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Sponge is a Minecraft server mod designed for modern Java Edition servers and is maintained by the Sponge Team, currently it is being used by MinecraftOnline as its plugin platform.
The mod provides an API and framework for running plugins written in Java or Kotlin on Minecraft servers. Additionally, it provides services for handling necessities like permissions. Sponge includes patches for bugs and exploits as well as various performance improvements.
Sponge started being used by MinecraftOnline on April 3rd 2021, the same day the server updated to 1.12.2, as the replacement for Canary.