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The Arweave Ecosystem Annual Report 2021

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This year, crypto finally saw mass adoption. It was the web3 breakout moment. While only a small fraction of the world holds crypto, it’s clear now after 2021 that most have an opinion about it – and this is a victory. NFTs and DAOs saw an unprecedented boom, and the secret creations of the bear market came to light amid renewed energy from investors.

Arweave was no exception – 2021 proved that blockchain infrastructure is an essential piece of the puzzle and that permanent storage can’t be found elsewhere. NFT projects especially set their sights on Arweave, but the overall popularity increase impacted price, network usage, ecosystem size, social recognition and just about every metric you can imagine.

Let’s look at the key moments of 2021 and assess how far we’ve come.

Arweave in 2021, by the numbers

To say 2021 was a breakthrough year for Arweave is an understatement. Every key metric – from token price to network usage – saw explosive, exponential growth.

AR Token price: 33x at ATH

  • Jan 1st 2021: $2.63
  • Nov 7th (ATH): $90.94
  • Dec 30th: $55.63

Unbundled transaction volume: 7x increase

  • January 2021: 651,000
  • December 2021: 5,176,000

The highest daily transaction volume was on October 6, 2021 with 224,946 transactions. October was also the highest ranking month, with 27,090,081 transactions alone – almost 10x the entirety of 2020 in one month.

Monthly data usage: 40x increase

  • January 2021: 188.42 GB
  • December 2021: 7.58 TB

The single largest day for data usage came early, on March 26, 2021, with 887.93GB. However, usage increased at rapid pace as the year went along – the month with the data usage ATH was November 2021, with 8.24 TB.

Weave size: 8.5x increase

  • Jan 2021: 4.15 TB
  • Dec 2021: 39.32 TB

Bundlr: 76,000,000 layer 2 uploads processed since launch

  • October 8th 2021: 1,000,000 daily transactions
  • October 17th 2021: 4 TB of total data stored, accounting for 50% of weave size growth at the time
  • December 1st 2021: 50,000,000 total transactions
  • December 30th 2021: 76,400,000 total transactions
  • 26,000,000 transactions in the month of December – 4x more than the Arweave L1

Arweave’s layer 2 scaling solution, Bundlr Network, only launched in September of this year and already accounts for the majority of data committed to the weave. At the start of December we reported that Bundlr nodes had processed 50 million transactions. Now the total sits above 76 million, working out to around 26 million transactions a month.

Five exchange listings, two on-ramps and a DEX

In 2021, Arweave’s native AR token – used to pay for storage on the network – finally became available to everyone in the world. Gate.io and Huobi listings in mid 2020 brought AR to many users but excluded Canada, Japan, and the United States.

In 2021, however, AR was listed on some of the highest volume exchanges in the world including Binance, Crypto.com, KuCoin, Uphold and OkEX. Arweave’s integtration with fiat on-ramps Ramp and Transak made it possible for anyone in the world with a credit card to buy AR. And, via Wrapped AR, everFinance made it possible to buy wAR on Uniswap and redeem it for AR in everPay.

On top of this, Arweave gained support for new wallets: web wallet arweave.app and mobile wallet BitKeep. At the time of writing, a proposal for Trust Wallet integration was accepted and is in-progress.

High-profile NFTs flocked to Arweave

2021 was a big year for NFTs and innovative art projects. People started talking about NFTs and so did we. We wrote 14 articles about NFTs making up 11.8% of all of our content!

In June 2021, the highest-grossing NFT artist of all time, Beeple, launched WENEW on Arweave. WENEW tokenizes significant moments in history such as Andy Murray’s 2013 Wimbledon victory and the 200th birthday of Louis Vuitton.

In July, JAY-Z released an NFT re-imagining of the Reasonable Doubt album cover for its 25th anniversary and stored the 500MB animation on Arweave. The piece auctioned at Sotheby’s for $138,600.

The creator of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee uploaded the source code for the world’s first web browser (1990) to Arweave and auctioned it for $5.4m – 2021 proved that the highest profile creators choose Arweave to preserve their legacy.

Arweave’s integration with Metaplex introduced many top Solana NFT projects to on-chain asset storage. When we covered Arweave’s Solana integrations in September this year, we found that most of the top selling NFT projects on Solana were using Arweave storage. Plus, the tool which drove a lot of this growth, Metaplex Candy Machine, saw adoption by tens of thousands of users this year.

Arweave-native NFTs flourished too

The atomic NFT standard – a method of minting an NFT that commits the asset, metadata and smart contract to Arweave in a single transaction – was born this year and well adopted by the ecosystem. Notably, everything uploaded to Koii and Verto is an atomic NFT which can be bought, sold, and listed on the secondary market. This Arweave-native NFT standard spawned projects such as DKleine’s Atomic Zombies and Chris James’ Bark Blocks.

Glass, a video NFT platform and marketplace using Arweave storage, also had a monumental year, sending 19 music videos and short films to auction. Across 1/1s and limited edition auctions, Glass processed 35.345 ETH in sales, or almost $130,000 at the time of writing.

Notable projects who took their work to auction include ASAP Twelvvy, Marc E. Bassy, 27Delly, and the first direct-to-permaweb feature film, Cabourg.

Arweave went cross-chain

Cross-chain was a key theme for the Arweave ecosystem news of 2021. In a year where attention and liquidity are split between several key ecosystems, the more overlap Arweave’s layer 0 has, the better. KYVE proved itself to be the basis of our constant claims that Arweave is layer 0 by archiving the full on-chain history of:

  • Avalanche
  • Moonriver
  • Cosmos
  • Celo
  • Solana
  • Evmos / Tendermint
  • Near
  • Aurora

On the user side, everFinance brought Arweave into the world of Ethereum by creating Wrapped AR and launching liquidity mining on Uniswap and Dodo. As well as WAR, everPay in general provided the infrastructure for an Arweave DEX that can interact with the Ethereum mainnet.

Bundlr’s integration of the MATIC token to pay for storage saw the Arweave network being used by people who don’t hold AR for the first time ever. Now, Polygon users can top up their Bundlr account with MATIC to pay for storage on their users’ behalf, bypassing the need for users to hold AR if they want to take advantage of permanent storage. Plus, other tokens like SOL are on the roadmap next.

Social recognition is up 21x

Arweave has had a massive surge in social interest over the last 12 months. All this is reflected in the search volume that Arweave has seen. Checking Google Trends for the word “Arweave”, we can see that volume for the term has gone up by 21 times, from January when the search index sat at 2 up until today when the index sits at 42. The biggest surge in searches was seen between the end of August and the beginning of September.

Since the beginning of December 2021, the term seems to be in a healthy uptrend, showing a sure increase in interest.

The highest total search volume over the year came from China, with Singapore and Hong Kong in second and third places.

 

 

When comparing the 2021 data to the data from 2020 it is quite shocking, with any significant amount of search volume only visible in August 2020.

 

 

So what will 2022 bring? Will we see Arweave search volume hitting a new ATH? With the increase in interest for the Metaverse, and Arweave potentially playing a crucial role in the future of it, chances look good.

SmartWeave adoption went parabolic

Native smart contracts of Arweave – SmartWeave – really took off in 2021. Developers discovered that it was possible to write contracts in JavaScript which cost almost nothing in gas fees to interact with. Several key applications were built on top: Verto, RedStone, Pianity, Koii, and everything we built at Arweave News made good use of SmartWeave and even the revamped SDK provided by RedStone.

SmartWeave can power the entire backend for applications, writing data to the Arweave in a seamless, validated way that offers much more customizability than basic tagged data transactions. Plus, the team at Verto are apparently working on giving the tool even stronger superpowers:

A year for Arweave News

Of course, 2021 has been a great year for the Arweave News team too. Starting with its creation by co-founder Abdallah who came up with the idea in 2020.

I joined the Arweave ecosystem in early 2020 as an inspector and technology enthusiast. However, over time i found the need in the Arweave ecosystem to have a place that reports the eco-news, the protocol, and spread awarness of this amazing ecosystem. That’s how i started arweave.news

Arweave News raised a total of $70,000 in funding this year and is currently employing a team of five writers, editors and developers. We’re growing as we enter the new year and build more tooling for media companies. This Yearly Report marks the 119th article written by Arweave News.

The growing team

Back end engineer Darwin was working closely with Adbalah to shape Arweave News. The other co-founder, Xylophone, joined in July and was focusing on the front end as well as content. Soon after, Kate joined as content creator but as the team was growing, so did the content and she moved to editing when the team was joined by content creator Pierre.

The team is to be joined by more writers in the next year and is happy to include community volunteers translating content in other languages. We thank Benedict and the Arweave News Chinese Community for translating in Chinese, Kei who translated content in Japanese and Alexander who translated content in Russian. Translated versions of our content are coming next year to reach and unite even more people around the globe.

Arweave News projects

Arweave News worked on other media projects as well – Permacast and Permablog. Permablog hosted our AMAs with the members and DAOs from the Arweave ecosystem.

It was a great year for Permacast too. We deployed RSS feeds that now power several podcasts on Spotify. The Ethereum Foundation’s All Core Devs and Cat Herders meetings were archived on the platform and linked in the foundation’s official GitHub. Arweave ecosystem podcasts launched on Permacast, too, including Sarcophagus Scarab Sessions, the ArCast and our associated podcast – Arweavers hosted by 4SV’s Rob Chan.


Thank you for supporting arweave.news and this year and joining us as we document the growing ecosystem. We’re looking forward to an even stronger 2022! ❤️


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