Arweave token (AR) is a utility token of the decentralized platform with the same name that employs the Proof of Access protocol designed to deliver persistent, scalable storage. It is not an ERC20 token as it resides on its own blockchain. The information technology and on-chain data storage techniques employed by the project provide unparalleled levels of data replication thus solving the common problem encountered by many blockchains. The company behind the project is a London-based entity that was founded in July 2017 by Sam Williams and Williams Jones.
The problem of handling the petabytes of data has become rather acute nowadays. Exponential amounts of data should be stored somewhere and this blockchain has come up with a new solution. The goal of the project is to create a global, permanent blockchain-based hard drive to develop a decentralized, high bandwidth, uncensored, and immutable low-cost storage. It’s possible to make content immune to censorship or failure of any kind thanks to this technology. With Arweave’s solution called permaweb no dead links will be met on the web anymore.
The project is developed by a team of computer scientists from the University of Kent who participated in the TechStars Berlin 2018 accelerator program known as Archain then. Later the name was changed to avoid an analogy with similarly named projects (Rchain, Achain, etc.), TechStars became an incubator where this project was developed.
The Arweave platform solves the storage problem and doesn’t allow modification and forging of the content. The cryptographic link to all other blocks allows the network to detect and reject any changes to documents.
The service connects users with enough disk space with those pursuing an opportunity to securely store data. With the mainnet launched on June 8th, 2018, Arweave offers improved data replication with additional security mechanisms for the ecosystem members. Financial incentives are also offered to participants.
The Blockweave feature, which is a kind of data structure of the blockchain, allows nodes to join the network without delay. In the case of the contract to other blockchains, Arweave gives nodes the option to store a whole blockchain or its carrying load. It’s enough to download the latest block for synchronization with two innovative core elements in it which are blockhash and wallet list (a list of hashes of previous blocks and a list of active wallets). It contributes to faster validation of previous blocks and verification of transactions without the last transaction block.
The consensus algorithm employed by Airweave is a combination of Proof-of-Access with Proof-of-Work (PoW). This technology allows conducting faster verification of transactions and blocks as it lightens the data load for miners who have to store only one of the previous blocks. The block is selected randomly and called a ‘recall block’, which is then incorporated into the next one along with the latest transactions. Storage is a common problem for other blockchains as miners can’t accept other blocks without enough storage for data. The members of the Arweave community don’t encounter such situations thanks to innovative Arweave solutions.
Wildfire, which is an incentive design of the blockchain, features a ranking system that helps to create a fast block and distribute the data with nodes that deliver access to data for free. The system is sustainable as low ranking nodes are excluded from the network. Only the best nodes are employed for storage thus serving the goal of the system’s self-optimization.
It’s also worthwhile mentioning the Blockshadows technology, which is a method to strip down the information of the block without facing the validation problem. 2 new concepts are introduced in this project enabling nodes to perform their main work without access to the entire chain. It is achieved with the list of hashes of blocks and the list of active wallets.
2.0 Arweave started using bundled transactions, which are a Layer 2 technology enabling movement of Arweave transaction off-chain, and Fast Write mechanism that keeps the proof of transaction from Merkle root accessible on the network pushing data to local storage on nodes that will carry data.
AR token and financial details
The project conducted ICO on June 6, 2018, during which it raised 8.7 million USD. On November 6, 2019, it also managed to raise 5 million USD in a token sale with investments from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Union Square Ventures (USV), and Multicoin Capital. Thanks to the token sale, the number of apps doubled on the blockchain and reached 200. The number of daily transactions also climbed significantly then.
On March 5, 2020, the platform raised another 8.3 million USD in the next funding round, again from Andreessen Horowitz who is a lead investor of the project, Union Square Ventures, and Coinbase Ventures this time. It helped to establish such programs as Arweave Grants and Arweave Boost to further the community ecosystem initiatives and to foster the development and decentralization of the platform.
The project is headed by Sam Williams, CEO of file storage service Arweave, B.SC Computer Science from the University of Nottingham, and is a Ph.D. candidate in CS from the University of Kent. He co-founded the platform with Williams Jones, CTO of Arweave, B.SC CS, Masters in CS, and is a Ph.D. CS candidate at the University of Kent. It’s also worth noting India Raybould, COO, and developers Damon Sweeney and Jon Sherry, the graduates of Kent University.
Though the key members of the team haven’t had experience in other blockchain projects, the level of their ambitions is high. At the time of writing, the project is nearing their dreams to create their own “Library of Alexandria”. They assert that the advanced scaling technology and the launch of the 2.0 chain make the storage capabilities infinite.