The startup has built a new type of blockchain that relies on Moore’s Law-style declining data storage costs.
Users pay for a few hundred years upfront (about half a cent per megabyte), and the interest accrued by the excess payment will perpetually cover the costs of shrinking storage prices.
As long as some node operators keep hosting the data on unused hard drive space, they keep getting paid, and the sites, apps, or files remain available.
Instead of needing some special blockchain browser to access what’s stored, the Permaweb can be accessed through traditional web browsers and URLs.
The potential of the Permaweb has attracted $5 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Crypto, and joined by other top blockchain investors Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital who’ve exchanged the cash for tokens from Arweave.
Williams says that data storage costs have declined around 30% per year for a while, but the decentralized network would still be able to cover costs as long as that rate doesn’t fall lower than 0.5%.
Arweave likens itself to an Uber for storage, matching users needing to save files with those with excess storage capacity.