Sick of paying monthly fees to store your data on Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Do you wish there was a way to pay once and store it forever without risking your data ever being lost? Sounds incredibly futuristic right? Let me tell you – it’s not. There is a way to make your storage data process easy.
The future is already here, with a storage system that does just that. It is called Arweave! The fantastic thing is that you can start using it right now, without any cost.
What is Arweave
Arweave is an immutable blockchain that stores data on multiple computers – nodes – across the globe, making the network genuinely decentralized. Without a central point of failure, there is no risk of being locked out of your account or your data being lost.
The nodes are incentivised to store the data submitted to them forever because the fee you would typically pay for uploading data covers just that. The costs are in the form of $AR – the native Arweave token.
We will keep the introduction to Arweave brief, as this article is focused on how to help you upload for free. If you want to learn more about Arweave, we wrote more in-depth about it here.
Let’s go into the first tool we will need – a wallet.
ArConnect is a non-custodial digital currency wallet, which we will use to store our $AR tokens. More than 15,000 people have used it to date. Apart from storing your tokens, ArConnect can also be used to log in to decentralized apps that support it. It comes in the form of a web browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Brave. To install it, go to their website here.
Generate a wallet
Now that you have ArConnect installed as an extension for your browser, it should open a page prompting you to set a password. If the page doesn’t open automatically, then do the following to find the ArConnect extension.
- On Firefox, click Tools and click Add-ons. In the Add-ons window, you can view all installed add-ons and customize them.
- On Chrome, type chrome://plugins into Chrome’s address bar and press Enter.
- On Brave, go to Menu -> Select more Tools -> Extensions
- On Microsoft Edge, click the three-horizontal dot menu icon located in the browser’s top-right corner and then select Extensions.
Once you are on the ArConnect password prompting page, set a password and press Create.
Next, select create a new wallet to generate your first wallet.
Next, you will see your twelve-word seed phrase. Write this down on paper and keep it safe without letting anyone ever access it.
Also, click on download keyfile, to download a text version of your wallet to your device.
This serves as your key to accessing your wallet.
IMPORTANT: You want to keep this file safe as your seed phrase and preferably store it on external storage like a USB stick. If you store it on your device, and someone gains access to your device and the key file or seed phrase, they’ll be able to take all your wallet’s contents.
Next, load your newly created Arweave wallet into ArConnect by clicking Load Keyfile and either:
- Entering your twelve word seed phrase, or
- Select Load Keyfile from filesystem
That’s it. You should now be able to click on the ArConnect extension and see your freshly created wallet loaded up with a balance of 0 AR.
In ArConnect, by clicking on the button circled in red, you can copy your public key, which you can give to anyone who wishes to send you AR. Your general care can be seen in the blue box.
(We have blanked out the key from the test wallet in the screenshot).
When visiting any application that supports ArConnect, you should see a button prompting you to access the dApp via ArConnect. If the dApp does not support ArConnect, you will also have the option to load up your key file from your file system to log in.
If you encountered problems in setting up ArConnect, you can check this dedicated piece on how to install it, which we provided at the beginning of the Never Have I Ever Tried… series.
Free transactions under 100kb
ArConnect and Verto, alongside the core Arweave team, announced only a few days ago that any transactions under 100 kB coming from wallets connected to a dApp via ArConnect, would be free. However, this is completely optional and dependent on the developers, as there is one line of code they will need to change in their dApp for this function to work.
As we find out which dApps are offering this feature, we will be updating you via our Twitter account. So please follow along, and turn on bell notifications. But, as promised, you can still get your hands on free Arweave tokens to try Arweave for free.
Getting free tokens
We will be utilizing the Arweave faucet to get our free allocation of AR tokens. At the time of writing, this is 0.02AR. You will need a free Twitter account to do so.
This process will set up a new wallet from scratch, and you can get your AR tokens sent to it directly. We will then send the tokens from one wallet to the other as a test.
Firstly, head over to the faucet here. Agree to the instructions and click continue.
Tick to accept that you have read the message on the next page. After doing so, click download wallet. I’m just like above, this will download another key file to your device.
After doing so, on the next page, press “OPEN TWEET POP-UP”. This will automatically generate the message you need to tweet for the faucet to send you your tokens. It will be in the form of:
“I’m verifying my Arweave address XXXXXXXXX”
Hit Tweet on the Pop-Up and go back to the faucet page. After some time, you will get a message saying that everything worked, and your wallet will be populated with the tokens.
Now, in ArConnect, next to your account name, hit the down arrow as seen here circled in red
And then the + symbol to add a new wallet – this will open up ArConnect for you again. Log in if prompted and then select Load Keyfile from the filesystem, as we did earlier. Find the Key File that we downloaded via the Arweave faucet, and it should then appear in ArConnect.
Now let’s send AR tokens from the second wallet to the first. In ArConnect, go to your first wallet by hitting the down arrow, selecting it, and copying your public address. Then go back to your second wallet, which has the free tokens. Press Send.
On the page that opens within ArConnect, paste your first wallet address into the Send To Address field. Press MAX to select the total amount of free tokens we got free to send them to the second wallet. Then press Send AR.
Usually, even sending tokens from one wallet to the other incurs an AR fee. But, as we mentioned above, transactions below 100 kB using ArConnect are free within specific dApps. Well, the size of a simple token transaction is less than 100 kB, and Verto Exchange already has this feature enabled.
If the feature is disabled, you might see a minuscule transaction fee on the screen where you can select the amount to send. Depending on how congested the network is, it can take a while for the transaction to go through, mainly because it’s a small one. But, after some time, you should see the free tokens appear in your first wallet.
Where to use and where to buy more AR
Here are some examples of different dApps built, and being built on Arweave.
If you want to learn about more dApps being built and get news from the ecosystem, please follow us on Twitter and put on notifications, as we will be bringing you constant updates.
If you would like to see where to buy AR tokens, in the US and other places, including on Verto Exchange itself, please check out our article here.