Welcome to the realm of digital permanence, where data storage evolves into an eternal experience. In this ultimate guide to Arweave, we will unravel the fascinating world of a trailblazing data storage protocol that is defying the odds and reshaping the industry’s landscape. Venture with us as we explore the inception of this cutting-edge technology, its distinguishing features, and the myriad use cases it empowers.
As you immerse yourself in this extraordinary guide, expect to witness an unconventional yet professional perspective on the astonishing world of Arweave. Are you ready to take a leap into the future of data storage? Let the journey begin.
Arweave was initially established as Archain in 2017, and later rebranded in 2018 while participating in the Techstars Berlin mentorship program. The company’s primary objective is to provide long-lasting, affordable storage solutions through its innovative Arweave network, which utilizes a unique block-based data structure known as the “blockweave.”
The blockweave forms the foundation of Arweave’s permaweb, a collection of data, websites, and applications hosted on the network. The Arweave protocol is built atop the HTTP protocol, making the permaweb easily accessible through popular web browsers like Brave or Google Chrome. By offering AR tokens as compensation, Arweave encourages individuals with extra hard drive space to store data on its network indefinitely. The company envisions storage costs decreasing over time, with a specific formula used to estimate the cost of storing particular data. A detailed explanation of Arweave’s assumptions can be found in its yellowpaper.
Arweave’s mainnet debuted in June 2018, initially involving 1800 pre-selected participants from various countries. Prior to the launch, the company conducted an initial token sale exclusively for whitelisted individuals.
What is Arweave?
Arweave is a cutting-edge data storage protocol based on blockweave technology. This protocol enables the creation of an underlying network designed for perpetual data storage and accessibility through its permaweb—a secondary layer that displays data in a human-readable format (e.g., via web browsers). As a Web3 protocol, Arweave offers decentralized data storage across a network of devices, much like other storage coin projects.
Arweave’s unique proposition is its provision of permanent storage for a one-time upfront fee, distinguishing it from competitors in the data storage space. Although the company technically guarantees 200 years of storage, its permanent storage feature remains a captivating aspect of its offerings. Arweave is currently operational and has partnered with the Internet Archive to back up data collections.
How Does Arweave Work
To fully comprehend how Arweave functions, it’s essential to understand the two layers involved: blockweave and permaweb.
Blockweave deviates from conventional blockchains, which are the foundation for many cryptocurrencies. Instead of just storing transactional information, blockweave stores data information within each block. While typical blockchains reference their immediate predecessor, blockweave links each block to a randomly selected “recall block” as well.
Arweave’s unique architecture is made possible by a novel consensus mechanism called SPoRA (Succinct Proof of Random Access). This mechanism rewards nodes in the network for storing Arweave’s entire transaction history. For example, if you operate a node on the Arweave blockchain, you’ll need to prove your access to the data in both the previous block and a randomly selected recall block to earn block rewards. Failure to access the recall block indicates incomplete storage of transactional data, resulting in no block reward. This approach incentivizes node participants to store as much data as possible, despite not knowing which previous block will be required to earn rewards.
Permaweb is the other key component of the Arweave network. It’s a decentralized web built atop the Arweave blockchain, hosting all Arweave DApps. These DApps can be accessed through various gateways resembling standard websites. The Arweave protocol employs HTTP, allowing the permaweb to interact seamlessly with the World Wide Web (WWW).
Arweave Use Cases
Arweave’s unique proof of access consensus mechanism makes it the ideal decentralized blockchain for storing large amounts of data. Here are some core applications that demonstrate the potential of Arweave’s technology:
- Decentralized Data Storage: Arweave allows users to store personal and corporate files for a single fee, eliminating the recurring monthly costs associated with other storage protocols. This approach ensures data is immutable, verifiable, and truly censorship-resistant. Depending on the storage duration, the cost of AR tokens could be more economical than competitors like Filecoin or AWS. Moreover, the blockweave design guarantees near-instant data availability and 100% uptime through miner incentives.
- Decentralized Data Sharing: Arweave enables users to anonymously upload and share content with anyone. Imagine a peer-to-peer torrent network with a guaranteed seeder for every file. Arweave’s protocol includes an embedded mathematical pricing function that balances demand and supply at fair prices, allowing any file to be published and stored indefinitely without interference from powerful third parties.
- Decentralized Data Collaboration: Arweave can help transform the $25 billion-per-year academic publishing industry, which currently faces issues like non-replicable research papers due to unclear connections with previous research or lack of access to experimental datasets. Arweave’s technology facilitates the creation of an immutable decentralized database, enabling borderless scientific cooperation and rewarding research based on its true impact. The company has already partnered with Charité, Germany’s largest university hospital, to develop a groundbreaking scientific journal.
- Decentralized Data Identity/Protection: As valuable content is increasingly created online, Arweave can help prove its origin, ownership, and impact in a decentralized manner, bypassing the need for centralized regulators and lawyers. With Arweave, each piece of content is timestamped and archived in the blockweave, offering a clear and defensible claim of intellectual property and ownership.
AR is the native cryptocurrency of the Arweave blockchain, serving multiple purposes within the ecosystem. Out of its maximum supply of 66 million tokens, over 55 million were minted in the genesis block during the Arweave mainnet launch in June 2018. The remaining tokens will be allocated as block rewards for Arweave nodes. At the time of writing, there are over 33 million AR tokens in circulation. Once the additional 33 million tokens are minted, the cryptocurrency will become deflationary.
AR tokens play a significant role within the Arweave ecosystem. All transaction fees on the Arweave network, including those for data storage and retrieval, as well as interactions with various DApps built on the platform, must be paid in AR. Users who want to store data on the Arweave blockchain are required to pay for distributed data storage using AR tokens. Furthermore, computers within the network that provide storage services must accept their incentives exclusively in AR tokens.
Arweave is a groundbreaking data storage protocol that has the potential to revolutionize the way we store, share, and collaborate on information. By leveraging blockweave technology and the permaweb, Arweave offers a decentralized, secure, and perpetual storage solution with a variety of compelling use cases.
From personal file storage to decentralized collaboration in academia, Arweave is driving the evolution of data storage in the era of Web3. As this ultimate guide has demonstrated, Arweave’s innovative approach to data storage and its vibrant ecosystem of AR tokens and DApps are setting the stage for a new chapter in the world of digital permanence. The future of data storage is here, and it’s called Arweave.