The Arweave Network is Now Running Succinct Random Proofs of Access (SPoRA)
At 20:03 EST on February 24th, the first SPoRA block was mined on the Arweave network. Block 633720 marks an important upgrade to Arweave and a new era of efficient consensus and mining operations among network participants.
Breaking down SPoRA
Succinct Proofs of Random Access (SPoRA) is a new type of consensus mechanism for the Arweave network. Until block 633720, Arweave was running a classic Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, with the additional requirement for blocks to include a reference to past data on the network (a structure critical to the system’s blockweave architecture) — known together as Proof of Access (PoA). PoA consensus for Arweave has, up until February 24, encountered two opportunities that were improved with a new consensus mechanism:
First, align mining profitability with speed of data access. PoA achieved Arweave’s primary goal of permanent storage and data access, but it imposed no significant incentives for miners to retrieve data quickly. Without a competitive edge to data retrieval, miners found an opportunity to benefit from using a remote storage pool rather than maintaining separate, decentralized nodes. SPoRA incentivizes miners to replicate data more efficiently and more swiftly, ending the era of CPU domination. Every joule contributed to the network now needs to be accompanied by yet another share of the dataset.
In summary, SPoRA creates a more decentralized and efficient blockweave by disincentivizing resource pooling among CPUs.
Second, reduce the energy required to maintain the network. PoW, though secure, reliable, and resilient, is an extremely energy-intensive consensus mechanism. SPoRA’s architecture requires less energy to maintain, resulting not only in lower overhead for miners, but for a cleaner and more efficient system overall. Also, whereas classic PoW networks like Bitcoin spend energy for energy’s sake, the energy spent mining on the Arweave SPoRA network goes towards data storage and retrieval. This architecture is a more elegant alignment between resource spending and utility.
The upgrade to SPoRA
Block 633719 was the last PoA block on the Arweave network before the upgrade to SPoRA began. In order to mine the first SPoRA block, the Arweave dataset was randomly polled and verified over 12 billion times. Block 633720 was generated in a completely decentralized way, without any manual intervention or guidance from the Arweave development team. After the first 10 SPoRA “slow” blocks, the network returned to normal, steady operation.
So, what’s next? In the three year history of Arweave, there has only been one other mining upgrade this large. There likely will never be another of this magnitude. We anticipate a renaissance in mining on the Arweave network as miners recognize the opportunity of running individual operations. To learn more about SPoRA and its specifications, see here. And to join us in the next phase of the Arweave network by being a miner, head to this guide to get started.
Thank you to the Arweave community for being with us during this exciting milestone! If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest news about the Arweave network, you can join our miners’ & developers’ Discord server here, and follow us on Twitter here.
See you on the permaweb!