Web3 Backups: All HackerNoon Stories Now Republish on Arweave

15 May 2023

HackerNoon’s published over 1 billion words, and now all those words and stories are backed up on Arweave. This ensures that HackerNoon and it’s contributing writers will have Web3 backups for all their stories :-)

How do these Web3 Backups work?

The moment a HackerNoon story is published, it also gets backed up on Arweave. What does that mean? It means, HackerNoon stories will live even if HackerNoon dies. A version of trust but verify, as in, I believe HackerNoon will outlive me, but why not backup all the content on a public ledger just in case? Note: to date, via writer dashboard, contributors can also download JSON, PDF, and audio versions of their stories.

In order to focus on just the story content, we built a lite version of our site, ignoring the bells and whistles (like emoji reactions, related stories, etc). The lite version of our site can be accessed via this tiny green earth lightning bolt above the upper right of the featured image on any story with the hover text of “Read this story w/o Javascript”:

The lite version of our site is about 40% smaller than our primary site size, so it also has viable use cases in slow internet regions too.

HackerNoon Lite Story Example.

A publishing platform’s ability to distribute is a function of it’s accessibility. We automatically turn our text stories into audio story files, multi-lingual translations, terminal view, printer view, and now, a cryptographic text backup via digital signature on Arweave. I think making our content more accessible and relatable to Web3 infrastructures will open HackerNoon up to Web3 readership. We’ve published 10k+ Web3 Stories to date, and by integrating the HackerNoon CMS with more Web3 technologies we are set up to publish many more.

How do Web3 Backups work for readers and writers?

At the bottom of all published HackerNoon stories, in the section that shows you all the sites that feature this story, you’ll notice a “Permanent on Arweave” button.

When you click that button you’ll be directed to a URL that looks something like this: https://sv4jyh6mm6mncaaeh4rfwnr4k3t3c6c6jt6iqemtye2u3v2gnbrq.arweave.net/lXicH8xnmNEABD8iWzY8VuexeF5M_IgRk8E1TddGaGM

This URL consists of 3 parts:

  • lXicH8xnmNEABD8iWzY8VuexeF5M_IgRk8E1TddGaGM - the TxHash
  • arweave.net - indicating that domain name where the content is accessible via web browsers
  • sv4jyh6mm6mncaaeh4rfwnr4k3t3c6c6jt6iqemtye2u3v2gnbrq - a random string derived from the TxHash

All content pieces from HackerNoon are currently submitted via this wallet address. In the future, this could become the individual contributors’ wallet signature. You can see the total number of HackerNoon stories engraved on Arweave:

In the unlikely event that HackerNoon is not accessible in your region, you could simply visit this wallet address and start reading HackerNoon by clicking on any of the hashes!

For writers, each individual story stats page will also feature a Viewblock link to the story on Arweave.

These Arweave backups are an indelible proof that the story was submitted by @username and published on HackerNoon. We are unlike social media systems - where anyone can publish anything - which I think makes us perspicacious in determining what text deserves long-term readership.

And that’s how we do it!

HackerNoon’s dedicated to amplifying the publish button. We entrusted text backups to Google Cloud Platform (still do!), and now, they are also entrusted to Arweave. This diversification to our backup systems is a testament to where the internet is headed. I think more curation and distribution will be built off public ledgers than it is today.

Read more about Arweave Forward Research’s Investment in HackerNoon.

In the comments below, let us know what you think of these integrations and what other Web3 integrations you’d like to see us roll out.