Analysis Technology
April 12, 2023

Arweave: Revolutionizing Data Storage and Sharing in the Web 3.0 Era

Arweave: Revolutionizing Data Storage and Sharing in the Web 3.0 Era

Key Takeaways

  • Arweave is a decentralized blockchain platform that provides permanent data storage and retrieval, securely protecting it from unauthorized access.
  • Arweave has raised more than $13 million from top-tier funds, such as a16z, Coinbase Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Multicoin Capital, to grow its ecosystem.
  • Arweave’s permanent data storage is used by tech giants like Meta and Instagram.
  • Arweave uses a unique proof-of-access consensus model to motivate network participants to store and maintain data on the network, rewarding them with AR tokens.
  • The Arweave Ecosystem has more than 100 projects utilizing Arweave both as a storage layer and execution environment.
  • Warp Contracts is a data-processing layer on top of Arweave that offers a unique value proposition of on-chain computing for dApps and web3 projects like social media.
  • The Arweave team comprises experienced professionals with various backgrounds and expertise.

Introduction

One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, driven by the desire to create a more decentralized and user-centric internet, where individuals have greater control over their data and digital identities.

Arweave is a blockchain-based platform that aims to facilitate just that by providing a decentralized and permanent way of storing and sharing data. With Arweave, users can store data forever without the need for centralized servers or third-party intermediaries. This has the potential to revolutionize how we think about data storage and sharing and could be a key driver of the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. This research will explore the Arweave ecosystem in detail, including its history, technology, and the key players behind its development.

History and Fundraising

Arweave’s seed funding round in November 2019 was a significant milestone in the company’s history. The company raised $5 million from well-known investors, including Union Square Ventures, a16z, and Multicoin Capital. The funds gave Arwave the financial muscle it needed to broaden its horizons and take on more ambitious projects. The successful funding round was seen as a vote of confidence, supporting both the company’s past achievements and its vision for the future of the blockchain industry.

The success of the seed funding round further strengthened Arweave’s position in the blockchain industry, leading to a second funding round in March 2020. This time, an additional $8.3 million was raised from the same investors, with Coinbase Ventures added to the list. This allowed Arweave to continue expanding its operations even further and take on new projects that could help to shape the future of the blockchain industry.

Several blockchain partners have implemented Arweave Storage to store their blockchain data, including:

  • Solana: A high-performance blockchain platform designed to support decentralized applications and marketplaces.
  • Avalanche: A platform that enables the creation of highly scalable and interoperable blockchains with a focus on security and efficiency.
  • Polkadot: A multi-chain platform that enables different blockchain networks to connect and share data and assets.
  • Cosmos: A decentralized network of independent blockchains that can communicate with each other using the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol.
  • NEAR Protocol: A blockchain platform that is designed to be developer-friendly, with features like low transaction costs and fast transaction times.

Arweave’s data storage solution is also utilized by top companies like Instagram, Meta, Lens Protocol, Metaplex, and Mirror.

The technology behind the data

Arweave is a decentralized blockchain platform that provides permanent data storage and retrieval, securely protecting it from unauthorized access. Its innovative consensus mechanism, known as “proof of access,” motivates network participants to store and maintain data on the network, rewarding them with AR tokens.

Arweave offers permanent data storage for a one-time fee, whereas its competitor Filecoin requires monthly payments so that the data is not deleted. This sets Arweave apart from Filecoin as a more cost-effective and practical solution for long-term storage needs.

Essentially, Arweave connects people who have space on their hard drives with those who need it for permanent content storage.

This is made possible thanks to Storage Endowment technology. To ensure that AR mining remains profitable and sustainable long-term, mining profits must exceed the expenses needed to maintain the blockchain.

This limitation is guaranteed by the regular distribution of tokens from the Storage Endowment. However, if you have already surpassed the yield in other means, this protocol will not grant you tokens. Its goal is to ensure a longer lifespan and lower volatility of tokens.

Miner’s profit is made up of three components:

  • Transaction fees,
  • Profit from inflation,
  • Tokens from Storage Endowment.

Inflationary profits function in the following manner:

Arweave’s Permaweb is a decentralized web that aims to solve the problem of content removal from the internet. Currently, web content is at risk of being lost when servers are shut down, or applications are no longer supported by developers. Permaweb ensures that content is stored permanently, mitigating these risks.

Permaweb offers a toolkit for constructing web dapps:

  • Arweave Storage: used to store data on Arweave.
  • Gateways: servers that deliver content from Arweave to web applications.
  • GraphQL is used to query data on Arweave, and it works like SQL for traditional databases.
  • SmartWeave: a smart contract system that allows for the use of specific programming languages, mechanisms, and engines for specific needs under node dApp.

How the proof of access works:

  • In a traditional chain, each new block is to its predecessor and the block that comes after it. In contrast, the Arweave blockchain is linked to three blocks: the next block as well as two previous blocks, with the second block being referred to as the “recall” block, that is, the block that came before the “previous-current-next” chain.
  • Blockweave is maintained by miners who provide storage and copy data from the network to earn AR tokens.
  • To mine or confirm a block, miners must provide cryptographic proof to access the recall block; otherwise, they cannot continue building the chain. Since miners need “access” to the recall block, the model is called proof of access.

SpoRa is aimed at long-term data storage, as miners must confirm old, random blocks from the blockweave history to earn a profit.

Essentially, the entire concept of Arweave is to create permanent data storage for the web so that data can always be accessed. However, simply storing data and occasionally querying it will not allow you to fully utilize the potential of Arweave. To unlock the full power of this platform, it is necessary to perform more complex operations with data in an efficient manner. Warp.cc platform can help achieve this.

Warp.cc is a modular smart contract platform that operates on the Arweave Storage Chain. It separates storage from computations to provide strong efficiency, and contracts can be written in Rust and Go. It uses a sequencer to sort transactions and a gateway to index them to prioritize speed and security. Transactions are distributed to Decentralized Execution Networks (DEN) and confirmed using a Dedicated Network of Nodes. The platform emphasizes separating transaction data from computations to reduce computational load and focuses on performance and modularity.

In our society information flows through innumerable bottlenecks. The newspaper editor decides what stories you read, the academic journal decides what science is published and the social media platforms decide what speech you can broadcast – as well as what you see. Arweave unlocks the potential of a truly disintermediated internet: a world of neutral, protocolized information infrastructure. Builders in the Arweave ecosystem are creating this new web, free from centralized controllers that allows anyone to speak, and anyone to listen if they desire.

Sam Williams, Founder of Arweave and CEO of Forward Research

Warp Contracts unlocking Arweave’s computational potential

To fully unleash the potential of this platform, complex data operations must be executed efficiently. This is where Arweave’s Smart Contract Protocol, Smartweave, comes in. Smartweave is the first approach of the smart contract stack built on top of Arweave’s weave, but it has since been taken over by the Warp Contracts team, known for its exponentially advanced tooling and better developer experience.

Warp.cc is often called “Smartweave on Steroids” and offers additional features for all Arweave builders. One of the key components of the modular smart contract SDK is a perfectly calibrated Warp caching layer. Thanks to lazy evaluation, an arbitrary amount of smart contracts computation can be executed on the user’s side without any additional fees, and developers no longer need to worry about gas optimization. High-interaction contracts can be outsourced from the user’s device to a Delegated Resolution Environment (DRE), a set of validators that provide near-instant response time without sacrificing decentralization. The platform emphasizes separating transaction data from computations to reduce computational load and prioritizes performance and modularity. Furthermore, developers can use the most popular programming languages like Javascript, Typescript, and Rust.

Warp.cc has become the golden standard of implementing Smart Contracts on Arweave – it’s an excellent ground for projects building compute intensive Gaming, Web3 social media, simple AI Models, and new category of DataFi – financial products with value of data in the center.

-Marcin Kazmierczak, COO at Warp Contracts

Ecosystem

To begin our discussion of Arweave’s ecosystem and its projects, it’s crucial first to mention the native token, the foundation that makes it all possible. Arweave’s native token is AR, and its total supply is 66 million, of which 11 million are exclusively mined by miners. This leaves only 55 million tokens, which are distributed fairly evenly among the team, advisors, investors, and community sales.

13% of the supply is allocated to the Arweave team. The lock-up period is five years, after which there is a 20% annual allocation.

  • 26.5% of the supply is allocated for the project itself.
  • 19.1% of the supply is allocated for the adoption incentives.
  • 2.9% for advisors.
  • 10.8% for the seed round and 6.5% for the strategic round.
  • 16.1% for private sale and 4.5% for two community sales.

AR has a fixed supply, which means that miners will continue to receive rewards for an extended period, similar to Bitcoin. Furthermore, profit from mining will be halved, also like in the case of Bitcoin. In summary, Arweave has significant potential and can compete well against Filecoin. However, this also means that if the market caps of Arweave and Filecoin are equal, the cost of AR will be much higher due to lower supply.

ProjectMarket CapCirculating SupplyTotal SupplyModelVolume
Filecoin$2,340,154,491403,174,306 FIL403,174,306 FILDeflationary$719,517,194
Arweave$266,182,08233,394,701 AR63,190,435Deflationary$45,395,351
(2023/03/13)

Let’s have a look at Arweave’s direct competitor, Filecoin, whose market capitalization currently stands at $2.3 billion, with a circulating supply of 403 million tokens. It is worth noting that Filecoin is deflationary, as tokens are burned to pay network fees and when storage miners are slashed. This means that by burning tokens, the price of Filecoin may increase, the same goes with Arweave.

With tokenomics and competitors out of the way, it’s time to have a look at the incubators in the ecosystem. Of course, growing such a large ecosystem would not be possible without grant programs, incubators, and accelerators. Arweave supports various incubators and accelerators that contribute to the ecosystem’s growth. These programs provide mentorship, resources, and funding to startups building on Arweave.

  • Community Labs — a venture studio on Arweave that raised $30 million in Series A funding from Arweave itself. Community Labs accelerated such developer tools as Astatine, Demand Modulated Markets, Execution Machine, and Foreign Call Protocol.
  • Digital History Association — the research department which operates within Core Arweave. Its purpose is to recommend improvements and incubate companies that offer the best solutions in the Arweave ecosystem.
  • Forward Research — incubating the best builders and founders to create an entirely new class of web services on Arweave that provably respect users’ rights.
  • Permanent Ventures — a fund focused on investing in decentralized applications which will exist forever.

Now, let’s talk about the projects involved in Arweave’s Ecosystem. In the image below, you can see projects that use Arweave for either storage or computations. Therefore, for example, it would be wrong to assume Meta is built on Arweave—it simply uses Arweave to store metadata for its NFTs.

Projects in the Arweave Ecosystem can be divided into several categories:

Infrastructure. Bundlr.network serves as a data layer for Arweave, while Ar.io serves as a framework providing additional tools for interacting with on-chain data. Additionally, warp.cc was mentioned previously as a tool for fast, modular smart contracts. Together, these components form a fundamental infrastructure that makes it easy for developers to get started in the Arweave Ecosystem. There are a variety of tools available for specific tasks depending on your desired outcome and how you want to interact with Arweave.

Storage. Arweave simplifies data storage and ensures that data lasts forever. Depending on your needs, you can choose from multiple options. For instance, if you want to upload a single file like a picture or document, use the tool called Akord. To move to real web3, you need to use permapages, which save your web data forever and allow access even if the site’s provider no longer supports the site.

Analytics. On-chain analytics is essential for Arweave because it enables the tracking and analysis of data stored on the blockchain. This information can be used to improve the platform’s performance, identify potential security issues, and gain insights into user behavior. By leveraging on-chain analytics, Arweave can better understand how its ecosystem is being used and make data-driven decisions to improve its offerings. SonAR enables the use of smart contracts, while Viewblock acts as an Etherscan for Arweave, providing all on-chain activity that you want to discover.

Knowledge. Arweave provides several knowledge services for its users, such as Warp Academy, ArWiki, and Arweave News. Warp Academy is a platform designed for learning about the Arweave ecosystem and how to build on it. ArWiki is a community-driven wiki that offers information on everything related to Arweave, including technical documentation and tutorials. Arweave News is a platform for staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the Arweave ecosystem, such as new projects, partnerships, and technical updates. These services help make the Arweave ecosystem more accessible and user-friendly, allowing more individuals and organizations to take advantage of its unique features and benefits.

Arweave-as-a-storage-layer. Arweave’s data storage solution has been used by several companies, such as Instagram, Meta, Lens Protocol, Metaplex, and Mirror. These companies rely on Arweave’s decentralized and permanent storage capabilities to securely and permanently store their data without relying on centralized servers or intermediaries. This has the potential to transform the way we approach data storage and sharing and may drive the shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0.

Who is behind these technologies?

Arweave was founded in May 2017 by Sam Williams, who has been leading the project ever since. Williams also serves as a Technical Advisor at Minespider and a Mentor at Techstars. Sebastian Campos Groth brings valuable experience and has served as a mentor at various venture funds and accelerators. Ian Foley joined Arweave in June 2022, bringing extensive experience, including three years at KPMG as Vice President, Managing Director, Vice President of Business Development, and Venture Partner at Xenon Ventures. His partnerships with Meta, Instagram, Mirror.xyz, and Metaplex highlight his business acumen. Gregg Strydom, the Marketing Lead, has extensive marketing experience and has been spearheading marketing efforts. He has held positions at Sony Electronics, Tandberg Data, NetApp, Oracle, and Nutanix.

Arweave’s team is composed of experienced professionals with various backgrounds and expertise. They are responsible for the development and growth of the Arweave ecosystem, which includes multiple projects and initiatives aimed at providing permanent and decentralized data storage. The team’s leadership has been instrumental in attracting investors and partners, and they continue to work towards creating a more user-centric internet.

Arweave vs. Filecoin

In the world of decentralized storage, Filecoin and Arweave are two prominent players that have gained significant attention in recent years. Both platforms aim to provide decentralized, secure, and reliable storage for individuals and organizations. However, they differ in their approach to achieving these goals, with each platform utilizing unique technologies and consensus mechanisms. Let’s briefly compare Filecoin and Arweave, looking at their similarities and differences, use cases, and potential impact on the future of data storage.

FeatureArweaveFilecoin
Type of NetworkBlockchain-based decentralized storage networkBlockchain-based decentralized storage network
Storage TypePermanentPerpetual
ConsensusProof of AccessProof of Space
CensoringEvery miner has their own blacklist to which they can choose to add files. The gateways can also refuse to serve specific files.Every miner has their own blacklist to which they can choose to add files to. The gateways can also refuse to serve specific files.
Node RequirementsNo collateral required, good processor, 8GB RAM, a couple of TB of storage space.Hundreds of thousands of dollars in collateral and hard equipment. Filecoin mining is for data centers and other players with a lot of resources.
Market Cap$300,000,000$2,500,000,000
Raised$22,000,000$258,000,000
Funding Rounds97
Storage PricePricing storage is dynamic but fluctuates around a few (2-5) USD per GB.$0.002336 per year

Conclusion

Arweave currently has only 50% of its total supply in circulation, which means there is a lot of potential for growth in the future. The fact that it is designed for long-term use is a testament to how the developers are thinking ahead and planning for the future. As Web 3.0 continues to develop through web applications and decentralized backends, Arweave is expected to have more use cases and provide stronger competition against Filecoin. Its potential for growth is confirmed by long-term investments from top funds, which is a sign that the industry is taking note of its value proposition.

As the ecosystem and blockchain continue to develop, there will be an increasing amount of data that needs to be stored permanently. This is where forever storages come in to support the large amount of data that will be generated with the arrival of the mass adoption of blockchain. With the rise of decentralized applications, the amount of data generated will only increase further. Having a reliable and secure way to store this data is essential for the success of the blockchain industry.

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Disclaimer

In line with the Trust Project guidelines, please note that the information provided on this page is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as legal, tax, investment, financial, or any other form of advice. It is important to only invest what you can afford to lose and to seek independent financial advice if you have any doubts. For further information, we suggest referring to the terms and conditions as well as the help and support pages provided by the issuer or advertiser. MetaversePost is committed to accurate, unbiased reporting, but market conditions are subject to change without notice.

About The Author

Cryptomeria Capital is a crypto fund backed by blockchain industry experts. The firm believes decentralized projects, cryptocurrencies, and Web 3.0 will dramatically reshape economic relations and focuses on ventures, tokens, and projects related to blockchain technology and crypto assets. Cryptomeria Capital supports transformation by providing early-stage financing for ambitious projects in a rapidly developing industry.

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Cryptomeria Capital
Cryptomeria Capital

Cryptomeria Capital is a crypto fund backed by blockchain industry experts. The firm believes decentralized projects, cryptocurrencies, and Web 3.0 will dramatically reshape economic relations and focuses on ventures, tokens, and projects related to blockchain technology and crypto assets. Cryptomeria Capital supports transformation by providing early-stage financing for ambitious projects in a rapidly developing industry.

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