Over the past year and a half, I – like many others – have gone deep down the crypto rabbit hole. After casually trading for a number of years, I began digging a few layers deeper by reading posts and Twitter threads from Chris Dixon, which led to sifting through A16Z’s Crypto Cannon. Before I knew it, I was diving down the literal RabbitHole, acquiring digital assets across far too many wallets and exchanges, feeling distracted by the constant notifications from Twitter/Telegram/Discord, and spending my weekends figuring out how in the world to buy promising, esoteric assets that are difficult to acquire in the US like Arweave.
For folks like myself who are prone to diving headfirst into tech rabbit holes, it’s become impossible to ignore the substantive activity happening on the frontiers of crypto. Over the past year, Web3 certainly became a more frequent topic of conversation as terms like decentralization, NFT, and DeFi became part of the tech vernacular. Many people (myself included) have now gained a level of understanding to make the transition from viewing crypto as a speculative world of assets with little underlying value to the next computing platform shift. What’s most exciting to me is it feels like the pioneers of our day are building on the frontier of Web3.
I plan on writing about Web3 more frequently going forward. The goal of my posts is to explore the frontiers of crypto and blockchain technology through the lens of specific projects that make me excited about the future. The plan is to spend more time writing about earlier stage, low market cap crypto assets, DAOs, NFTs, and other projects on the bleeding edge of Web3 innovation. I’ll caveat that by saying I may write about some more established projects (as I do in this post) if they play into important trends shaping Web3 today.
The beauty of writing publicly is I can create personal accountability and a regular cadence around codifying my thoughts on the space, while sharing and collaborating with other folks in the crypto community. Also, the hope is I’ll be able to surface some exciting projects for those following along. Feel free to DM me on Twitter if you’re interested in connecting to trade notes and collab!
To kick things off, here is one crypto project I’m super excited about...
Arweave - The Modern Library of Alexandria
What is Arweave?
Arweave is a new type of storage that backs data with sustainable and perpetual endowments, allowing users and developers to truly store data forever – for the very first time. Think of Arweave as a collectively owned hard drive that never forgets.
The protocol matches people who have hard drive space to spare with individuals and organizations that need to permanently store data or host content. This is similar to how Uber connects drivers with people who need transport.
Permanent storage is achieved through Arweave’s decentralized data storage solution operating with blockweave technology and the native Arweave token (AR). Users of the network can pay a one-time endowment to use and provide permanent and immutable data storage. Anyone can contribute to the network and be compensated for renting out unused storage space on their computer. Arweave designed the novel Succinct Proofs of Random Access (SPoRA) consensus mechanism to maintain stability and security throughout the network. On top of the core Arweave protocol lives the permaweb: A global, permanent web of pages and applications that live forever. Once a user adds data to the permaweb, it cannot be altered or removed, even by the creator.
This description only scratches the surface of the mechanics of Arweave. For a more detailed breakdown of how Arweave works behind the scenes, check out the Arweave Lightpaper.
Why am I excited about Arweave?
Arweave was one of the first crypto projects that had me in awe of the capabilities of blockchain technology. It’s worth pausing for a moment to marvel at the business model innovation conceived by Arweave founder Sam Williams.
The innovation lies in the fact that you can store something permanently for a one-time fee. When you think about storage analogs in Web2 (Box, Dropbox, AWS, etc.) or even Web3 analogs like Filecoin, storage always involves a recurring subscription cost. If you don’t pay that subscription, then you lose your ability to store data.
Compared to these prior iterations of storage products, Arweave’s ability to offer perpetual storage for an up-front fee is completely novel. These sorts of blockchain innovations are examples of making the transition from Web3’s skeuomorphic phase, with projects that resemble products from Web2, to entirely novel projects enabled only by blockchain technology.
Arweave has been on a tear recently. To date, the protocol’s volume has been largely driven by NFTs and the data storage requirements of other Layer-1 blockchains like Solana. As illustrated in the visual below, it recently overtook the top storage protocol Filecoin as the most active storage protocol.
In fact, Mirror.xyz, an up-and-coming decentralized and user-owned publishing platform that hosts this post, leverages Arweave to host all user blogs to ensure that censorship is near-impossible.
Arweave is quickly becoming a critical piece of Web3 infrastructure. If you believe Web3 will be more prominent in 10 years than it is now, Arweave will likely be a vital player in that development.
Today, most people aren’t even aware that permanent data is an option. Mass adoption will require greater awareness, public discovery, and developer education. The general public will begin to care about Arweave when they see it solving problems that can’t be solved in any other way: lawyers who need to save contracts permanently, historians who want to archive one-of-a-kind documents, artists who want to ensure their work reaches future generations.
After much trial and error, I finally found a way to acquire Arweave in the US. Details here. The difficulty lies in the fact that most centralized exchanges like FTX, Binance, and Coinbase don’t support Areave trading in the US. Decentralized exchanges like Uniswap don’t list Arweave as an available asset either. Major shout out to everPay, a real-time payment protocol, which uses Arweave to store all everPay transactions. Check it out!
Learn more about Arweave:
Messari – The Dawn of Web3 Network Revenue:
Messari – Arweave: Permanent Censorship-Resistant Storage For The Web3 World:
Arweave vs. Filecoin
Chris Dixon Twitter Thread – the skeuomorphic era vs. the native era of new computing waves
Permanent NFT Storage on the Arweave Network:
Arweave as Solana Infrastructure:
Arweave.news – How To Buy Arweave Tokens ($AR) In America and Worldwide:
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