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Arweave's Atomic NFTs

Everything you need to know about Arweave's Atomic NFTs.

24 Jan 2024
Clock 3 min


NFTs have rapidly gained popularity, offering individuals a new way to validate and monetize digital content in ways previously unexplored. While NFTs are often seen as highly secure, the reality is actually quite different.

As one explores NFTs further, certain underlying concerns arise—most notably, the issue of off-chain storage. Surprisingly, a vast majority of NFTs, about 91%, are stored off-chain, leaving them susceptible to potential loss and challenging the very ethos of NFTs being immutable.

Off-chain storage

When creating an NFT, the standard approach involves minting the token on a blockchain – such as Ethereum, Solana, or Cardano – and this token then holds the contract and serves as a pointer to the asset, which is stored in a different location. Solutions like IPFS offer decentralized storage for these assets, yet they don't guarantee permanence as the asset can expire if it is not actively maintained.

Often, what is popularly identified as the NFT is, in fact, the digital asset itself, rather than the token.

Ownership rights of these NFTs are secured and recorded on the blockchain. However, the digital content they represent — whether it's art, music, or other media forms — isn't typically stored on the blockchain. More often than not, it's hosted on conventional servers. Such a setup poses a significant risk.

Imagine the implications if an NFT project is abandoned. Over time, the external servers might shut down or remove the content. In such scenarios, what remains of an NFT's value when the digital asset it points to no longer exists? This potential loss of accessibility and content undermines the reliability and permanence that many associate with blockchain technology.

Enter Atomic NFTs

As we have seen, storing data on Arweave ensures that it remains accessible and immutable indefinitely. Arweave’s capabilities extend to hosting the token, its metadata, and the asset all together. This enables the creation of Atomic NFTs, which uniquely consolidate contract and asset data in a single transaction on one chain.

Such a configuration guarantees that the digital representation of the token is unaltered and perpetually available. The holder of an Atomic NFT can thus claim authentic ownership, free from the uncertainties of off-chain storage.

In the words of the Arweave documentation on Github:

"An Atomic NFT uses Arweave Transaction Meta Data to generate a Smart Contract and store a media file in a single transaction.

This unique standard makes a new type of NFT that is:

  • Eco-friendly (contracts are lazily executed, and proof of work is used minimally)

  • Contracts and media are intertwined and cannot be separated

  • Media and contract data use a common locator

  • Proofs of Real traffic provide attention rewards via Koii

  • Can be bridged to any blockchain network."

Mint your own Atomic NFT

Akord has recently introduced its own tool for minting these innovative tokens. This tool offers the flexibility to mint individual NFTs or to create an entire collection by minting multiple NFTs simultaneously. Atomic NFTs can be any file type – images, audio files, videos, PDFs, and more.

To begin minting your own Atomic NFTs, the first step is to set up an Akord account. If you don’t already have one, you can sign up here. You’ll get 100 MB of free permanent storage on the Arweave network when you sign up, so you can try minting completely for free.

After your account is active, the next step involves creating a permanent and public vault. Once this is set up, you can proceed to to initiate the minting process. 

For further instructions, please refer to this article.


NFTs are no longer just a trend – they're becoming an integral part of the digital landscape, with broad adoption by companies and enthusiasts alike. Yet, for them to hold lasting significance and remain true to their promise, they must be stored where they can endure – on Arweave.

Beyond NFTs, Arweave also has the potential to reshape archiving. Curious to learn more? In our next article, we’ll explore the simplicity and accessibility of archiving on Arweave, demonstrating how easy it is for anyone to get started.

The Arweave miniseries

This article is part of a miniseries designed to help readers discover Arweave. Each piece explores a different aspect of Arweave, from what inspired the project to its practical applications. Use the list below to navigate through the other articles in the series:

Winston the elephant


We, Arweave's true inspiration?

The Permaweb

How Arweave solves link rot

Understanding Permanent dApps

Arweave is Censorship Resistant

Arweave’s Universal Data License

Arweave’s Atomic NFTs 📍 You are here

How to archive with Arweave

Make your first upload to Arweave for free

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