Arweave Hits New All-Time-High for Transaction Volume and Gateway Requests
Here's how Arweave is scaling up to meet unprecedented levels of demand
Over the last two months, Arweave has seen spike after spike in transactions and gateway activity.
June 25th saw 83,664 transactions, spiked by various NFT minting projects and the archiving of banned Hong Kong media outlet Apple Daily.
On August 11th, Arweave experienced a new all-time-high of 87,314 transactions, caused partly by a large number of IPFS assets being bridged onto Arweave by ipfs2arweave.
The highest high yet happened over the last 48 hours – between August 14th and 15th, when over 180,000 transactions were made.
What’s behind the recent spikes in transactions?
By tracking volume over time against a few targeted wallets and transaction tags, we found in short that the NFT boom of JPEG Summer 2021 is to thank for Arweave’s explosion in popularity.
A big slice of these between the 14th and 15th of August came from Solanart NFT project Degen Ape Academy.
We found 20,248 transactions from a single wallet storing Solana-minted Degen Apes on Arweave, as well as hints that there is just as much volume to come from the Solana NFT market.
Two more Solana NFT projects, Sollamas and SolanaDoges, are adding a high volume of metadata and assets to the blockweave as minting gets underway. It looks like Arweave is making a fast transition to the de facto home for permanent NFTs, especially on Solana, and attracting projects that would traditionally rely on IPFS.
Arweave.net’s trial by fire
August 15th marked the drop of Degen Ape Academy – a much-awaited project that sold out eight minutes after going live.
Arweave.net usually sees 60,000,000 requests daily – around 700 per second. At its peak, however, Degen Ape Academy sent 1,000,000 requests to the gateway in just one minute – a 2280% increase compared to normal operating conditions.
Since Arweave.net is by far the most used gateway, load is already high and needed to be balanced in order to avoid temporary unavailability in cases of huge surges, like this.
Arweave gateways are a point of centralization in the network, but they don’t have to be that way. Anyone can run a gateway, just as anyone can mine AR and act as a server for any content uploaded to the network.
The Arweave team has done a lot in the past day alone to make gateways more decentralized and better able to balance load.
Arweave gateways have been optimized to handle 20x load
In the wake of the Degen Ape Academy storm, the Arweave team worked rapidly to move load away from Arweave.net and distribute it to meson.network and media.network – two decentralized CDNs which automatically manage load across a network of incentivized peers – Meson alone has over 40,000 nodes at the time of writing.
Arweave collaborated with Meson and Media Network to change the default Arweave gateway for each away from Arweave.net, then helped Degen Apes’ host Solanart move to Meson. This sent the majority of traffic across a much wider array of nodes, ensuring greater decentralization and improved performance under high load.
Future plans for decentralized gateways
It should be simple for every application to run and manage their own gateway, as to further decentralize the way users access content stored on the blockweave. That’s why the Arweave team has been working on a Dockerized way to deploy an application-specific gateway – Vartex, which builds upon the Arweave.net fork Amplify.
Another innovation has recently been released by the team at Redstone – Arweave Multihost – a drop-in replacement for the usual way Arweave is integrated into applications. Instead of developers defining a single host, Arweave Multihost supports Arweave initialization with an array of gateways as an argument. This means that if one gateway goes down or responds too slowly, the request will be retried on the next gateway in the list. The reliability improvements this brings should persuade permaweb application developers to go beyond defining
host: 'arweave.net', and instead use a list of reliable gateways.
If every application runs their or dynamically switches between gateways, Arweave will have taken a huge leap to remove the last centralized points of failure from the permaweb.