bringing together influential voices, innovative startups, and passionate advocates to explore the transformative potential of decentralized web technologies for driving social impact in the leadup to its DWeb for Social Impact Accelerator. Founders can apply here. 

Major Milestone: Guardian Project’s Proofmode is now running on Bacalhau for decentralized processing of proof verification data. Guardian Project has published its first ProofCorps baseline video production about the importance of documenting cryptographically verified content using media signatures, proof data, open time stamps, and more, before it is impacted by change.

Check out the June Filecoin and IPFS Ecosystem Roundup for the latest updates, developments, and insights straight from the community.

Come Build With Us

Applications are open for DPSA Cohort 2. Join the Decentralized Storage Providers Accelerator-Asia BootCamp for a six-month business course program helping Storage Providers in Asia become Filecoin Plus storage entities.

Create your personal decentralized storage node on Synology NAS using IPFS. If you're running a Synology NAS server, storing public or encrypted personal data with the InterPlanetary File System, a storage network designed to withstand challenges at the protocol level is just a few minutes away. Learn more from FF’s Jenks Guo.

Do you have an idea for pushing the Filecoin ecosystem forward? Visit the Open Developer Grants GitHub to learn more about the available opportunities in our four featured categories:

  • Developer and Data Tooling: Projects that close important experience gaps for developers or large dataset users.

  • Applications: Projects that apply Filecoin, IPFS, or related technologies in novel ways to solve meaningful, real-world problems.

  • Integrations: Projects that add integration or support for Filecoin, IPFS, or related technologies into popular, or fast-growing existing tools and developer communities in Web2 or Web3.

  • Research and Protocols: Projects aimed at improving the foundations of Filecoin, IPFS, and related technologies.


FIP0059 passed Last Call and was accepted. The proposal presents a new PoRep protocol (Synthetic PoRep) that reduces the size of the temporary data stored between PreCommit and ProveCommit (150 epochs) from ~400GiB to ~25GiB, with no impact on security. It will be implemented in the v21 network upgrade.

FIP0047, FIP0052, and FIP0059 are awaiting implementation. There are two FIP drafts currently accepting community feedback: