How much data can you store on Blockchain?

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With recent advancements in blockchain technology, people are wondering what real-world problems this tech can solve. One of the areas that people want to apply blockchain too is data storage.

How much data can be stored on a blockchain? Data can be stored on a blockchain, but it varies from GBs to PBs depending on the blockchain. The most popular blockchains - Bitcoin and Ethereum - store very little data, and, instead, act as distributed ledgers. Whereas, several blockchains have been developed such as Arweave, Filecoin, Storj, and Siacoin that focus primarily on storage.

In this blog post, we will explore how blockchains are being used to store data and the capacity that they have to hold data.

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The first blockchains: Bitcoin and Ethereum and data storage

Bitcoin data storage

The Bitcoin blockchain is often lauded for its security and immutability. These qualities are largely due to the fact that every transaction that has ever taken place on the Bitcoin network is recorded on the blockchain. This means that you could go back and look at every single transaction that has ever been made on the Bitcoin network.

While Bitcoin is good at is recording an open ledger of all the transactions that happen on it, this requires a relatively small amount of storage.

In reality, the Bitcoin blockchain is not very efficient when it comes to data storage. This is because every transaction that is recorded on the blockchain must be verified by the network before it can be added to the chain. This verification process requires a lot of computational power and takes up a lot of space. As a result, the Bitcoin blockchain is currently only able to store around four transactions per second.

Bitcoin is not the place for data storage.

As of August 11, 2022 the Bitcoin blockchain has 421 GB of data stored on it. For comparison's sake, Dropbox gives 2000 GB of storage to its starting personal account.

Ethereum data storage

The Ethereum blockchain is home to digital money, global payments, and applications. The community has built a booming digital economy, bold new ways for creators to earn online, and so much more.

Ethereum is another popular blockchain platform that supports the storage of data. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum has no limit on the size of its blocks. This means that the Ethereum blockchain can theoretically handle an unlimited number of transactions.

However, like Bitcoin, it's not a great place for data storage. High gas fees and the high cost of storage make it impractical for most users.

Ethereum's main purpose is a recorder of financial transactions and ownership changes - not data storage.

As of Aug 11, 2022 the size of the Ethereum blockchain is 852 GB. Again, this is much less than the introductory personal account on Dropbox.

There are other blockchain options available that are more suitable for data storage. Let's look at some of the blockchains that are focused on storage and how much they can hold.

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Data storage on other blockchains

With the technical breakthroughs that Bitcoin and Ethereum provided it was only a matter of time until developers turned their eye toward using blockchain technology to store large quantities of data.

And why wouldn't they? There has to be a market for decentralized, low-cost data storage that is immutable, right?

Well, efforts started pouring into creating blockchains that made storing data in large quantities cost-efficient. The main blockchains that resulted from these efforts are Arweave, Filecoin, Storj, and Siacoin.

The storage capacity (the amount that these blockchains can hold) involve numbers like 2.5 billion GBs or, in put another way, several times the size of today's internet. As well, each of them can upload files from small to large.

Let's take a look at these blockchains and see how much data you can store on each.

Arweave-Spinyx

Arweave developed a blockchain to give permanent storage

How much can you store on these blockchains?

The main players in the storage space are Filecoin and Arweave. Filecoin (like Siacoin and Storj) is based on a monthly subscription fee similar to what Amazon or Google would offer, whereas Arweave offers a one-time fee for permanent storage.

Let's look at both of these types of buckets to see what they offer in terms of storage.

Filecoin

Filecoin is a decentralized storage network where users pay miners to store their files on servers and nodes across the world. Filecoin is, at this time, the largest decentralized network.

The backbone of Filecoin is IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) which is a peer-to-peer distributed file system that allows users to store and share data in a decentralized manner. Filecoin is built on top of IPFS and uses it as a data storage layer.

The way to pay to get your files onto Filecoin is through a subscription service similar to the ones you would find with Amazon or Google. In the end, Filecoin is designed to compete with centralized storage providers such as Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure, and will most assuredly have to become a low-cost producer of storage to do so.

What is the capacity of Filecoin? The Filecoin Network has reached 15 exbibytes (EiB) of data storage capabilities

What size of files can you upload to Filecoin? 64GiB or 68,182,605,824 bytes per file.

What if your dataset is too large? You can do an offline storage transfer for datasets over 64 GiB

Arweave

Arweave is a decentralized storage protocol that backs data with sustainable and perpetual endowments, allowing users and developers to truly store data forever – for the very first time.

Arweave is a decentralized network that allows anyone to store data permanently and securely. It is designed to be censorship-resistant and allows users to upload any size of file.

Arweave is backed by a novel endowment model that provides perpetual funding for storage costs. This means that users only need to pay a one-time fee to store data permanently on Arweave.

Arweave has already stored more than 90 TBs of data on its blockchain, making it the largest blockchain in terms of data storage. You can check out all of the Arweave uploads stats here.

If you're looking for a blockchain option that is more suitable for data storage, Arweave is a good option to consider.

How much data can be stored on Arweave? Arweave has no limits on the amount of data that can be stored on it

What are the size limits for files on Arweave? There are no size limits for files on Arweave but you may be limited by the tools or apps you are using to put your files onto Arweave.

How can I use Arweave? There are many apps being built upon Arweave to help people get their files onto the network. Check out ArDrive.io or Arweave.net for help.

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