What is Arweave
Arweave is a decentralized storage network that aims to provide scalable, cost-effective, and permanent data storage. The network is based on several core technologies, such as Blockweave, Proof of Access, and Wildfire.
What is Blockweave?
Blockweave is a weave-structured blockchain specifically designed for the Arweave. Similar to linear blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, blocks on Blockweave are used to store data, links to multiple previous blocks from the network, etc. However, each block on Blockweave is linked to the previous block and a random recall block, rather than ordered in a time series, creating a weave structure.
Unlike traditional blockchains, Blockweave does not require miners to be full nodes (maintain a copy of the entire blockchain in order to verify future transactions). It asks each miner to keep two lists:
- Block hash list, a list of the hashes of all previous blocks.
- Wallet list, a list of all active wallets and balances in the system.
The two lists will be generated and updated to the network every 12 blocks (around an hour).
The block hash list is used by nodes to validate blocks. When a new block is proposed, nodes can validate the block by the hash of the previous blocks without knowing the exact content in the recall block.
The wallet list is used to eliminate the entry barrier for miners. It is maintained by each miner, which contains a list of wallets and associated balances. With this list, miners that do not have access to the full network can validate new transactions immediately. Because miners do not need to find the previous transaction associated with a wallet in order to verify a new transaction. Instead, miners would simply need to verify that the transaction has been appropriately signed by the wallet owner’s private key.
What is Proof of Access?
As mentioned above, in order to improve the chain performance and avoid overly data storage, the miners on Arweave do not store all of the data and transactions on-chain. However, the data needs to be appropriately replicated among miners to ensure the security and accessibility of the data. Thus, except for linking to the previous block, Arweave also asks the miner to conclude the recall block to generate a new block. The detailed block generation process is shown below. As miners prove that they have access to a random recall block, this process is called Proof of Access. This mechanism can make sure that every block will be stored on multiple miners' devices.
Additionally, the Arweave mechanism will also encourage miners to store blocks that are replicated less frequently to keep the network secure.
What is Wildfire?
Wildfire is a ranking system. The miners on the Arweave network will be ranked by their performance, namely, how quickly they respond to requests and accept data from others. And Wildfire will distribute requests and transactions to miners according to rank. Therefore, miners with better responses get more rewards.
What is Permaweb?
Permaweb refers to the application layer on the top of Arweave network. The applications may look like normal websites, but the content on Permaweb is stored on Arweave network permanently. Here we list some applications built on Arweave:
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