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Store private files on Arweave

Learn how to securely store and manage private files on the Arweave blockchain using Akord's intuitive vault system, featuring end-to-end encryption and user-controlled keys.

25 Jun 2024
Clock 6 mins


Creating a private bault:

  • Click "Setup vault" on the private files template
  • Name the vault (e.g., "my private vault")
  • Optional: Add description or tags (more relevant for public vaults)
  • Click "Create Vault"
  • Smart contract governing the vault is created in the background

Using the vault:

  • Drag and drop interface for file/folder upload.
  • 100 megabytes of free storage provided.
  • Additional storage can be purchased in the storage screen.

File upload process:

  • Review files before upload.
  • End-to-end encryption used.
  • Data encrypted on user's device before leaving.
  • Decryption only occurs on user's device or devices of invited collaborators.

Key management:

  • User controls the encryption keys.
  • Backup phrase represents the keys.
  • Akord does not have access to the keys.

File viewing and management:

  • Files can be viewed in the media viewer within the vault.
  • 5-15 minutes required for files to be committed on the Arweave blockchain.
  • Pending files shown with an orange dot.

Blockchain explorer and file info:

  • File info panel provides transaction details.
  • Link available to view transaction on blockchain explorer (viewblock).
  • File not immediately visible on explorer due to commit time.
  • Gateway URLs provided for direct file access (encrypted).

Akord gateway:

  • Optimistic caching before blockchain commitment.
  • Files accessible via Akord's gateway ( but remain encrypted.



Hello Akordians, in this video, we're going to look at how to store private files on Arweave.

Here in the Akord app, this is what you see when you first log in. You get a couple of template options for setting up your first vault. This one over on the right here, "private files" - no surprises, that's the one we will choose. Click "Setup vault", and then we can give it a name. We'll call this "my private vault". You can add descriptions or tags, but that's more relevant for public vaults, enabling them to be discovered on-chain. We'll leave it with the title. Click "Create Vault". We're creating a smart contract that governs the vault in the background.

When that's done, you get dropped directly into the vault. You can see here that this section of the window has a dashed line—that's actually a drag-and-drop field. We can drag and drop files or folders into this space. I'm going to go ahead and go over to my finder here, select a bunch of files, and just drag them over.

We're asked to review the files. You get 100 MB free with Akord, but if you need to store more than 100 MB, you'll need to buy storage. You can do that over here in the storage field—the storage screen—and there's a top-up button in the top right. Presuming you have enough storage on your account, you can upload your data.

We're using end-to-end encryption, so it's really important to emphasise that the data is being encrypted on your device before it ever leaves your device and comes to us. It's only ever decrypted on your device or on the device of others you invite into this vault to collaborate with or share the data. That's true end-to-end encryption, and you control the keys. The backup phrase that you have to store when you're creating your account represents your keys, and we don't have access to those keys. You are literally the only person who can decrypt this data, or anyone else who you invite to the vault.

So there we have it, it's as simple as that. The files are in the vault and we can click on the files and view them in this media viewer. Just to note here that it takes 5 to 15 minutes for files to be committed on the Arweave blockchain. You can see that this file has this orange dot and it's in this pending state. In 5 to 15 minutes, it will be fully committed on the Arweave blockchain.

You won't be able to view it on the blockchain Explorer because it's encrypted, of course. But if you want to explore the file on the blockchain Explorer, just look at the metadata and be confident that it's actually stored on-chain. You can open the file info panel - this icon over here - and view the transaction. Here, click this link that will take you to view block. We're not going to see the file, it's 404 because, as I mentioned before, that's going to take 5 to 15 minutes to commit. Then that page will be ready to view.

We have Gateway URLs to view the file directly on the Gateway, but again, it's encrypted so you won't be able to see anything. This is the Akord Gateway - - or it's our own Gateway, I should say, not a private Gateway. We optimistically cache the data before it gets committed on Arweave. That's why you get the green ticks and it's a working URL on our Gateway. But if we go ahead and paste that into a new window, you see there's nothing to see here because it's encrypted - it's a private file.

So there we have it. This is how to store your private data on Arweave. Hopefully, you found this video useful. If you have any questions, please drop into our Discord where you can reach myself and other members of the team. Until next time, take care and speak soon. Thank you.

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