Arweave is a discreet project aiming at permanent storage, that is keeping data forever. When thinking about blockchain-based storage, we usually think about contract-bsaed storage: users pays for a duration, possibly replication. With Arweave, any file stored will be so forever, that is as long as the chain lives.
How can it be forever?
It works by storing the files directly in the chain itself. People have already stored some pieces of data on the Bitcoin blockchain, and some protocols like Factom aim at creating proofs of existence and notarization by storing a hash of a file on Bitcoin; later, a user can reveal the file and prove that it existed at that date (think about, for example, a patent). With Arweave, the whole file is stored on chain.
The problem is that miners don’t want to keep huge amounts of data, and would try to keep the block headers. To force them to keep a maximum of data, new blocks need to include small parts of old data, similar to a proof of storage. A miner who doesn’t have the data would then miss on that block.
How to price permanent storage? Since data storage capacity increases faster now than CPU, and storage price decreases by 30% every year, it is possible to estimate the lifetime price of storage, slightly below 3x current price. Market will decide exactly, but it’s a finite price, and not too high.
Compatible with IPFS, it can be seamlessly integrated by IPFS enabled apps. This means most apps using IPFS can easily use Arweave, and provide their users with access to permanent data. No fear of missing files!
Already more than 50,000 obejcts are stored on Arweave, and it increses exponentially. Some VC have already invested in this project which is the first to tackle permanent storage, such as the Internet Archive but in a decentralized fashion.
In particular, projects that focus on the building blocks of the Internet are most likely to succeed. It doesn’t mean that their token would appreciate though.