Sam Williams, the founder of Arweave, and the Arweave team started out with a mission to solve the long-term storage of data.
They looked at the current state of how information was kept on the internet and how people and companies managed their own files. What they saw was a very fragile system.
A few facts about the fragility of the current state of the internet:
What this all points to is that our personal and business data is not as safe as we think it is. There are short-term implications of potential loss, but also long-term consequences of how are we actually going to pass on some of our most valuable resources to future generations.
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To counter the information loss that the digital world was experiencing and the increased (and historical) censorship of data, Arweave turned to the classical Library of Alexandria for inspiration.
The Library of Alexandria was founded in the early 2nd Century BC as a storehouse of the world’s cumulative knowledge. It became the largest library of its time, with as many as 400,000 scrolls including many of the world's greatest literary and scientific treasures. The Library remained in existence for more than 400 years before its decline.
Arweave seeks to resurrect the Library of Alexandria, but in this case in digital form where it will actually last!
To solve the problem of long-term data storage the Arweave team looked to leverage blockchain technology and innovate upon it to create permanent storage at an affordable cost.
Blockchain provided the building blocks of what Arweave needed to provide reliable long-term storage: immutability (data that doesn't change), decentralization (not controlled by third parties), and ownership (people would be in charge of their own information). There are those words again from our previous section!
However, when looking at Bitcoin there were some obvious drawbacks that would need to be overcome:
Arweave needed to overcome these obstacles without sacrificing any of the decentralization or security of the blockchain. What breakthroughs were required to make permanent storage happen? How did they use blockchain to solve this?