Sam Williams

CEO (Archain) and PhD Candidate

Sam is the CEO of the Archain project, a system of permanent information storage. Sam has been building distributed systems with Erlang, from operating systems to web applications, for around 10 years. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Kent. When not hacking Erlang, Sam can be found climbing mountains and pondering geopolitics!

Past Activities

Sam Williams
Code BEAM SF 2018
16 Mar 2018
14.30 - 15.15

Fighting Authoritarianism With Blockchain And Blockweaves

It is cliche to say that we live in the age of information, but it is also profoundly true. Information (and access to it) shapes our thoughts and actions as a society, now more than ever. Control and political censorship of that information poses a systemic risk to democratic societies worldwide.

In this talk we will present the Archain project: a system of permanent data storage aiming to democratise the control and accessibility of information. As well as detailing the aims of the system, its technical implementation and potential effects, we will also discuss the use of Erlang as its base.

Archain is a decentralised permanent information storage system, open to all, forever. Built on a novel blockchain-like data structure (a 'blockweave') that shards across many computers, the Archain is a public library and archive inside a cryptocurrency.

As well as taking a peek inside the Archain infrastructure itself, we will explore how Archain-based Erlang apps can be used to build incontrovertible election/voting systems, automated traders, and decentralised social media systems, among many other uses.


This talk will detail strategies and experiences building a decentralised permanent archive and cryptocurrency using Erlang. It will also explore the development of decentralised Erlang applications using the Archain platform.


Anyone interested in Erlang usage in the wild, decentralisation or blockchain technology!


Articles: 2

Fighting authoritarianism with blockchain and blockweaves - SLIDES - Code BEAM SF 2018

Article by Sam Williams

Slides from Sam Williams's talk "Fighting authoritarianism with blockchain and blockweaves" - Code BEAM SF 2018


Fighting Authoritarianism with Erlang, Blockchains and Blockweaves

Article by Sam Williams

Using Erlang’s process-centric approach enabled Sam and his team to quickly design and implement the Arweave network. A component of their approach was to build an extensive testing framework utilising Erlang’s message passing and lightweight threading model, simulating networks under realistic conditions on a vast scale.


Videos: 1