The Great Library of Alexandria ‘was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world.’ (wikipedia). However, it’s now mostly lost to us, since it declined and was ultimately burned and destroyed by the Romans. Many mysterious texts and much learning was lost, but it stands as a symbol of our need to preserve information, learning and ideas in such a way that it can’t be destroyed or censored by current rulers of the day. But the nature of the internet is not yet like this. It is still censored in some parts of the world.
The Arweave Project and their ‘permaweb’ is therefore an interesting project to watch in the blockchain space. Like any blockchain project, the underlying protocol is important to try and understand. It’s what lies behind the ability of a blockchain to work efficiently with many distributed nodes (or home computers) supporting, storing and processing transactions together.
[You can read more at the Arweave Medium Blog…]
There could be issues to solve as the number of nodes increase (scalability), so the protocol must enable it to become more efficient to cope with this growth or still process fast.
AR tokens can be mined by anyone with technical knowledge becoming a node, but they can also be spent by users wanting to publish or ‘archive’ websites to the Arweave blockchain, or ‘permaweb’.
There are other file storage solutions being developed on other decentralised networks (see Filecoin, Storj etc.) and Arweave may be just as likely to succeed via its design suited for storing data and scaling up as more and more nodes join and begin to host data or participate.
So the idea of a ‘permanent web’ is exciting since it bypasses traditional storage solutions where content can be lost if subscriptions expire etc. It would also inhibit censorship. With Arweave miners can still vote not to host content that may be malicious — but such voting is more democratic than relying on a company or government to decide.
You could say, this is all the way the internet was originally supposed to be.
Not all content you may wish to store forever, but the ‘permaweb’ is now live for anyone to ‘archive’ or save content to its on-chain blockchain solution.