What makes ArDrive different from other file storage apps?
ArDrive is not like cloud storage apps. Many of the file sync features are the same, but what makes ArDrive different is the key innovation of data permanence in a pay-as-you-go format.
ArDrive, which is built on Arweave’s technology, offers you the ability to securely store your data for a lifetime and beyond, without any subscription fees, and often for pennies per file or less.
This combination of permanence, security and value over time cannot be matched by any other storage service including new blockchain file storage providers such as Filecoin.
This is a new type of relationship with data and storage.
Similar to riding a bicycle for the first time, this new type of relationship to data will take a little getting used to, but once you get comfortable with it we think you will love it!
What is the permaweb?
ArDrive is built upon and powered by the permaweb.
Launched in 2018, the Arweave permaweb is an indelible, tamper-proof version of the internet. Sam Williams, the founding engineer of the ppermaweb, describes it as “a collectively owned hard drive that never forgets, [and] allows us to remember and preserve valuable information, apps, and history indefinitely.”
The permaweb was developed by Arweave with technology that is based on blockchains and distributed computing, the computer science innovation behind digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
How can it actually be permanent?
Three factors allow Arweave’s technology to be a permanent storage system:
Indelible Code. The Arweave protocol or the code is written in a way that does not allow anything to be deleted.
A Decentralized Network. Instead of one centralized server that keeps all your data, files are distributed and replicated over a network of thousands of different nodes. Although one node will not necessarily store all the data, the data will be spread out countless times over all the nodes in the network to provide redundancy and rapid file access. As founder Sam Williams of Arweave explains, the permaweb “spreads the data across tens of thousands of places in the world and then makes it available from those locations, like the web, except censorship-resistant and permanent.” Even if one part of the permaweb goes offline, the remaining network retains the memory.
Storage Endowment. Like everyone else we need to pay someone to store the data. So how can a one-time payment cover the cost of storage for a lifetime or more? In most areas of life we are used to prices going up. However, this is not the case with the price of storage for data. It is very much the opposite as over the past 50 years the average annual rate of decline to store a GB has been 30.57%.
The decline of storage prices has allowed the Arweave team design an innovate payment method to incentive storage over extremely long periods of time. The one-time up-front fee goes into an endowment where the interest on the fees will accrual perpetually and cover the cost of storage over time. In other words, the amount that a user pays upfront creates enough interest over time to cover the costs associated with paying someone to store that data perpetually.
Just like a university or non-profit forms an endowment that creates interest to cover costs over time, the Arweave token creates interest that covers costs. Unlike those other endowments, the interest is covering costs that are declining and not rising.
This design, in the end, creates a reward for the network (the people storing that data) that is greater than the cost to hold the data and maintain it—even over long periods of time. Even in the unlikely case that storage costs do not go down, the upfront free will cover 200 years of storage.
Want to learn more? Read our post “Can data really be stored forever?”
What makes it censorship-resistant?
Whatever you put on the permaweb cannot be deleted by one single person or organization.
The permaweb’s file storage method was created so that each data storage block cannot be removed by anyone – not you, not ArDrive, not Arweave (the creators of the permaweb), not the world’s best supercomputer.
Furthermore, the Permaweb exists as a decentralized network. It distributes data to thousands of nodes which make it impossible for any centralized actor to remove the data from the whole network. A node may go offline, but the redundancy of the network keeps the entire repository of uploaded information available.
Therefore, with no delete button and a decentralized network, any public information posted on ArDrive cannot be taken down by a third party. This makes it censorship-resistant.
In November 2020, a government made a failed attempt to censor the Permaweb. Read the story in Fortune Magazine
Where does my data go?
The data is not stored in any one single place. Instead, it is distributed across hundreds of different nodes throughout the world.
Your private information is encrypted end to end, and can only be unlocked by you and those you share the keys with.
What is the uptime or reliability of ArDrive?
The ArDrive Web App has had 100% uptime since launching our Beta app.
We cannot guarantee this perfect track record, but even if the ArDrive Web App is inaccessible or has an outage your data is still backed up and available from other nodes on the Arweave network. Cloud storage providers occasionally go offline, but the permaweb is more like the internet: it can’t be turned off unless you power down every server globally.
Even if we completely go out of business, your files will remain on the permaweb. Your data is safe for generations to come. We are working on ensuring our web app is also published on the permaweb, ensuring you can still upload and download for the lifetime of your data.