An Ambitious Blockchain Project for Uploading Consciousness Was Abandoned. Why Did it Exist in the First Place?

Does crypto make developers, and their investors, believe in the impossible? 

Blockchain entrepreneurs try to tackle AR, VR  and a deluge of other forms of modified reality every day. Last year, a new take on reality surfaced — a project that promised to digitize human life, with data serving as a vessel for human consciousness, even after death.

The prospect of digitizing consciousness has long been the source of conjecture, but this time a small consortium believed, supposedly, that they could make it a reality. The project was called Virternity, a portmanteau of “virtual” and “eternity,” and a term that has recently cropped up in academia. 

According to the Virternity team, this digital world, “would remove the physical constraints upon us and the planet and usher in a completely new plane of existence.” The team, which emphasized its own anonymity above all else, allegedly in the interest of minimizing corporate meddling, went so far as to propose a token — the Virie — which it would use to fund its endeavor. And, according to David Evans Bailey, who wrote “Virternity: The Quest for a Virtual Eternity,” blockchain is the ideal host for this virtual reality due to its, “unchangeable and unfalsifiable information and continuous data storage.”

But hardly any evidence of the project remains today. 

Many far less ambitious blockchain endeavors simply vanish without fanfare into the ether every day. What happened here? Did Virternity’s ambition outgrow its aptitude? Has blockchain become a place where reality can be set aside, where entrepreneurs have come to believe anything goes, a platform onto which we can project our greatest desires, no matter how quixotic or fantastical? 

If you look at the collective white papers for blockchain companies that conducted a token sale over the last few years — and saw their project through to completion — there’s at least one trend you’re sure to find: Developers often wildly overstate their abilities, or anyone’s abilities, for that matter. The result? The final product for investors is a disappointing patchwork of partially executed commitments, completely unrecognizable from its original blueprint. This happens so often, it’s become its own venerated meme template.  

This is not to say failed blockchain projects are inherently fraudulent, rather that innovative technology, fresh capital and the promise of anonymity seem to give us a pass to, occasionally, get carried away. That may just be what happened to Virternity. Or, maybe they just got too caught up on a great name.

It remains unclear, at this point, if Virternity’s blockchain project is still under development in any form. 

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