Fully Decentralized NFTs With Aleph.im

Adrien Berthou
Jan 21 · 4 min read
Fully Decentralized NFTs with aleph.im

Non Fungible Tokens, aka NFTs, recently got a lot of attention but there is an elephant in the room: onchain storage is very limited so NFTs are very often partially centralized. This piece shows how aleph.im decentralized storage solution allows anyone to fully decentralized their NFTs regardless of the data type and size stored, a very fertile ground for the next generation of NFTs to flourish.

On March 17th 2021, it costs around $14/KB to store data on Ethereum. So a 2MB image would cost $28000 to store on Ethereum!

This is a piece is part of a series on aleph.im use-cases. Watch this space, there will be many more.

Aleph.im’s core mission is to help decentralized apps and protocols strip off the centralized parts of their stack, achieving a fully decentralized architecture. Our ecosystem achieves this by providing decentralized databases (including file storage), computation and a decentralized identification (DID) framework. You can think of aleph.im as a decentralized AWS or firebase.

A Quick History Of NFTs

NFTs first received a lot of attention with CryptoKitties in 2017 when congesting the Ethereum network and reaching extremely high valuations. NFTs are currently living a second glory within the crypto space and are seeing their use cases expand.

The gaming industry is still at the core of the NFT demand as seen on NFT marketplaces OpenSea, Rarible and Enjin. NFTs are also very popular in in digital art (i.e. SuperRare), metaverses (i.e. land certificates in Decentraland) and we are now getting to a very sci-fi level with NFTs being displayed in virtual homes or even virtual museums.

NFTs now even get displayed in virtual homes or virtual museums

DeFi is ubiquitous, in the NFT space too of course where we saw many new NFT use cases emerging with examples like Keep’s TBTC Deposit Token (TDT) and AaveGotchi, in projects bridging traditional finance and defi such as Centrifuge for supply chain contracts. They are also used in DID systems where NFTs are used to identify oneself.

NFTs are becoming an essential piece of the open-source crypto space, a key component to build a DApp and decentralized protocol, getting us one step closer to a future without trusted centralized intermediaries.

Partially Centralized NFTs

to Fully Decentralized NFTs

Your ideal NFT is fully decentralized and onchain. But an NFT’s metadata, its rich description, can be quite heavy and is often an image, a PDF or a video. Blockchains such as Ethereum, Polkadot and Cosmos were NOT designed for storing large data so the cost can easily rise to 10s of thousands of dollars to host a few MB. NFT developers must find work arounds and end up hosting this data either 1/ on centralized cloud services such as AWS or Google Cloud or 2/ on IPFS, but most of the time it references an IPFS gateway on the internet that is hosted by the “centralized” startup that you bought it from.

The problem with such solutions is that whoever is behind the centralized service can run out of business, get hacked, censored, take down the content, etc. Back to square one.

Full thread on https://twitter.com/jonty/status/1372163423446917122

From Centralized To Fully Decentralized NFTs

Fortunately, NFT developers now have access to a new generation of projects providing decentralized database and file storage services. That’s where aleph.im comes in, these features are core to our project and our network is steadily growing.

Architecture of the ongoing transition from partially to fully decentralized NFTs

The next generation of NFTs will all use decentralized storage solutions in order to totally remove any centralized part, becoming fully decentralized NFTs.

You can start today, using our decentralized storage dapp, or programmatically using our javascript or python libraries.

Added Benefits

Hosting your NFT metadata on aleph.im also means that there is no need to manage the write permission on a separate centralized platform. Only the NFT owner can edit the metadata associated with the NFT though her/his wallet.

Another added benefit is that owning a specific NFT can grant you specific permissions on a protocol. And since this NFT is fully decentralized, its metadata is always available if needed to be checked, guaranteeing access to this protocol at any time.

Fully decentralized NFTs link back to the benefits praised when the first blockchain projects were explained to the world

Essentially, making NFTs totally decentralized links back to the benefits praised when the first blockchain projects were explained to the world: trustless, serverless, censorship resistance, highly resilient, available anytime and anywhere.

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Re-Decentralize The Web With Decentralized Technology And Crypto-Economic Incentives


Our core mission is to re-decentralize the web. Our transformative technology enables Web2 and Web3 apps to remove the centralized parts of their stack, transitioning to a fully decentralized architecture.

Adrien Berthou

Written by

Marketing, Comms And Strategy @ Aleph.im || Previously: Crypto Analyst, GenesisDAO+FestDAO+PolkaDAO Member.


Our core mission is to re-decentralize the web. Our transformative technology enables Web2 and Web3 apps to remove the centralized parts of their stack, transitioning to a fully decentralized architecture.

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