We often assume that because information is readily available to us in this age, it can never be altered or lost. However, this is untrue. Even though we now have a decentralized way to store and share information, we don’t have enough systems that support permanent knowledge storage.
Although some blockchain technologies like Stellar Lumen and Cardano are focused on improving consensus algorithms between nodes, they still face the problem of inefficient data storage.
Arweave exists to fill this gap of poor data storage. By focusing on solving storage first, Arweave has become a blockchain network where permanent and low-cost storage is a reality.
In this article, you will learn about how the Arweave technology works and the interesting use cases of its utility token called AR.
What is Arweave?
Arweave is a new data storage protocol that has a blockchain-like structure called the Blockweave. It’s built on a unique proof-of-access consensus mechanism that provides a truly permanent and cheap data storage structure for the first time.
It delivers a truly scalable infrastructure to serve as the backbone for the data economy by processing up to 5000 tp/s, whilst at the same time making storage cheaper. In fact, it stores data at a fraction of the cost of its competitors like Filecoin, Siacoin, and Storj over the long term.
The Arweave network has a native cryptocurrency, AR, which is used to pay “miners” to continually store data from users on the network. It has a maximum token supply of 66 million AR. Fifty-five (55) million AR was minted when the blockweave’s genesis block was created in June 2018, and an additional 11 million will be gradually created as block rewards.
Arweave was first named Archain in August 2017 and later rebranded to Arweave in February 2018. It was officially launched in June 2018 by Sam Williams and William Jones, two Ph.D. candidates at the University of Kent.
With the Proof of Access (PoA) mechanism, each new block is not only linked to the one mined immediately before it but to a random previous block as well, and both blocks are hashed to generate the new one.
Arweave Use Case: Transaction Fees
Arweave users make use of AR to pay a one-time, up-front fee to store their data permanently. This is different from what occurs in Web2 or Web3 storage platforms like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Filecoin, where users make recurring payments.
While customers that make use of such pay-as-you-go platforms could be at the risk of experiencing future price increases or changes of terms, Arweave users can continually access stored data for free.
The AR token that users pay as transaction fees doesn’t go to a miner immediately. Rather, at least 86% of them are allocated to a special vault known as storage endowment. From there, the transaction fees will be distributed to miners over time to ensure sustainable miner economics and continual storage.
The endowment is currently growing its reserves and is not expected to start paying out until Arweave’s permaweb is several times larger than the current surface web.
Arweave Use Case: Miner’s Rewards
AR is also paid to miners as incentives on the Arweave platform. Arweave’s data structure, called blockweaves, is quite similar to blockchain’s original design. However, each newly mined block is linked to two previous blocks: The previous block in the chain and a block from the previous history of the blockchain called a “recall block”.
In Arweave, miners must be able to access a recall block before they can mine new ones and gain rewards. This is called Succinct Proofs of Random Access, or SPoRA).
Due to the fact that the choice of the recall block is unpredictable, miners are incentivized to store larger amounts of data, in order to increase their chances of having access to the correct recall block. Then they will be able to mine new ones and receive mining rewards.
This reward mechanism also encourages miners to store more unique blocks instead of well-replicated ones, since they compete with a smaller number of miners for the same level of rewards.
With this mining approach, Arweave takes a probabilistic and reward-driven approach to provide data replicability and permanent storage. The impact of these incentives is that blocks will be rarely dropped by the network.
Arweave Use Case: Mint Wrapped AR (wAR)
Another use case of AR is that it can be used by its holders to mint wrapped AR (wAR). wAR is a wrapped version of the AR token that works on the Ethereum network. Wrapped tokens allow interoperability between two different blockchains.
The Arweave blockweave and Ethereum blockchain are not easily compatible, but by wrapping AR into an ERC20 token, AR holders can use their minted wAR for different DeFi functions in Ethereum. For instance, holders can use wAR in liquidity pools, yield farming, staking, and many other activities in the Ethereum network.
wAR is an ERC20 token created by everFinance. EverFinance is the DAO that facilitates the swap, which means AR goes into their custody and they provide wAR in return.
Every wAR token has a 1:1 value with AR and can be exchanged back to the native token at any time. Also, the wAR can be traded for any token supported by Uniswap.
Furthermore, wAR makes it possible to easily swap ETH for AR while avoiding Binance. This makes it possible for ETH holders to interact with Arweave’s ecosystem since AR is necessary to use Arweave apps like ArDrive, Koii, decent.land, CommunityXYZ, and more.
What is Special About Arweave (AR)?
Arweave’s innovative platform brings so many unique benefits to the market. For instance, it’s among the first decentralized networks that is dedicated to providing permanent data hosting. The platform also provides limitless access to the global market, whereby anyone from anywhere, can leverage Arweave’s network to support their advanced projects.
In addition, Arweave incorporates various top-level security features. One of them is that the system makes use of enterprise-level encryption to keep your data safe. This makes the data inaccessible to the nodes hosting the information. Even Arweave can’t view your data.
Not only that, there is no risk of loss of your stored data because your data is hosted across multiple nodes simultaneously. If one storage breaks down or is corrupted, the others can fill the void and keep your data accessible. With this advantage, Arweave users enjoy more security than what most centralized competitors currently provide.