Arweave ICO Overview
The Arweave ICO and AR Token offer a new data storage blockchain protocol. Arweave is based on a novel consensus mechanism, Proof of Access, which is designed to facilitate permanent, low-cost storage onchain. The project ultimately envisages becoming an indispensable storage layer that can be leveraged to provide speed and scalability to other systems.
Arweave ICO Value Proposition
Arweave utilizes the “Blockweave”, a blockchain-like structure that enables scalable onchain storage in a cost efficient manner. The amount of hashing needed for consensus decreases as the amount of data stored on Arweave increases, which reduces the cost to store data. Through the Proof of Access consensus mechanism, miners are incentivized to provide as many replications of the data held in the system as possible.
Arweave propose a two-fold value proposition: 1. a solution for permanently storing any data in an immutable manner that prevents manipulation and theft 2. an ideal infrastructure layer for dapps for which data immutability is essential (i.e. news sites, archives).
As a new protocol, Arweave will utilize the native AR token. AR tokens are required to store information on Arweave. The payments made by users in AR are then distributed as a reward to miners, who store and maintain the information. The Arweave ICO team has also has a native wallet to store AR tokens.
(Editor’s note: the Arweave website claims to have ‘solved the millennia old problem of decentralised data availability’ which smacks of just a tiny little bit of hyperbole, since the printing press wasn’t invented until around 1445, and the thorny issue of where Shakespeare kept his selfies from the summer of 1579 is not documented, even in his more melodramatic works.)
Arweave ICO Team
Sam Williams (Co-Founder & CEO) Sam is a Computer Science PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham. The focus of his research is decentralized system design. With a background in academia, Arweave is Sam’s first foray into the startup world
William Jones (Co-Founder & CTO) William is also a Computer Science PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on the development of cognitive systems and neural networks.
India Raybould (CCO) India has academic and work experience in psychology. She served as a psychology advisor before joining Arweave as Chief Coordinating Officer.
Kyle Beckles (Senior developer) Kyle began his career in 2015 as a developer with Bright Future Software. He has held developer positions with UKFast and boohoo,com. Kyle holds a BSc in Software Engineering from the University of Nottingham.
Anthony Ryan is an adviser to Arweave. Anthony serves as Head of Growth at Quantstamp and has a strong background in entrepreneurship.
More information on the team and advisors is available here.
Arweave ICO Strengths and Opportunities
Arweave has coordinated the launch of its mainnet alongside the ICO. Arweave launched their alpha testnet in November 2017, and plan on launching the mainnet in early June. The launch of the mainnet brings a tangible utility value to the token beyond speculation. Along with the mainnet, the Arweave ICO team has already created the REST API, available for developers to build projects using any programming language.
Still, there is more to ecosystem building than launching the mainnet and letting developers run wild. As a distributed storage solution, a crucial piece of the puzzle will be onboarding participants to supply space. Without users renting out their devices, developers will have little incentive to build using Arweave. While there’s no straightforward solution to this classic adoption question, Arweave has arranged several partnerships to begin ecosystem building.
Arweave are working with decentralized auction house Shelf.Network to provide their data storage layer. Shelf.Network itself uses blockchain to post one listing on multiple online marketplaces. The Blockweave data structure will be utilized to store auction listings, while a reference to the data stored by Arweave is recorded the Shelf.Network native chain.
Arweave’s second partnership is with Charité, Europe’s largest university clinic. Charité and Arweave are cooperating to create the Journal of Raw Data, an online open-access biomedical data journal that is peer reviewed. Arweave will provide a storage solution so that data sets from biomedical research submitted to the journal will be publically available, inalterable and immutable. This use case scenario demonstrates the relevance of the product outside the realm of decentralized networks through the value add an immutable ledger brings to improving the quality of research; research data cannot be falsified or altered.
As a basic infrastructure component with a wide array of use case scenarios, storage protocols have a favourable track record when it comes to delivering returns. Competitor projects such as Storj (+8,000%) and MaidSafe (4,285%)) performed very well.
Arweave ICO Weaknesses and Threats
There’s no shortage of serious distributed storage projects in the space, not to mention the spectrum of low-cost cloud based solutions. Storj, MaidSafe and Filecoin represent some of the other projects that offer comparable products.
The question of who comes out on top will inevitably connect with the issue of price and product- will the solution offer cheaper, better storage than the alternatives?
Arweave has two important value adds: the 5k tps throughput rate for better network scalability and the one-time payment structure that forgoes the monthly payment model of other storage protocols. These features may prove more attractive to users and developers, or they may not.
For a team that has no prior entrepreneurial experience, Arweave has reached several milestones that bolster confidence in the project. The team have secured support from funds, established partnerships, built a large community and will launch their mainnet shortly.
One of the most renowned tech startup incubators, Techstars, has selected Arweave for its 2018 accelerator program. Arweave stand to benefit from the tremendous track record of success attributed to the program through the intensive mentoring and exposure to industry leaders members receive. Alumni of the Techstars accelerator program include Uber and Digital Ocean.
That said, there is still a long road ahead when it comes to building and scaling the ecosystem around Arweave. Without much of a track record to judge the long-term capabilities of the team, there’s naturally more questions regarding how they will perform in the next stage of the project’s development.
The Verdict on Arweave ICO
While the team behind the Arweave ICO are new to the startup world, they’ve managed to bring a novel storage solution to the table with a mainnet launch around the corner. Despite the competition and questions about scaling, we think Arweave is a serious contender among storage protocols.