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Arweave CEO About Blockchain-Based Archive Of Whole Human History

20:45 24/10/2018
Arweave CEO About Blockchain-Based Archive
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Nowadays, people create such a huge amount of content that no one knows what we should do with it. Co-founder and CEO of Arweave Sam Williams told Blockspoint that the simple answer is that we have to store it. He claims that Arweave is the first ever permanent decentralized data storage that can help create the archive of the whole human history.


Arweave is based on four technologies united together to provide a model of informational storage. It is built on blockchain with a brand new consensus that provides high throughput, low costs, and decentralized access. The company is aimed at creating a new censorship-free informational environment.


Sam Williams made it clear why blockchain is critical for the future of data storage, explained what the Proof-of-Access protocol, Blockweave and Wildfire are, and showed the ways to prevent humanity from making the same mistakes again.


The war against ages of censorship kicks off


Someone is always trying to rewrite our history. Media can update their articles keeping the same URL. The main way of understanding the history is through the analysis of newspaper articles. And by my count, there are at least five large countries showing signs of the development of authoritarianism. It is about 20% of the world’s population which is living in the oblivion. Arweave is aimed at stopping the manipulation of the perception of human history. People are very forgetful when it comes to the black days and are very inclined to make the same mistakes repeatedly.


While talking about the safe way of data storage, blockchain immediately comes to mind. Blockchain is really well-designed to store information, it is accessible, hack-resistant, and well-structured. But the problem is that neither Ethereum nor Stellar and EOS are scalable enough to operate as much requests as Google or Facebook do. Moreover, it can be quite expensive to store data on them. Now we see the AI and machine learning innovations are developing more and more, but our way of operating the informational infrastructure is ridiculously outdated.

Co-founder and CEO of Arweave Sam Williams

I got to know about cryptocurrencies back in 2010, when bitcoin cost less than one dollar. It seemed interesting to me but I did not do anything with it. Then I bought ether during the pre-sale. I was really excited by the idea of creating a global computer. I was doing a PhD in distributed systems when I came up with the concept of building a decentralized web-page archive. We do not really have the full archive of our world at the moment. The idea was called Archain at that time, and we wanted to take news articles and add them to blockchain so that they could be stored there forever. We ended up in building a lot of different algorithms for the decentralized way of storing the information. Obviously, data storage does not scale on blockchain, so we decided to work on a system that could be affordable for everyone and could meet exponentially growing demand for such a kind of storage.


Blockchain vs Blockweave


Sometimes, in order to change an existing system we first have to change our perception. People are used to thinking of distributed registry technologies as of the ones that consist of sets of blocks forming a blockchain. But we decided to change the structure of the decentralized system and to build an innovative model of the network called “blockweave”. A blockweave is a new distributed ledger based on the brand-new consensus protocol Proof-of-Access. As the amount of data stored in the system increases, the amount of hashing needed for consensus goes down, thus reducing the cost of data storing. It can become a backbone of a $3 trillion data economy one day.


We decided to create our own blockchain because we could not find any alternative that could serve as a data storage. In the case of Ethereum, we found that it would be incredibly expensive to use its native tokens. While it is possible to store data on Ethereum, it is impractical due to high fees. Other blockchains are focused on improving consensus algorithms among nodes and on making transactions quicker. But all of them will face the problems with a long-term data storage.

Co-founder and CEO of Arweave Sam Williams

We developed the Wildfire algorithm which is self-organized and solves the problem of data sharing in a decentralized network by performing the rapid fulfilment of data requests, while the PoA algorithm incorporates data from a randomly chosen previous block. The new blockshadows technology enables a massive transaction throughput. The whole system can adapt autonomously to the most efficient routes of information distribution.


It is notable that mining in our system is based on voluntarism. Thus, no one can be forced to store content they do not like. We agree that not all the types of content have to be stored forever. Arweave miners can use their hashing and storage power to vote for the content that should be included in the network. Even when data is added to blockchain, it is up to individual miners to decide if they wish to store this data or not.


Our product is designed to be easily implemented in any existing system. It can also be a basis for the dApp development. We hope that participants of the ecosystem will be able to create a kind of alternative Google based on blockchain which will be censorship-resistant and accessible by everyone.

Photo: Sofya Danilova, Blockspoint
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