Arweave vs Ordinals

Crossroads of Permanence: Arweave and Ordinals

In the ever-expanding digital universe, two intriguing technologies have emerged for the preservation of digital assets: Arweave’s permanent storage and Bitcoin Ordinals. These innovations leverage blockchain technology but serve distinctly different purposes and employ unique mechanisms to ensure data permanence.

Let’s take a quick look at the overall purpose of each.


Arweave is a novel platform designed to provide onchain data storage which is permanent and unchangeable storage for digital data, utilizing its native token (AR) to facilitate transactions within its ecosystem.

It operates as a collectively owned hard drive that never forgets, storing data with a one-time upfront fee and ensuring its availability in perpetuity. Arweave appeals to a variety of users such as journalists, archivists, and individuals who wish to preserve their digital legacy and digital assets indefinitely.

Arweave has found utility amongst NFT creators who store their media assets and metadata on the blockchain. In addition, Arweave has provided use cases for a wide-range of industries including journalism, music, movies, archiving, and website/dapp hosting.

Bitcoin Ordinals

Most people have heard of Bitcoin, the original blockchain technology to make it into the mainstream. Bitcoin is still the blockchain which all others are measured against.

Ordinals transform satoshis, the smallest unit of Bitcoin, into unique digital artifacts by inscribing them with data, effectively creating Bitcoin-native NFTs. They exploit the unique identification of each satoshi, similar to a serial number, allowing for the creation of digital uniqueness within the Bitcoin blockchain.

Ordinals leverage the trust Bitcoin has established as a Bitcoin specific NFT.

Ordinals enable NFTs on Bitcoin

Key Differences:

Purpose and Design

  • Arweave is specifically engineered for data storage, with an economic model designed to support perpetual data retention without ongoing costs. Furthermore, there are numerous dapps built upon Arweave that take advantage of the benefits of building with permanent data.

  • Bitcoin Ordinals repurpose the existing Bitcoin blockchain to create unique digital assets, a novel use that is not its original intent.

Data Permanence

  •  Arweave guarantees data permanence with its endowment pool model, which locks fees to pay miners over time for data storage.

  • Ordinals’ permanence is subject to the discretion of node operators, potentially leading to data pruning.

Economic Model

  •  Arweave’s endowment model is designed to decrease the cost of storage over time, ensuring long-term sustainability.

  • Bitcoin Ordinals operate within the confines of Bitcoin’s transactional economy, which may not be optimized for data storage.

Smart Contracts and Infrastructure

  • Arweave facilitates the creation of decentralized applications relying on immutable storage.

  • Bitcoin lacks the smart contract functionality, making Ordinals trade more complex and less accessible

Arweave:  A permanent vault for data storage

Special Cases for Usage:

  • Arweave: Ideal for archiving digital content (including large files) requiring permanent storage, such as digital assets or media (like NFTs), legal documents, historical records, or journalistic pieces.

  • Bitcoin Ordinals: Suitable for creating unique digital collectibles or assets that benefit from the security and decentralization of the Bitcoin network but do not require guaranteed permanence.

Arweave vs Ordinals: Key Takeaways


Arweave’s Permaweb

Bitcoin Inscriptions

Primary Use

Permanent data storage

Creation of digital assets

Data Permanence

Secured by endowment

Dependent on node operators

Economic Model

One-time payment



Decentralized apps support

Limited trading options

Block Space Utilization

Specifically for storage

Retrofit onto Bitcoin

Potential for Data Pruning

Illegal transactions can be blacklisted


Smart Contract Functionality




What should I use?  


In essence, Arweave offers a revolutionary platform for permanent data storage, Bitcoin Ordinals provide a creative twist on digital collectibility within the Bitcoin ecosystem. 

The decision between the two depends largely on the desired outcome: permanence and reliability with Arweave which also extends to different types of files beyond NFTs, or integration within the Bitcoin ecosystem with Ordinals.

Related Article: If you like this article you will like our comparison article on the decentralized networks: Arweave vs. Filecoin

ArDrive Mobile: The world’s first blockchain app for private data storage

Want to upload digital assets on Arweave: Try ArDrive

What is ArDrive? 

ArDrive is a file management app and the easiest way to to get any files or digital assets onto the Arweave blockchain.  With our intuitive file/folder structure it is easy to get started. 

It has been used by several well known NFT artists to store their content on Arweave. 

As well, ArDrive features all of the privacy and control of your data that you would expect from a blockchain-based technology.  No email is required and you can pay with a credit card or the AR Token. 

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