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I love permanence and so should you.

After all, the mission of the ArDrive community is to “Get permanent storage into the hands of everyone”.

That is because “permanence”, when applied to data, creates a hard drive that never forgets. It enables immutable, long term data archiving with censorship resistance, tokenized payment models, smart contracting systems and other innovations. This “Permaweb” of permanently stored files, pages, and applications is globally resilient, being built upon by hundreds of teams and already houses hundreds of millions of files.

But is permanent data really useful if it cannot be accessed?

Parmenides asks “is it or is it not?”

The Arweave team had this question in mind at the advent of their protocol. They addressed it by creating an “Arweave gateway”. Gateways fill the gaps by performing many functions that core Arweave Nodes are not incentivized to perform. Arweave Nodes act as the first layer in the protocol, and are hyper incentivized to provide permanent data storage. But modern apps need fast downloading, data indexing, robust querying, and other services that only gateways can provide.

Gateways won’t hold you back

Since I joined the Arweave mining community in 2018, I also understood the importance of this infrastructure within the Permaweb, so I tried running a gateway myself with limited success.
I founded ArDrive in 2020 and built a team of incredible people to develop and promote an intuitive app that lets you upload, download and share your public or private files on Arweave. In lockstep of building this core team, I established a community of people who loved the idea of easy-to-use, permanent storage and adopted our apps early. The outward community building was just as important as the internal core team building.

As the years went by, the Arweave network grew and the gateway was enhanced. But the barriers to operating a gateway did not shrink, and community members could not participate in running this valuable service for the Arweave network.

We believe that to achieve the goal of censorship-resistant and permanent data storage, providing access to Arweave must be spread across different geographies, communities, businesses, and individuals. So in late 2021 we conceived of ar.io, an open-source, decentralized and incentivized gateway that reads, writes and indexes data on Arweave. Soon after, we were able to fund this challenging idea and partnered with the Arweave team to improve the quality of service of the community gateway, arweave.net, and transform it into our new network.

We rolled a twenty on permanence

Since then, we have “slayed the behemoth”, after buffing up our infrastructure subject matter expertise thanks to our talented, experienced engineers.

We took the best things about the cloud-ready arweave.net software along with feedback from the ecosystem and mixed in our own knowledge, expertise, and experiences to create something new and exciting that we think will catapult the Permaweb to the next level of adoption. All of these things add up to something more than just some node software, and ar.io grew into a global network, protocol, and currency that enables the permaweb.

We also began to look inward at the team and community that I set in motion two years ago. Even though my handle has been vilenarios I did not have ar.io in mind when I started ArDrive! So in light of this new network we are committed to build, we had to ask: Who are we? What is our purpose? How does ArDrive relate to ar.io? How can we make the biggest impact?

Soul searching

The challenge was to expand our ecosystem to support the new aspects of ar.io, while acknowledging and respecting our current community of users, fans, developers and partners.

After many thoughtful discussions and debates, I think we now have a unifying brand that we are proud of: ar.io. The name stands for Arweave Input / Output, the essence of what both gateways and the software we build on Arweave achieves. This gives us flexibility to continue our mission across both retail-friendly products and back end, infrastructure.

This means we are now the ar.io Team!!!!!! Our team develops and markets open source protocols (like ArFS, ArNS, ArIO) and products (like Gateways, ArDrive platform, ArNS app, ArIO app). Some of our public presences will change to resemble ar.io branding, like our revamped public site, updated email addresses, and slightly adjusted social platforms.

Our mission, privacy-first focus, team personality, policies, and fun culture all remains the same as before, and we are more fired up than ever for permanent storage!

Ecosystem of open source protocols and products

ArDrive as a platform remains unchanged as flagship product to get permanent data into the hands of everyone, and our community will only grow as we reach new audiences. There are still billions of users around the world who have data they may want to store forever and need a simple solution to do so. We have positioned ArDrive to access this user base via exciting features in our web and mobile apps. There is no stopping this train!!

We are also introducing new apps as we roll out the ar.io network, like a modern ArNS name registration app. Some of these protocols may find their way into ArDrive to give users an even better Permaweb experience. At the same time, some of our services already work together. For example, ArDrive uses ar.io gateways to distribute your files onto the Arweave network and find them again through it index of every Arweave transaction.

The decision to formally rebrand our team was NOT taken lightly. But this was the logical conclusion after looking at everything ar.io introduces and the overall direction that our ecosystem is going.

Thank you to everyone who has believed in our mission, whether you have been here on day 1 or just learned about us recently. The ar.io team will continue to build great technology that harnesses the Permaweb and be a friendly corner in broader web3, so please join our Discord if you would like to learn more.

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