How to store data on-chain? Is it practical at all? Read more about data storage and blockchain in this article.

The past year has been dubbed the Year of the NFT, with NFT creators making billions of dollars selling all kinds of digital collectibles to their fans. The uniqueness of each NFT comes from its metadata, which contains a description of the NFT, as well as links to NFT media files.

This information could be stored directly on the blockchain, but undoubtedly this is very expensive, so most NFT projects are stored elsewhere and only return a linked address in the smart contract.

The main existing mainstream storage methods are explained below.




NFT101 Nouns DAO

中心化存储 Centralized Storage

Centralized storage is the one we are most familiar with. All files and data are stored on a single server, and the owner is responsible for maintaining that server, in Web 2.0 we basically use this way to store data, even if multiple servers are deployed, the so-called distributed deployment, does not guarantee the security of data storage. In particular, the person who controls the server can modify the data content of Metadata without the permission of the NFT owner, which completely defeats the purpose that NFT hopes to achieve, if your digital assets can be seized, changed or viewed at will, then you have no real ownership.



IPFS is a peer-to-peer data storage system that stores files on the network through nodes composed of many computers, and identifies these files with unique hash values. When a file request is made, IPFS finds the node that stores the file based on its hash value and extracts the file to the requestor.

The disadvantage of IPFS is that the continuity of storage is not guaranteed, which means that your files or data are not stored permanently on the network. Data files exist on IPFS only if a node in the network stores the data content and allows access to it, an act of storing data on IPFS known as “Pinning”.

In order to preserve file data on IPFS for the long term, many NFT projects need to manually pinning their data, either using a pinning service to ensure that at least one IPFS node keeps a copy. If the project or platform that maintains NFT’s IPFS data fails and stops Pinning the data, all stored data files will be lost as the node storing the copies clears the data or shuts down.




AR Weave

Arweave is a decentralized data storage network that guarantees persistence and requires users to pay a one-time fee to offset the cost of storage for 200 years. Of course, 200 years should only be a conservative estimate of time based on the trend of declining storage costs.

Arweave is incentivized by AR tokens that allow miners to “mine” by providing resources to copy and store copies of data. This ensures that files are not lost over time.

Arweave uses a structure called “BlockWeave” to store data, where each new block of data needs to be linked to a previous block of data and a “history block” from the previous history of the blockchain, and miners must prove They must prove that they have access to these randomly selected historical blocks in order to mine for new blocks and receive a reward for doing so, a mechanism that guarantees that older blocks are preserved.

For most NFT projects, a better storage method at this stage is Arweave. Of course the best way is still to store the metadata on the chain, for example: Uniswapp V3 NFT, Blitmaps, NounsDAO and other solutions, but at this stage due to the expensive, may not be practical enough.




对于大部分的NFT项目来说,现阶段比较好的存储方式就是Arweave了。当然最好的方式还是将metadata存储在链上,例如:Uniswapp V3 NFT、Blitmaps、NounsDAO等方案,但是在现阶段由于费用昂贵,可能实用性不够。

NFT101 AR Weave
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