On The Permanence of the Hashmasks Artwork

4 min readMar 17, 2021

One of the frequently asked questions from the more-technically versed members of our community is: What happens to Hashmasks images if suddenly our company disappears?

Before delving into this question, we would like to announce that the metadata of the IPFS URLs and explicit traits of all 16,384 masks is now on-chain.

We believe this is an incredible value add to the project for two reasons:

  • For projects building on top: By providing a way to query explicit traits and IPFS URIs on-chain, projects building on top of Hashmasks can access this data on-chain and take advantage of this data for their products and tools.
  • No Single Point of Failure for Metadata: Users no longer need to rely on our website for the IPFS locations of Hashmask images. It is now immutably stored on-chain.

Most NFT collectible projects have a reference to a centralised website for metadata URI. Except for ease of querying on-chain, it defeats the purpose of having metadata on-chain as the metadata is actually on a centralised server.

What is IPFS and what it is not

To answer the question of permanence, let’s start with IPFS. As you already might know, all the Hashmasks artwork is available through IPFS. However, contrary to the common misconception, being available on IPFS doesn’t automatically make it permanently available. However, it makes it resilient.

IPFS is more like a decentralised content delivery network (CDN) than a file hosting service. A good analogy is a torrent. A file is available on IPFS as long as there is one node pinning it. Here, a pinner is analogous to a seeder in a torrent. When a file is added to IPFS, it creates a content-addressable hash of data, also known as Content-Identifier (CID). It allows anyone to query for a file based on its contents and ensure what it receives back is valid and not corrupted.

Since IPFS is a distributed system, any number of nodes can pin a file. When you request this file using its CID, you would ask several IPFS nodes for the file. If any node is down and has a mishap, there would be several other nodes you can obtain a file from (provided they have it). Currently, our nodes are responsible for pinning Hashmask images on IPFS. We commit to do so for the foreseeable future.

What about Decentralization?

So another common question is why not just store the Hashmasks artwork itself on-chain. The 16,384 Hashmasks artwork files amount to over 40 GB of data. It is simply not economically feasible to store this amount of data on-chain on Ethereum. Moreover, it doesn’t make sense to replicate this data in thousands of computers and cause bloat to the chain state.

Enter Arweave

From the Arweave official website it says: “Arweave is a new type of storage that backs data with sustainable and perpetual endowments, allowing users and developers to store data forever — for the very first time truly. “

We are proud to announce that to support the permanence of the Hashmasks artwork, all 16,384 Hashmask images are now stored on Arweave along with IPFS pinning incentivisation. Therefore, in theory, it serves two purposes. All the images should now be permanently stored and available on Arweave. Secondly, Arweave nodes will also pin all the images on IPFS, thereby providing a great deal of redundancy in IPFS pinning.

Permanence Through IPFS Itself

“All it takes is for the Hashmask owner to pin just their own Hashmask(s) for all the artwork to stay forever on IPFS.“

We see the community evolve to such a point that we are quite confident, the Hashmasks artwork would continue to live on IPFS even without Arweave or us. All it takes is for the Hashmask owner to pin just their own Hashmask(s) for all the artwork to stay forever on IPFS.

So, in theory, as long as there is demand and value for the file, the files are likely to exist with enough pinners. Additionally, we are happy that different projects in the ecosystem like NFTx, Terra Virtua have stated their intention to host a mirror IPFS node to pin the Hashmasks artwork.