Bundles: How files get from ArDrive to the Arweave Network

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ArDrive has made a major step forward with how files get from ArDrive to the Arweave network with a new technology called bundles.

Getting your files from ArDrive to the Arweave network isn’t as simple as sending something from point A to point B. There are numerous variables involved including size of the file, the amount of other files being sent to the network at the same time, and the fees being paid for the upload.

The closest analogy that most of us can relate to is shipping.

Imagine you wanted to send five different gifts through the mail to the same address. You wouldn’t send them all in different boxes - you would send them in one box to save on shipping fees, to make tracking easier, and for the peace of mind knowing they'd all arrive together at their destination.

Or imagine you were a small business wanting to import goods via a sea freighter. You wouldn’t rent out a whole sea container and leave most of it empty. Instead, you'd team up with other small importers and fill the container with all of your respective goods, splitting the shipping costs between you.

Until now, all of the files sent to the Arweave Network through ArDrive were like separate packages being sent through the mail - even though they were all going to the same destination.

This caused less consistent delivery during times of congestion, especially for smaller size files. This happens in the rest of life: we overlook the details when we're too busy with big priorities.

The solution to this (and a few other problems) is a new technical delivery system of files called bundles. What bundles essentially do is take all of the files uploaded by a user and put them together to get sent as one transaction to the network.

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What should I do to bundle my files?

Nothing!  If you are using ArDrive web app, you do not need to do anything to use bundles. Bundles are part of the ArDrive package and all of your files will now be part of a bundle going forward.

The same goes for those who use our Command Line Interface to upload large amounts of data. For the CLI you also do not need to do anything to use the bundles - they are automatically integrated.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits (some of them surprising) of bundles and how you can use the bundles to your advantage in uploading your files.

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ArDrive Uploads are Direct-to-Network and more reliable

For ArDrive, the use of bundles offers much more reliability for files trying to get to the Arweave network.

Before bundles smaller files could easily not get uploaded to the Arweave network - especially during times of congestion.

However, our bundles are Direct-to-Network bundles (D2N). This means that we do not rely on a third-party service like a postal company to take the package to your house, but deliver the file directly to the Arweave Network. Think of us as your personal courier to the permaweb.

Our Direct-to-Network bundles take all of the big and small files uploaded at a given time and put them into one bundle. The technical term in the ecosystem for this is ANS104 standard. The ANS104 standard enables economies of scale for data transactions, allowing millions of files to be packaged together.

This packaging provides a much more reliable experience in getting files of all sizes to the Arweave network.  And this packaging process also helps save on Arweave transaction fees.

The more data bundled, the more $AR saved

With every upload to the Arweave network a base transaction fee is incurred. However, if you send multiple files under one transaction you do not have to pay multiple base transaction fees. You only pay a single base transaction fee alongside the cost of the storage.

This means you can save money and your $AR by uploading more files into a larger bundle than sending one-off transactions. The analogy with the postal system holds: it is cheaper to send 10 packages in one big package than 10 separate packages.

That said, there are some constraints to the number and size of files that can be uploaded through ArDrive. In general, it's best to upload less than 1000 files at a time and to keep public folders to less than 1.5 GB and private folders to less than 1.0 GB.

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Community tips will look a little different

Some of you have probably already noticed that community tips from ArDrive uploads look a bit different recently.

The same 15% community tip applies, but instead of receiving a bunch of individual tips from single uploads you now receive a larger ‘bundle’ tip.

The bundle tip could have only a few files in it but it can also have hundreds of files, but you will see these bundles along with the tips when you look at your wallet's transactions.  Here's a sample transaction for an ArDrive bundle:

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A bundled transaction on viewblock.io with two data files (14.79 MB and 5.36 MB) and two metadata files (180 B and 187 B).  In the center, the top number (.00059633 AR) is the bundle tip paid to the ArDrive token holder. The second number (.00397554 AR) is paid to the Arweave miner storing the data.

What this will means is Community Tip transactions are also more reliable. You may get fewer tip transactions going into your wallet, since multiple files are now bundled into one, but each tip transaction will be bigger!

New to community tips and the ArDrive token? Take a deeper dive with our, What are ArDrive tokens? article.

More to come with bundles…

In a very short time, bundles have already become a vital part of the Arweave ecosystem. We are excited about all of the new things that ANS104 bundles will do for ArDrive in the future:

  • Raising file size limits
  • Support other digital wallets 
  • Integrations with bundling networks
  • Different Payment Methods (including local currencies!)

All of this means that bundles will make permanent data storage more accessible to everyone - our core mission at ArDrive. Follow us on Twitter or Discord for updates about when these new features have been implemented!

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