“It’s really getting a mind of its own.”
That’s how Sam Williams, CEO of file storage service Arweave, described his blockchain project in the six months since raising $5 million in a token sale with heavy hitters Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Union Square Ventures (USV) and Multicoin Capital.
Since then, the number of apps on Arweave has doubled from 100 to over 200 while the number of daily transactions has also climbed, jumping from 147,000 total transactions to nearly 1.75 million, Williams said. The firm concluded an additional $8.3 million token sale last month with further participation from a16z and USV, plus Coinbase Ventures.
Arweave operates on the same idea as other blockchain-based file storage services such as Filecoin or Storj, but with far larger ambitions backed by new technical developments unveiled Wednesday as Arweave 2.0.
The team is working toward “virtually unlimited” and permanent data storage for what they compare to a digital Library of Alexandria.
“[Arweave 2.0] takes the mechanisms that we built in Arweave 1.0 and scales it up basically to [storage] sizes that are so large that it becomes indistinguishable from infinite for the normal user,” Williams said in a phone interview with CoinDesk.
Tech tools behind 2.0
The team is leaning on two new features with Arweave 2.0, Williams said: the “Fast Write” mechanism and bundled transactions.
Technically speaking, Fast Write keeps the proof of a transaction occurring in a Merkle root accessible on the network while pushing data to local storage on nodes that wish to carry the information. This makes the network lighter and faster.
Bundled transactions, on the other hand, are a Layer 2 technology. Each Arweave transaction can be moved off-chain, mixed with other transactions and then placed back onto the main chain as one large transaction.
Together, Williams said, the scaling tech makes storage on Arweave near “infinite.”
The two technologies are not that different from options Ethereum, the blockchain behind ether (the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap), has been exploring for its upcoming switch to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS). The Eth 2.0 research team led by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is considering stateless clients and polynomial commitments, which can act as lightweight digital receipts for transactions.
Ethereum platforms such as IDEX have also incorporated a similar Layer 2 option called Rollups to scale transactions by moving them off-chain.
As for Arweave’s future, the team is eyeing Arweave 2.1 for later in 2020. The goal remains the same: unlimited, permanent storage. Williams said the next update should get Arweave to the finish line.
“People just use it and people build stuff on it and often they don't even tell us anymore,” Williams said, referencing the dozens of decentralized apps (dapps), from finance to gambling, that make up the Arweave library.