We received a grant from The Arweave Project to start moving our NFT metadata and images from Google Cloud to Arweave’s hybrid blockchain they call the blockweave. You can see our approved milestones stored on the blockweave here.
This is not only big for us, but also for our users. Now we have a provable timestamp with immutable data that has been mined and verified by several nodes. This opens the door for legal contracts, unchangeable art, and begins our manifest destiny to becoming a trustless platform meaning if Mintbase ever dies, your tokens will live on.
Why not IPFS? Uploads are instant, but the file discovery can take ages, sometimes over 7 minutes. This means when you upload your NFTs on Mintbase, each image could take this long to show up, think about trying to sell a ticket, but you have to wait to see what it is you are buying. This completely breaks any user experience. On top of this, if a file doesn’t get pinged in some time, nodes can just lose the data altogether. Yes, there are solutions for both of these problems, but we have to hire centralized pinning services like Piñata or build them into our solution, furthering us away from our ideal trustless goal. Arweave solves this with its storage endowment mechanism explained further in this video.
Decentralization is all about tradeoffs though and the main con is that the block times are at 2 minutes and can take up to 8 from our small sample of testing making the only painful part for our minters on the upload side. They can grab a cup of coffee in the meantime. Lasse Clausen says this will improve drastically in Arweave 2.0 so we’ll see. Once uploaded, the files should act the same as if they were stored on a trusted cloud endpoint serving files in sub 200 milliseconds.
The Arweave transition will be a key driver in refining Mintbase’s business model, as we will become a sort of dropbox for the decentralized/perma web. The ERC-721 NFT will be the glue that pulls it all together as the authorization to access files where only the owner of the token can view. Here is a sneak peak of our new unlockable file upload property.
As we start refining, we need to start binding ETH addresses to emails or need users to have a set 3box account. We have proudly boasted a marketplace with over 645 stores for the last 7 months without ever needing to ask for any user information. However sometimes things needs to evolve. Our issue is that we will be paying the Arweave storage cost behind the scenes and as much as our nifty current 2% fee costs are great for minters, the Mintbase team needs to eat as well. As it stands, over 63 ETH has passed through our buy function, most sales end up on OpenSea and at 2%, that’s 1.26 ETH, earning Mintbase a whopping $255.
The goal has been to first figure out what we are building, see if there is a need, and understand how people are using Mintbase. We want to keep a free tier for new users. In order to do this feasibly, we need to start figuring out identity so users won’t simply keep adding more ETH addresses, adding bloat to the free tier. We’ll be refining what makes sense over the next few weeks, but we want to make it a sort of NFT top-up card that gets the minter more storage to upload any file size they want.
Your Mintbase Team
Nate + Caro