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Sarcophagus: Extensive Use Case Study


This study was written to give an extensive product market fit overview, and does not constitute any kind of partnership with the mentioned organizations. These are mentioned to provide known examples of where Sarcophagus could be used or integrated based on its given purpose and use cases as a Dead Man’s Switch.


The Sarcophagus Dead Man’s Switch (DMS) provides a decentralized solution to the problem of data recovery or passdown in the event that a user becomes incapacitated, deceased, or unable to access their data. Its purpose is to store data in an encrypted container(sarcophagus) that can only be accessed by the intended recipient when the creator fails to interact in some way. Once the DMS is triggered, the data can be decrypted using the recipient’s private key. Integrations will enable the use of this process as a back-end tool for a wide range of dApps and applications. This will immutably ensure the safe recovery and transfer of sensitive data and digital assets, including passwords, personal documents, financial records, private keys, and even some legacy applications and services.

General Use Case Overview

Digital Living Will

Sarcophagus was designed as a general purpose tool that can service numerous use cases, but the most commonly referenced use case, is inheritance/data passdown in a digital world. For this purpose, Sarcophagus enables users to create a Digital Living Will that is encrypted(this keeps it secret until release), and stored on-chain.

A Digital Living Will can be a document that outlines a person’s preferences for medical treatment in the event that they become incapacitated or unable to communicate their wishes. In this instance, the designated recipient can access the documents and ensure that the patient’s wishes are being respected. It can also be used to store important information such as passwords, email accounts, private keys, and other sensitive data along with instructions to pass on in the case that the owner can no-longer manage them. This ensures that the recipient or heir has access to all the necessary information to carry out accounting, or manage emails and social accounts. Immutable assurance is crucial with important data, and Sarcophagus provides a secure and trustless DMS solution to preserve these digital legacies for future generations.


  • Google created a DMS for accounts called Inactive Account Manager. It allows the account holder to nominate someone else to access their services if not used for an extended period (the default is three months).
  • Facebook has a “Legacy Contact” feature that allows users to designate someone to manage their account after they die.
  • Microsoft has a “Next of Kin” feature for email accounts.
  • Instagram has a “Memorialization” feature.
  • The list goes on!

Emergency Communications

Imagine a scenario where a hiker is lost in the wilderness with no way of communicating with the outside world. They could create a sarcophagus DMS to store emergency contact information that can be accessed by designated contacts, such as close family, to then be relayed to park rangers or search and rescue teams. In the event that the hiker becomes incapacitated or unable to communicate, this recipient can access the information and quickly reach out to their loved ones, providing peace of mind for all parties involved.

This technology can also be used in other emergency situations, such as natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, where communication lines may be down or unreliable. By storing emergency contact information in a sarcophagus, users can rest assured that their loved ones will be notified in the event of an emergency, even if they are unable to communicate themselves.

With this technology, users can be prepared for the unexpected and have peace of mind knowing that their loved ones will be taken care of in times of crisis.

  • Hurricane Katrina (2005): After it hit the Gulf Coast of the United States, many areas were left without power or communication infrastructure. Emergency responders struggled to coordinate their efforts, and many people were unable to call for help or get information about the situation.
  • In the event of an emergency at sea, boats typically use Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs) to transmit a distress signal that can be picked up by nearby vessels or search and rescue teams. However, there are situations where the SART may not be functioning or may not be able to transmit the signal effectively. By periodically transmitting the location data onto the blockchain, the Sarcophagus DMS could act as a backup communication system that can’t be disrupted by a single point of failure.

Political Activism & Journalism

Political activists and journalists are often exposed to risky environments. Their lives, as well as the lives of their sources, are at stake. In order to improve their safety, they need to store sensitive information, such as sources, contacts, and research. This is where Sarcophagus comes in handy. It provides a secure environment for storing critical data which can be accessed by designated recipients. In the case that something happens to the journalist or activist, their work can continue without any interruptions. This ensures that the truth is revealed, and justice is upheld. Furthermore, it can be used to create a backup of data on a regular basis, enabling activists and journalists to have peace of mind knowing that they have a reliable backup of their data for later recovery. This is also handy in cases of boarder-crossing to ensure data isn’t confiscated in these scenarios aswell.

  • According to Press Emblem, over 1130 Journalist and Media worker casualties have occurred since 2013.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists found at least 274 journalists in jail in relation to their work on December 1, 2020, exceeding the high of 272 in 2016.
  • Top10VPN has a tracker for internet shutdowns and governments withholding access to the internet as a form of social control. Currently they have tracked an economic cost of over $42bil in the name of government censorship.

Password and Credential Recovery

Another potential use case for the Sarcophagus DMS is the recovery of lost or forgotten credentials. Users could store their recovery information, such as email passwords or security questions, in a sarcophagus that can only be accessed by the user. This would ensure that users have a secure way to recover their accounts without relying on traditional recovery methods that may be susceptible to hacking or social engineering attacks.

Example Recovery Integration Scenarios:

Gnosis Safe: Signers on a Safe could use the DMS to safeguard access in the case one of the signers loses their ability to sign. This could be an integrated backup that passes the signing rights to another address, or simply sends the PK of that current address in a file to a recipient.

Twitter or other Social Media users could use the DMS as a recovery option feature for lost account access recovery. This would provide a trustless structure for execution instead of using centralized servers for recovery options.


  • Studies by Chainalysis in 2017+2020 sighted that around 20% of the existing Bitcoin in circulation is lost, with a significant portion attributed to lost private keys.
  • Password reset/recovery emails are often sent to a user’s alternate email address and in certain cases this could be unreliable if servers are down, the recovery email isn’t in use, or the recovery email is also compromised.

Time Capsule

A time capsule is a way to preserve memories and artifacts for future generations. Thanks to the permanence of the Arweave blockchain, the Sarcophagus DMS can be used as a time capsule to store important documents, photos, and videos for future generations to “unwrap”. This ensures that future generations can access this information and learn about their family history, or maybe a DAO township can leave a digital historical collection. Also, because of it’s encryption feature, the contents will remain secret until it is time. The possibilities for long-term storage are limitless!


  • Some of the most famous time capsules include the Crypt of Civilization, which was sealed in 1940 and is intended to remain sealed until the year 8113, and the Westinghouse Time Capsules, which were buried at the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs and are scheduled to be opened in the years 6939 and 8113, respectively.
  • While time capsules are generally intended to be opened at a specific date in the future, there have been instances where they were lost or forgotten. In some cases, time capsules have been discovered by accident during construction or excavation work.
  • There is no guaranteed way to ensure that a physical time capsule will remain intact for a specific period of time, as factors such as erosion, moisture, and temperature changes can all affect the preservation of the contents.

Node/Operator Reputation

In the Sarcophagus network, node reputation is an essential aspect that helps users choose which nodes they want to monitor their sarcophagus. The node reputation system is designed to display a node’s performance based on successful and failed unwraps, and accusals of malicious behavior. These metrics help users identify the most reliable nodes in the network to use.

By showcasing their track record for guarding sarcophagi effectively, node operators can demonstrate their reliability and competence to potential users or partners who may be interested in using the Sarcophagus network or the operator’s services in some other technical way.

Another way node operators could potentially leverage this information is by sharing it on their social media channels or including it in their own marketing materials. They could highlight their reliability as a key selling point for potential users or partners. They could also use this information to build trust with their existing network connections, which could lead to repeat business and organic referrals.

Node reputational stats are an essential aspect of the Sarcophagus network’s use case and value proposition for both users and node operators alike.

Possible Integrations — Extensive List

The following is an extensive list of potential integration examples. This list gives a better idea of the depth and magnitude of potential integration based use cases.

Note: Most of these uses could also be executed manually by a user with the Tomb dApp front-end in the absence of such integrations.

These are just a few examples of how the Sarcophagus DMS could be integrated with various applications to provide secure data recovery and passdown solutions. By leveraging it’s functionalities in this way, users can benefit from a more secure and reliable way to store and recover their data in case of unexpected events.


The Sarcophagus DMS provides users with the ability to manage their data recovery and passdown through a censorship-resistant smart contract. This utility has numerous use cases, with more to be explored, and addresses critical issues in our current digital landscape. By providing an immutable, trustless, and reliable solution, it preserves digital legacies for future generations and ensures that crucial data remains secure, unchanged, and available when needed.

Written By Humans With Help From AI

Some sight links may change over time, and become dead links. This information has been edited thoroughly for accuracy, but some errors may persist with mentioned links and references.