Arweave Raises $5M Round Led by a16z, Multicoin Capital, and Union Square Ventures

arweave

Arweave is one step closer to its mission of being “new Library of Alexandria” thanks to a successful fundraising round led by a16z, with participating investors such as Multicoin Capital and Union Square Ventures. 

Arweave aims to create a sustainable “permaweb,” which is essentially a decentralized and permanent version of the web where content is immutable and can’t be lost. The idea was born from a group of PhD dropouts that wanted to tackle the fake news problem, justifying the project with the logic that permanent version of articles would prevent their changing or eradication in the future by a potential tyrannical regime. 

“[Arweave’s mission is] ensuring that humanity’s shared knowledge and history is available to all future generations,” states Sam Williams, Founder of Arweave. “We have achieved exceptional growth in a small period of time.”

Users are able to save a PDF, webpage, or app on the permaweb through a free Arweave browser extension. Whenever users encounter a page they’d like to save forever, they would click the “Archive this Page” function on the extension and pay a single up-front fee.  So far, the payments collected by today support around 200 years of storage.

Williams envisions a future where Arweave helps prevent censorship. The project seeks to utilize blockchain to decentralize large amounts of data, relying on miners to store random blocks from the chain. 

“We think that we’re closing what Orwell called the memory hole so people can’t change what was said,” says Williams. 

Since the permaweb’s launch in June 2018, over 100 permanent apps have been built on Arweave’s infrastructure. A notable feature of Arweave is that users can choose to use a permaweb version of an app instead of an updated one, allowing users to avoid a less-than-favorable updated version of the app. 

A concern some have had about the concept of a permaweb is that it can be used to enable the hosting of illicit content, such as copyrighted music. However, the way Arweave is built requires the majority of node operators to vote to approve the hosting of a certain file, so they have the ability to refuse certain types of content. 

The new investors in the company will be joining previous investors such as 1kx and Techstars. The company plans to use the funds to hire developer relations team members and support the project as it ramps up its commercialization and marketing endeavors. 

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