The Internet Archive and Wayback Machine are awesome.
You can see that in 1998, AVC.com was pointing to something called Fishnet that looked like this. And you can see what AVC looked like in September 2008.
There are many archives, some of them quite specialized, in the physical and digital world. But they all suffer from the same problem, which my colleague Dani explained yesterday:
Archives are extremely important: the survival and ongoing availability of knowledge helps with the continuation of human progress. While there are existing digital archival projects out there, they are mostly donation-based and face the risk that their funding could run out, their hosting provider could one day go out of business or a government could force them to remove files.
Dani wrote that yesterday in our blog post welcoming Arweave to the USV portfolio. Arweave is a decentralized protocol that enables archiving and the funding to support it at web scale.
The key innovation is a sustainable funding model for archives which Dani explained in her post:
Arweave had to invent a new method of paying for storage, one where you can pay once, and store forever. While that sounds almost too good to be true and took us a long time to wrap our heads around, it will be true provided the cost of storage continues to decline at a predictable rate. Machines that provide storage to the network get paid out in small increments over time as they continue to prove that they have held onto archived files.
Decentralized infrastructure is one of our favorite investment themes in crypto (Filecoin, Helium, Arweave, and at least one unannounced investment) because of the resiliency and sustainability of decentralized infrastructure (just look at bitcoin mining for an example of that).
We think infrastructure will tend to move to decentralized models over time and archives are a great example of that.