Data storage is a hot item. How much control and privacy do you really have in cloud or similar solutions? Is your storage safe? Many questions and not always a desirable answer. So, decentralized blockchain storage seems like a no-brainer. One of the top options for this is Arweave.
So, we take this opportunity to take a deep dive into Arweave. We will have two articles in this series. So let’s examine the basics of Arweave.
Nobody should have the right to choose what apps you use.
It's your hardware. It should be your choice.
— 🐘🔗 sam.arweave.dev (@samecwilliams) January 24, 2023
What Is Arweave?
Arweave is a Web3 protocol that offers permanent storage. Their software stores files in a decentralized way. In other words, your files get stored on a network of computers. Everybody who has extra storage space on his computer can join Arweave.
Filecoin and Sia offer a similar service and are competitors. However, what makes Arweave different is their unique permanent storage option. They do this with incentives in the form of their AR token. This is in total contrast to centralized storage options. For example, companies like Google, Amazon, or Dropbox. Their services are short-term. If you don’t pay their monthly fees, your data is no longer stored.
On the other hand, Arweave offers storage at a one-time upfront cost. The average cost of storage is also decreasing. Over the last 50 years, it decreased by 30.5% per year. They expect this trend to continue. So, you pay per file, in AR, it’s native token. Each file has a different price tag. Bigger music files or smaller written content files. It may seem that a monthly payment looks cheaper, but not if you compare it to the permanent storage option.
Over time, Arweave is the better option. Their permanent storage is a guaranteed time frame of 200 years. This is what they consider to be a conservative estimate. Arweave also just released their brand-new website. Another advantage of Arweave is that you can read your stored files on a traditional browser. So, you don’t need a special wallet or any other form of blockchain service.
— Arweave Ecosystem (@ArweaveEco) November 2, 2022
What Is Permaweb?
Arweave is a blockchain. However, they use a slightly different technology. They don’t have their blocks in chains, like most blockchains. In contrast, Arweave uses a graph of blocks to store data. So, a new block links to two earlier blocks instead of one. They call this structure a “blockweave.” For example, the Hedera Hashgraph blockchain also uses this technology.
They also use a different way to check accuracy of the new blocks. We can also call this the consensus mechanism. For example, Bitcoin uses proof-of work, and Ethereum uses proof-of-stake. Instead, Arweave uses proof-of-access. Before all computers in the network can add a new block, they need to check if a previous block has a randomly selected marker. If this marker is present, they can add the new block.
Now, the permaweb are URLs. Or, in other words, a long string of letters and numbers. They look the same as other blockchain addresses. Each uploaded file has a permanent link back to this address. To upload a file, you need to pay the one-time fee with the AR token.
However, the storage hosts, or the “miners,” can refuse certain files. For instance, a miner can decide to only accept music files. Individuals can store, for example:
- Digital art
- Important documents
- Written content
A business may have another interest, like:
- Other blockchains store their data. For example, Solana, Near, Cosmos, or Polkadot.
- Government data, like land titles.
- Academic papers.
The picture below shows a permaweb URL.
Arweave’s Domain Name
As we just saw, an Arweave address is difficult to read. It’s not a human read-friendly address. Exactly like ENS, the Ethereum Name Service, there’s also the Arweave’s Domain Name (ANS).
You can see ANS as the permaweb’s identity layer. In other words, you receive a human readable name for your Arweave address. You can use this through the whole Arweave ecosystem. Be aware that you need an Arweave compatible wallet. For example, the Arweave.app web wallet, ArConnect, or Finnie. Here’s a step-by-step guide to set up your Arweave.app web wallet.
How Do You Buy Arweave’s Token?
The Arweave AR token is available on most crypto exchanges. For example, you can buy AR on:
- MEXC Global
There are also smaller, local exchanges that offer the AR token. For instance, Bitvavo in the Netherlands, WazirX in India, or TokoCrypto in Indonesia.
To Sum Up
The current price of the AR token is $10.25. It has a market cap of $512 million. The max supply of AR tokens is 66 million. Out of these, 50 million already circulate.
You can read the second part.
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