Speak for yourself. I absolutely consider the study of history to be of critical importance. I consider it our duty to future generations to document as much about the present as we can. The SAFE network has the potential to be of enormous value in the study of history. Every common data storage medium has a finite lifespan. By constantly copying data to new media, the SAFE network may be our only chance of archiving the enormous amount of historical data that’s in danger of being lost. I believe that this era, the start of the digital age, will be of enormous interest to future historians.
I’m all for anonymity, in the sense of not being able to trace a certain upload to a certain person, but I don’t think that will be compromised by knowing what century a file was first uploaded.
There are a lot of advantages to having it at the network level that I think you’re overlooking. Provable anteriority could be a very useful tool, one that you might not realize you need until it’s too late. If you upload a creative work with your signature, and someone else uploads it with your signature removed, being able to prove yours was uploaded first could be pretty useful. Everyone talks about the information that tyrannical governments don’t want you to see; timestamps could be a very useful tool in separating the real thing from the hoaxes.
Timestamping at the app level is not enough. It wouldn’t be universal, and it might not be verifiable.