In the spring of 2022, the ar.io team was tasked with creating a decentralized and incentivized gateway network for Arweave.
We’re taking a major step towards realizing that mission: the release of a scalable and modular gateway source code package under an open AGPL3.0 license! Check out the repo!
Open source is more than just a licensing model - it's a pillar of decentralized and permissionless infrastructure. With this codebase, anyone can run their own ar.io gateway and contribute towards securing digital permanence.
What is a gateway?
Gateways are crucial components in the permaweb infrastructure, acting as conduits between users and the information stored on Arweave. Unlike Arweave mining nodes that secure the Layer 1 blockweave and replicate information throughout the network, gateways undertake the responsibilities of data retrieval, caching, indexing transactions into a searchable database, and delivering that data at scale.
Gateways are the entry point to the permaweb, functioning as specialized nodes that facilitate access to and interaction with the stored data. They enable low-cost, maintenance-free hosting of content, benefiting users, creators, and developers.
Why is this important?
Open-sourcing ar.io's gateway codebase marks a significant milestone for the permaweb as a whole. It bolsters decentralization, minimizing reliance on single entities and boosting network resilience.
One single gateway cannot serve every need of a thriving permanent data ecosystem - it will take a network. With this release, anyone can boot up a gateway to serve their needs.
The accessibility of the codebase encourages more participants to operate gateway nodes, enhancing the network's health. By introducing an efficient and modular architecture in our nodes, we're reducing gateway operational costs and stimulating more participation. When we foster global innovation and collaboration, we get continuous improvement of gateways.
Join us: Community Testing and Getting Started
We began this process with a Gateway Node Alpha Test (GNAT). This comprehensive test provided valuable insights into gateway functions thanks to the active engagement of some dedicated ecosystem participants. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all participants whose invaluable feedback and unique insights have greatly aided the project's progress. Their contributions will continue to shape the development of ar.io as we march towards achieving a robust, decentralized permaweb.
Running a gateway might seem daunting, but it's easier than you think. Our team has been running them on scales as small as raspberry pis in a closet to as large as enterprise grade cloud solutions like ar-io.dev.
Anyone interested in contributing to the decentralized permaweb infrastructure is welcome to get involved. Operating your own gateway makes you an essential part of securing digital permanence that Arweave provides.
To get started, you can find tutorials and resources in the docs portal.
This milestone represents a significant stride towards decentralization by enabling individuals to operate their own gateways. By releasing the gateway source code under an open license, we invite the community to actively participate in building a more decentralized permaweb infrastructure.
However, sustained decentralization goes beyond giving everyone the tools to run a gateway.
To enhance network resilience and promote wider participation, the next phase involves testing networked gateways and implementing incentivization strategies. The team is diligently working on these aspects, with detailed discussions outlined in the forthcoming white paper.
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Together, we can secure the future of digital permanence!