NFTs, Collectible NFTs, NFT Storage

Using Arweave Through ArDrive for Storing 10,000 Generative NFTs Permanently: How to Get It Done

And I’ll include info on what it costs, too!

Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash No idea what this photo is, but it vaguely seem appropriate for an article about file storage, doesn’t it?

There’s a giant problem in the generative NFT space that almost no one talks about — long-term image and metadata storage. Yes, people tout IPFS storage as the end-all/be-all of permanent storage, but it’s just not true.

IPFS is great, so long as your content is pinned. But here’s the big secret: Pinning isn’t forever, and it’s not free. You generally need a pinning service like Pinata or Filebase to get involved. And that means you’ll need a monthly subscription to keep your pins alive. (I do NOT recommend either of those, btw. You can read my tirade against Pinata here, and you can basically substitute Filebase for “Pinata” in there, as their new pricing model is now broadly the same.)

What happens if you stop paying the monthly subscription? Say you change careers in 5, 10, 15 years, and you stop paying that never-ending monthly fee. What happens?

Well, they stop pinning your data. And eventually, IPFS may well see your data (your metadata and your imagery) as garbage. (That’s not a joke; it’s the actual term used in the IPFS documentation here.) They write “IPFS uses garbage collection to free disk space on your IPFS node by deleting data that it thinks is no longer needed.”

Of course, when we talk about NFTs, the intention is always permanence — whatever that means, of course. Does it mean 10 years? 20? 100? 1,000? Until the end of human existence? Until the sun explodes into a red giant and engulfs the earth in five billion years?

All I know is that the pinning service model seems like a recipe for disaster to me when it comes to achieving a level of practical permanence. People are going to stop paying, forget to pay, retire, switch jobs, and any number of other things. And their devs are going to move on, lose the original data, and maybe even lose access to the smart contracts in some ways. A lot can happen in just a few years, and we’re really only into year two of the overall NFT craze.

Enter Arweave