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Decentralized storage network forever.
Arweave stores file in a decentralized way, and aim to store it forever.
It is designed to incentive storage provider for 200 years (and more), by rewarding them from an endowment reserve.
Developers have to pay to store file. It is higher cost than Filecoin (or centralized solution such as Amazon S3), but it stores forever. This is the unique selling point.
Check the fees. As of Feb 2022, it is $7/GB to store forever.
Arweave is like L0, below L1, as they can be used by the Layer 1 such as Ethereum, Solana, etc.
They key selling point is storage of any size, with the built-in incentive to store forever. All L1 has a major issue – blocks are very expensive, so they are designed to store as little data as possible on the blockchain.
For example, each NFT has an image, and they are NOT stored on L1, because image are megabytes and will cost a bomb to store on the blockchain. They are instead stored on Arweave, while the hyperlink is stored on the blockchain.
As usual, nodes earn mining rewards. What is different is that each block is linked to two prior blocks:
The recall block incentives nodes to store as much data as possible, and to store rare data too. As such, all data will be replicated fairly across the whole network. It is nearly impossible to have dropped data.
You might wonder how they deal with illegal content? They have a content moderation policy. Data storers have a choice to host the data or not. Gateways (the servers you will likely use to view the permaweb) can also apply content filtering.
Arweave helps community/startup builds more apps on them using this model. Anyone can contribute, and receive tokens as rewards.
ArDrive is a good example. Check out ArDrive fees, which includes a Community Tip.
55 million were created at genesis, and an additional 11 million tokens are set to be circulated as mining rewards. To store data, you must pay fees in AR tokens. Arweave miners receive these tokens in exchange for mining new blocks, which obligates them to store data.
However, transaction fees do not go entirely to miners. The majority is allocated to the “endowment reserves”, which is distributed to miners over a long time. 200 years, and more.
Arweave is kind of like Proof-of-work (requires computing) and Proof-of-space (requires disk space), but definitely not Proof-of-stake. So you can’t stake to get rewards.
You need to mine.