What exactly is Arweave? I’ve seen them a lot in the blockchain space, but I haven’t paid much attention to what services they provide in the web3 space. But they recently piqued my interest when Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of commerce, FinTech, and Web3, announced that Instagram will use Arweave to store digital collectibles.
I happen to follow them on twitter, let take a look at their twitter bio
From the twitter bio, I can gather that Arweave protocol is the first truly permanent information storage network, backed by a sustainable endowment.
Meta plans to use this move to bring data permanency to its platform. Arweave allows users to retain information forever. The data, once entered, cannot be altered. Interested users need to purchase the storage space by paying the AR token.
Here’s the big question, how does Arweave store data permanently?
It achieves this by connects people who have extra hard drive space with people and organizations who need to store data or host content permanently. This is similar to how Uber matches drivers with people in need of transportation. This is accomplished through the use of a decentralized network, such as Bitcoin, and all data stored is backed by a sustainable endowment, ensuring its availability in perpetuity.
The traditional web’s original vision was to enable humanity to create an accessible collection of everything known to us. While it has been mostly successful, it has the downside of having no memory, which is a major flaw. When documents are removed from one of the network’s servers, they are removed from the knowledge base.
Furthermore, when their authors and maintainers remove or change applications that were previously hosted in this system, they are no longer available. The permaweb on Arweave is the next evolution of the web, allowing developers and users to share a resilient knowledge base that is perpetually replicated in massive numbers across the globe.
Arweave is the permaweb’s base protocol. This system is powered by two key components: a scalable blockchain-like structure that employs a new mining system and a long-term endowment to ensure the availability and permanence of arbitrarily-tagged data. A decentralized network of gateway servers sits on top of the Arweave protocol, making data easily accessible to web browsers without the need for modification or specialist software.
The permaweb is not only useful for storing static files; it can also be used to host full, decentralized web applications. When hosted, these applications live independently inside the Permaweb, governed purely by their own code, answering to no person or higher authority. Once launched, a permaweb application cannot be modified by anyone and can be used by everyone, permissionlessly.
- Arweave: The core data replication system that ensures availability through a decentralized and long-term endowment.
- Gateways: Content delivery servers that are supported by a variety of business models and incentives (for example, Amplify and Meson.Network).
- GraphQL: A querying system exposed by gateways that allows all network data to be queried in the same way that traditional databases and web applications do. GraphQL allows you to find posts by users, filter by arbitrary tags and timestamps, and so on.
- SmartWeave: A straightforward smart contracting system that allows you to incorporate incentive design elements (‘programmable money’) into your applications. SmartWeave refers to a variety of possible components from which to choose, such as different programming languages, caching mechanisms, execution engines, and more, allowing you to tailor the environment to your specific needs.
Finally Arweave is an entirely community-owned and run open source network. This community has created a comprehensive set of tools and services that enable you to launch completely decentralized applications on top of the permaweb. These tools offer user interface hosting, database writes and queries, and smart contracts for programming financial rewards and incentives. This tool set is modular and interchangeable, allowing you to find the ideal technology combination to meet the needs of your decentralized web app.