Introduction to Archain - an uncensorable archive for the internet

Tuesday, 19 Sep 2017 16:02

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Introduction

The internet has come as a liberating and educational tool for the masses, allowing us to connect with each other and acting as a repository for human knowledge. However, new and disruptive solutions often come with their own subsequent set of problems, a cycle that has kept humanity in constant evolution.

With the internet, new problems such as internet privacy and censorship started to arise. The centralized business models and structures that have been built on top of the internet have severely limited its potential as an open source of knowledge, interaction and information. This becomes extremely concerning when you consider how influential this technology is.

Censorship on the internet is nothing new. However, it is becoming an increasingly problematic as it moves from removing copyright infringements and unappropriate videos, to actual censorship of opinions. Youtube, for example, is now sandboxing content they don’t like and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What is Archain

With the problem previously discussed in mind, the team behind Archain has set out to create an immutable and decentralized archive for the internet, allowing it to become the source of knowledge it was meant to be. The white paper reads:

“While the internet has had a staggering impact on the organisation of society, some fundamental flaws with the system remain. Primary among these is the ephemeral nature of the information stored on the network – it can change or disappear at any time.”

Through the use of a novel Blockchain-derivative data structure, the blockweave, as well as a new kind of Proof of Access algorithm, Archain has managed to create a system in which participants are incentivized with newly issued cryptocurrency tokens to keep the information on the internet alive and accessible while the content consumers can be certain that it has not been tampered with. In short, Archain is a “parallel internet inside a cryptocurrency.”

Although Archain is not the first cryptocurrency project to put forth a solution to the recurrent censorship problem, it is the first one to present a data structure that would allow it to scale to an arbitrary size, a limitation that is common to many blockchain-based projects.

In order to facilitate access to the content being stored in this blockweave data structure, Archain also allows developers to build custom nodes and apps that act as an applicational layer for the Archain protocol, facilitating access and services. This feature is aligned with the open-source and community-driven ethos of the cryptocurrency movement.

Archain will also allow developers to easily build custom nodes and apps that run on the network, processing its contents and using services.

How does Archain work?

From the user viewpoint, Archain will be a browser extension that will allow him to explore both the normal web and the pages on the Archain blockweave archive, using the latter to backup information that may have been erased from the traditional internet, even allowing them to ‘rewind’ the state of a web page, and see what it looked at a previous moment in time, allowing the internet to live up to the aforementioned status of “repository for human knowledge”.

You may be wondering how the content ends up on Archain in the first place, right? Archain allows for two types of archiving, verified internet archiving, and unverified data archiving. While the latter allows for data to be submitted and not subject to any sort of validation, the former requires the network to agree on the content included.

In the verified internet archiving, an internet URL is submitted and its underlying content is examined and verified by a network of miners. This means that the content submitted cannot be tampered with when entering the Archain network, ensuring that the immutable version stored is indeed the correct one.

Right about now, you should be wondering: How can the Archain network store all of the data that may be required of it? In previous cryptocurrency systems like Bitcoin, the capacity requirements for miners to store the blockchain is a major issue. One in which a trade off between centralization of nodes and the capacity of the network itself must happen.

In previous blockchain networks, miners are forced to keep a copy of the entire blockchain, increasing capacity requirements as time passes. Archain, however, uses a novel Proof of Access (PoA) system while maintaining the security of the SHA2-256 Proof of Work (PoW) system.

The PoA model incorporates data from a previous random block in the calculation of new blocks, ensuring that miners keep data whose size is directly proportional to the amount of time they can spend constructively mining. They are then incentivized to store blocks that are not widely mirrored, bringing a natural balance to the network. The whitepaper reads.

“In this way, the system self-organises in order to ensure an even replication of all of the blocks on the blockweave.”

Once the documents have gone through the verified internet archiving or unverified data archiving process, they are stored on the blockweave, allowing users to seamlessly browse

between archived resources and present internet web pages. When browsing pages that are still online, users can leverage Archain to store and see previous versions of the page, ensuring that censorship in terms of edits can be mitigated.

ARC & Initial Coin Offering

The Archain ecosystem features its own underlying value token. This token is, in a way, backed by the storage space that it can purchase, given that archiving fees are paid in ARC. As previously stated, ARC can be mined through a combination of SHA-256 Proof of Work and the novel Proof of Access algorithm.

The Archain pre-sale began on the 2nd of August at 21:00 UTC and will last until the 13th of September or until the supply of 55,000,000 ARC is sold. The starting price for ARC is 0.09 GBP. Any unsold tokens will be available (without the pre-sale bonus) during a second sale, later this year. Click here to learn more.

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