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Permacast Launches Incentives for Early Adopters: How to Participate

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Before talking about Permacast and its airdrop campaign, let’s discuss why we are here. Some months ago, it was rather popular to encounter polls on crypto Twitter that asked the same thing and the preferred answers were “I’m here for the money” and “I’m here for the tech”. Both are honest answers, and both are wrong, in my opinion. When electricity became available to the masses, people didn’t start to use it because keeping a lightbulb on would have earned them “electricity money”, nor because they were fascinated by how electrons were circulating through a wire. They wanted light. Despite the risks and unknowns, electricity delivered a light source superior to all that mankind had ever invented.

So, why are we here? If you are reading this now, in the middle of 2022, the answer is more obvious than for most crypto users: data stored on Arweave will continue to emit “light” long after other storage solutions have burned their fuel. If you are not an arweaver already, you can just take this crash course and understand as much as you need about how it all works.

Of course, there is a cost associated with Arweave storage, as it is with any human-related activity, be it money or time. The problem we encounter nowadays in the crypto space is that the problem of cost, which should be of marginal importance, has become the defining feature. When projects  use money to create other money that will be used to create a product that could create more money, what’s the final product/use case for most crypto projects? Money.

What does this have to do with Permacast’s campaign? As I said, one of the main obstacles that hinder the adoption of the current Web3 technology, besides the necessity of a crypto wallet, is the paywall itself. In our case, everything you store on Arweave comes with a cost. Permacast removes that cost and lets everybody experience the utility carried by the project and subsequentially by the underlying network. It’s like being one of the pioneers that tested the first light bulbs in their home. The difference is that “Edison’s company” is paying you to test it. Your interaction with Arweave via Permacast will represent a net gain for the foreseeable future. The project not only will cover your storage cost, but it will grant you PermawebDAO test tokens.

What is Permacast?

Think of Permacast as a web3 solution for audio content creators – especially podcasters – to host their work in a censorship-resistant environment. If you want to understand how the permanent storage proposition actually works, you can read the above-mentioned article or this one. Once you secure your precious recordings on Permacast you can use the RSS feed to stream them on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. On top of that, each episode is an Atomic NFT, which, if you want, you can trade on Verto.

Currently it is used to store podcasts like Permaweb Pioneers or ArCast (ArDrive’s podcast); important meeting recordings, like the meetings held by the Ethereum community where the future of the protocol was discussed – and most importantly, thoughts of Chinese residents that couldn’t be expressed in an environment plagued by censorship.

Don’t despair if you are not a podcaster or a musician. In a matter of weeks, they will upgrade the product to allow video content too. You are not a content creator at all? That’s fine also. There are a lot of major works, milestones in art and sciences that are under the public domain. Everybody could save and distribute them freely. Still, their digital existence is hanging by a thread. One unpaid server, one broken hard drive, one controversial law that could ban certain recordings, and poof, it’s no more. This year alone, around 400.000 recordings went into the public domain.

In the current web, data loss is a real threat. It’s a phenomenon that’s happening even at the corporate level and regards sensitive pieces of information. If businesses couldn’t protect their critical data from oblivion, think about what’s happening with data that doesn’t have a owner. Who will cater to those orphans? Taking care of open databases in Web2 is hard. You have to pay monthly for servers from a revenue stream that’s usually unreliable, being based on donations.

Permacast, besides being a tool for content creators, is a cost-effective repository for tracks that otherwise could be forgotten. You could participate in saving our own history and make it accessible for generations to come without any cost on your part.

A case study

So I did this. I went to LibriVox, downloaded an audiobook and posted it to Permacast. You may find it redundant. But is it? LibriVox indeed is a very cool project by itself. They rely on volunteers to read chapters from books that are already in the public domain and post those recordings in a library. They have been doing this for many years, and we hope they will continue to do it more in the future. From one perspective, they could be an example to a lot of so-called DAOs that prioritise their “tokenomics” over meaningful utility and a true purpose.

Still, how far into the future could they hope to preserve their ever-growing database of audiobooks? Another ten, twenty, fifty years, maybe? Then what? There are just too many risks associated with trying to keep a non-profit open database on Web2. If they choose to use Permacast as a primary storage layer, they will get at least the following perks: granted storage for at least 200 years; 0 monthly recurrent storage costs. They could just focus more on what they are actually doing: recording new audiobooks.

In fact, I will try to contact them and let them know about the Permacast campaign and the fact that they could actually upload their entire database for free. If they are not interested, I think that I will be uploading an audiobook per week myself.

How to use Permacast

To exemplify it, I chose an audiobook, made a cover, and uploaded it on Permacast. Yes, the choice of the book itself is important, but we will not talk about it now, instead, let’s see how you can upload your own content too. The following tutorial is made for an absolute beginner. If you are somehow versed in Web3 interactions, you’ll find Permacast UI pretty intuitive, and probably won’t need to consult the next section.

First of all, you need an ArConnect Wallet and some $AR. If you don’t have this wallet installed, check this article that shows you step-by-step how to get one. Then access permacast.dev, and you will land here:

Push the big “ArConnect login” button and you will be prompted to the following view:

I call the views that let you connect ArConnect with basically any Arweave native dApp the “triptych of ArConnect”. The first message will ask you to validate that you are yourself by filling in the password field and hitting the log-in button. Between the password field and the log-in button, there is a pretty important feature characteristic for ArConnect: the “use allowance limit”.

You can let it stay unchecked, if you trust the dApp you will connect, check it and let it be, or set a different allowance limit. By default, the value of the allowance is fixed at 0.1 $AR. If the dApp will try to extract more than that limit, ArConnect will ask you to validate that specific transaction again. This way, you are setting a fail switch that will prevent malevolent actors from draining your wallet without you knowing.

I’ve set my allowance limit at 1 $AR because I find it rather tedious to validate anything under that threshold. (Actually, I have no allowance limit set because I’m lazy, and I trust almost all the Arweave native dApps that are out there, but that’s just me)

After you establish the allowance, input the password, and hit log-in, you will be directed to another message that will show you the types of permissions you will allow for the specific dApp. Push accept, and you are connected.

Once you finish with the “triptych”, you will see two buttons in the right corner of the site. One blue and one pink. The pink one has some seemingly random characters on top of it. They actually represent your first and last characters from the string that makes your wallet address and shows you that your wallet is connected. If you left-click it will let you disconnect from Permacast. The blue button is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s hit it and see what’s happening.

Boom, you are in business. In this view you are creating a new “show” or “podcast”, basically, the Web3 repository where you could upload your actual recordings. In this step, you will configure the name of the show, its description, a cover image, and so on. Note that you are not forced to post an email if you don’t want to. Be extra careful with what you are writing down here because there are no redoes. This part will be written on Permaweb too, so, it’s permanent.

Once you are done, hit upload and wait around 15 minutes. The below message will be prompted. Writing data on Arweave has a waiting time, but it will be worth the hassle. After the upload, it’s validated data retrieval is nearly instant.

After the show is uploaded, you will find a little “Add episode” inside it. Click that button and a new view will appear. in this view, you can actually upload your recordings, name them, and add a little description for the episode. By the way, please pay extra attention to the “List as an Atomic NFT on Verto” checkmark. I didn’t check it, because I don’t think it is right to trade an NFT that represents a recording not made by myself on Verto. However if you are an original content creator, I urge you to check it. Not only you are saving your content permanently, you’ll transform it in a tradeable NFT for free.

Once you hit “upload” you will go through two different messages. One that will prompt you the file is uploaded to Permacast and after that the second message will tell you that the upload is complete and you have to wait several minutes until the transaction will be validated on Arweave. Keep in mind that once the upload is complete you can upload another episode while you are waiting for the prior transaction to be validated on-chain.

That’s pretty much it. After the transactions are validated, your episodes will become automatically visible inside your show. Now everyone can download or play your episodes (using the buttons highlighted in the red and green boxes). Also, everyone can tip you with $AR if they want to, by simply accessing the “tip” button (highlighted in the blue box).

What’s the aftermath? Well,  I only used 0.11819174 $AR to permanently store 75.9 MB of data. The good part is that at the end of the month I will receive testnet PermawebDAO tokens more than matching the value of my spent AR, so a net gain for doing the right thing.

TL;DR

  • Permacast is a permanent audio content library built on top of Arweave.
  • Soon they will let you store video content.
  • All the files uploaded on Permacast could be traded as NFTs on Verto Exchange when Verto is open for business again.
  • You can use RSS feeds to stream the content you uploaded on Permacast to Spotify or Apple Music/Podcasts.
  • They are incentivising you to use Permacast by airdropping you $PWT test tokens that can be swapped on a 1:1 ratio when the mainenet tokens will go live.
  • Even if you are not a content creator you can benefit from this campaign and save some works that are in the public domain.
  • Permacast could become a life saver for non-profit Web2 ventures that are creating content

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