Arkhold derives its name from the story of Noah's Ark.  Noah wanted to preserve life by carrying it safely through time and adversity in the hold of his ark.

For Arkhold, the Hold is the memory storage of the Internet, and the Ark is the financial endowment that supports the maintenance of that memory.  Following this metaphor, Noah and his brothers are the Archivist and Trustees that oversee Arkhold.

The idea of Arkhold was developed by David Walton Gore in 2006.  He first explored it as a commercial concept (Arkhold.Inc) but found little interest, largely because of the initial cost of setting up an endowment ($2,500 per site, which included major corporate income tax expense).

The subsequent incarnation of Arkhold as a perpetual Delaware trust eliminates taxes on the endowment.  Unfortunately, taxes on trust income are low only for small trusts whose income is less than $2,000 per year.  It follows that the use of trusts to fund website maintenance is best suited to supporting a small number of websites per trust.

Arkhold is designed to operate with minimal supervision.  Income from mutual funds is automatically deposited in a bank account, and payments from that bank account are automatically made to website hosting companies.  The Archivist checks the account periodically, and ensures that taxes are paid each year.  The Trustees - initially, one from each participating family - handle policy changes and replace the Archivist when necessary.    Archivist and Trustees are unpaid positions.

For a more extended discussion of the preservation of online information, see the January 5, 2011 NY Times article "Cyberspace When You're Dead."
About Arkhold