Blockchain technology has become a tool of disruption in virtually all sectors of economic activities. Since this innovative technology was introduced to the world by Satoshi Nakamoto, it has grown into the most talked about technological creation of the fourth industrial revolution.
Blockchain technology was created originally as a decentralized ledger for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but since the advancement of its capabilities, it has been employed in almost all sectors of economic and human activities you can think of, from healthcare to energy, sports, supply chain, and now storage.
Data storage is the most important component of the internet; this is because data controls everything. Quoting George Orwell’s book 1984: “who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past.”
To have control of these events means having access to accurate data which helps you predict and control the outcomes of events, plan for the present and also the future. Data was meant to be accessed by everyone that has need for it, but it is not so, this is due to censorship and hoarding of data by large corporations or data providers, giving few centralized powers the power to control the past, present and future to their own will.
This is where Arweave comes in, to create a censor free data storage platform built with a blockchain technology-like system called the Blockweave. Arweave’s underlying technology called the Blockweave works on a Proof of Access validation mechanism.
Centralization of data made it hard to access data, but with a the recent application of blockchain technology to data storage, leading to decentralization of data, Arweave has solved the long term issue faced in the trillion dollar data storage industry: which is the complete decentralization of data.
With Blockweave the storage of data has become low-cost and truly permanent. Arweave was created by a team of young and highly experienced developers led by Sam Williams, and the project was developed in 2017, with token sale starting in June 2018.
Features of Arweave Data Storage Technology
There are certain features of the Arweave data storage platform that makes it the most desirable data blockchain based storage platform in the market presently.
- Scalability: With the help of its underlying blockchain-like technology called Blockweave, the Arweave team has created a truly remarkable data storage platform with a high level of scalability to power the newly decentralized data economy.
The Arweave platform can achieve throughput of 5000 transactions per second (TPS) which is facilitated by something called ‘block shadows’ on the Blockweave platform.
- Decentralized Application development: The Arweave data storage platform has an integrated Application Programming Interface (API) called the REST API (found here) that gives developers the opportunity to build Decentralized Arweave Applications (DApps) on the Blockweave network.
Developers can even build Arweave apps with any programming language they desire; this has been the motivating factor behind most of the apps built on the Blockweave network even before the mainnet launches.
- Proof of Access consensus: The Arweave platform comes with a unique and innovative consensus mechanism called the Proof of Access. The amazing thing about Arweave’s Proof of Access consensus mechanism is how it utilizes energy.
Other consensus mechanisms require a lot of energy consumption to run smoothly, but with the Proof of Access consensus mechanism, a positive externality of energy can be produced. Instead of miners burning a ridiculous amount of electricity to validate transactions on the Blockweave network, they are required to produce replications of data held in the system.
More importantly, as the Blockweave increases in blocks, the amount of electricity used for the mining process will reduce accordingly.
This is Arweave’s inbuilt self organizing network algorithm that ensure AR miners are incentivized enough to share and store data with other miners in the Blockweave network.
This wildfire algorithm allows the network to correspond or adjust itself to the best route of information distribution. This means the system can automatically detect the best node tonshare and store data with, and adapt without depending on human decision to implement its decision.
Nodes in the Blockweave network always require quick access to data so they can mine optimally; this wildfire algorithm gives these nodes extra incentives to share data with other members autonomously. This makes data sharing on the Blockweave network extremely fast.
The vision behind the creation of Arweave is to give the world a truly decentralized storage platform that is scalable and cost efficient. Using the Proof of Access consensus mechanism, the hashing power needed for consensus decreases as the blocks on the Blockweave network increases, thereby reducing power consumption and driving down cost.
Arweave’s value proposition is to provide a solution for permanently storing data in a theft free and immutable manner that helps prevent data manipulation and theft. Arweave also wants to create a unique environment where DApss can be created on the Blockweave network.
There are already applications built atop the Blockweave network. They include:
- The Journal of Raw Data, a brand-new open access biomedical journal built by Charite, one of the largest hospitals in Europe;
- A Permanent Internet Archive, an immutable Internet archive that helps prevent intentional censorship or data loss by accident;
- Legal Document Storage, where users can permanently store their legal files reliably and verifiably and;
- Verifiable Democracy, “A private voting system for government elections. …ensuring no party or individual can ever subvert the election results.”
The Arweave Token
The Arweave token (with a ticker AR) will be used on the Blockweave network as the native cryptocurrency of the platform, and also by developers purchasing tools that enable them to create DApps on the Blockweave network. Payments will be made by users in AR, which will then be distributed as reward to miners who are responsible for verification of blocks. The AR token has a native wallet. The token can be divided up to 12 decimals. The smallest division of AR is called the winston (where 1 AR = 1000000000000 winston).
Token Distribution and Sale
The Arweave token sale will commence June 2018 (no exact date announced yet as of the time of writing). The token sale has a hard cap of $8.7 million USD. During the crowdsale, 1 AR will be for $0.74 USD, and payments in ETH are allowed. Participants from USA, China, North Korea, Iran will not be allowed from participating in the token sale.
The total token supply (66,000,000 AR) will be distributed as follows: 48.5% will be available for sale, 26.5% to reserve, 19.1% to ecosystem, 13% to team, 2.9% to advisors
Team behind Arweave
The Arweave team is made of highly experienced blockchain developers, industry experts and advisors. The team is the strength of this project, and the team members are:
Sam Williams (CEO and Co-founder): A computer science PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham, and an avid research student of decentralized systems.
William Jones (CTO and Co-founder): A PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham, and an expert developer.
India Raybould (CCO): An experienced psychologist, which makes her highly worthy of being the Chief coordinating officer.
Kyle Beckles (Senior Developer): A graduate of software engineering from the University of Nottingham, and an experienced developer.
Anthony Ryan: Anthony is a serial entrepreneur and also Head of Growth at Quantstamp. He’s a member of the Arweave advisory board.
More information on the rest of the team and the advisory board can be found at https://arweave.org/#team
The Arweave project is indeed an exciting one. A world where data storage is decentralized, scalable and of low cost will be achieved when the Arweave project finally goes online. A major downside is the saturation of the decentralized data storage space, with well-grounded competitors like Storj, MaidSafe and FileCoin performing admirably. However, if they can leverage the price factor and also deliver what they promised, they’ll do very well.