Memory is something that degrades over time. That statement is true for both human memory and computer memory. As time passes, computer chips wear out and need to be replaced. A company by the name of Carverr has come up with a solution to this age-old problem – store data in DNA. Until recently, reading and writing DNA was complex and highly expensive, but it is now so affordable that people are beginning to use DNA storage to house their private keys for crypto wallets. It is an intriguing solution to remembering your private key or password, and DNA can last for up to 10,000 years if stored in the correct conditions – much longer than your average hard drive to say the very least.
How Does it Work?
All DNA on the planet is made up of four base pairs in G, C, A, and T – don’t worry, we won’t go into too much detail about how base pairs work. Each of these base pairs contains the information that creates life, and scientists have found a way to put data inside these pairs. You can fit a maximum of 455 exabytes of data into 1 gram of DNA – that’s 455 billion gigabytes per gram.
Scientists use a machine to encode the base pairs with the data you want to store, and then wrap it up into a DNA chain. This DNA chain can then be decoded by a DNA decoding machine and will reveal your password. To put the potential of DNA storage into perspective, you can put every movie ever created into a bundle of DNA roughly the size of a sugar cube.
The Potential Downside of DNA Private Keys
While the technology sounds pretty awesome, there are some major pitfalls with it. In order for the DNA to live to its full potential of 10,000 years it needs to be kept in a freezer. Every time you take it out to get your private key or password, you will reduce its life expectancy. Secondly, anyone with a DNA reader can discover your private key, so if it becomes more mainstream you have no advantages of using it. Lastly, it’s very expensive to do. It currently costs around 7c per base pair and you need a minimum of 14285 bases for your private key. That works out at around $1000 just to store your private key in the freezer.
Stick to Hardware Wallets
For the money you are going to spend on a password that lives in your freezer, you can buy yourself a whole bunch of the best hardware crypto wallets. If you are set on keeping your private key in the freezer, you are better off writing it down on a piece of paper and putting it in with the ice cream – although if someone wants to steal your private key, we are betting the freezer will be the first place they search now.
DNA storage might be the future of storage, but for now it doesn’t really have a home in the crypto world. A DNA encrypted private key would make for a great novelty gift, but the hefty price tag might put a lot of people off. On the other hand, if you’re more about spending rather than saving, head over to Coinbase right now, as they have vouchers so you can spend your cryptos with almost any major brand.