A “permanent Dropbox” launches in beta on Arweave today.
“Arweave is the only crypto that’s claiming to be permanent data storage so there’s no other place that I could have built this,” ArDrive founder Phil Mataras said in an interview.
The new file sync app lets users pay a fee once, depending on the price of Arweave tokens, and have their data (documents, photos, videos) live forever on the web, without a data cap or fear of censorship.
“We have a good use case because everyone understands it,” Mataras said. “When you look at a lot of these blockchain apps, especially the new DeFi applications out there, it’s hard for people to understand let alone use.”
Arweave operates on the same idea as the recently launched decentralized file storage and content distribution network Filecoin, but with further ambitions toward a permanent and “virtually unlimited” digital Library of Alexandria.
Arweave founder and CEO Sam Williams added that a permanent Dropbox is an obvious use case of the network. The difference is when you upload a piece of information on Dropbox today, its business model may change in a decade or two, so what happens to that stored data from 2020?
“With ArDrive, the system never changes,” said Williams. “It’s kind of like Ethereum’s ‘code is law’ philosophy, except for web services.”
At this stage, ArDrive is only for users who already hold Arweave tokens to upload their data. Mataras said in the next six months, the team is building fiat on-ramps as a way to expand ArDrive’s user base.
“We want to make it really easy for anyone to swipe a credit card, buy a block and start uploading their files,” he said.
Mataras added that a desktop application of ArDrive for Mac, Windows and Linux will be released in December and a mobile app will follow in the first quarter of 2021.
Arweave, which launched in June 2018, currently has 350 apps running on the network. The protocol announced Profit Sharing Tokens this summer that allows companies on Arweave to mint their own assets. Since then, 26 projects on the network now have their own tokens.