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What is atomic asset?

An atomic asset is the concept, where asset (like an image) and smart contract are deployed atomically - in one logical transaction. It is possible, thanks to unique properties of Arweave blockchain. Typically, a blockchain asset is stored on a storage system (for example - IPFS), and only a smart contract is deployed on-chain (for example - the ERC721 standard).

Why to choose atomic asset:

  • Standards like ERC-721 on Ethereum usually point to the external links of the NFT’s asset, and are stored outside of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, thus you have no guarantee that it will be stored there permanently. In scenario where storage provider is centralized you could wake up empty-handed (NFT contract pointing to a non-existing URI). However, even if you use a decentralized means of storage like IPFS, it doesn't offer the same level of assurance regarding data availability as Arweave. (you can read more here). In one example an artist named neitherconfirm changed the media files referenced by 26 of his NFTs to stock images of rugs. The artist later commented, “All discussions about the value of NFTs are meaningless as long as the token is not inseparable from the artwork itself"
  • With atomic assets, there is no possibility to create two (or more) contracts pointing to the same data, definition of the ownership is bounded to the asset not the other way around. "With Atomic NFTs, the address of the NFT smart contract is the address of the NFT’s data. Permanent, on-chain assets, and no external metadata. One address. How NFTs were supposed to be" - Sam Williams, Arweave founder.
  • Take the red pill 💊! Be the owner of your data, not the link to the data! 😎

What is atomic-asset standard?

As we described earlier Atomic asset is a general idea, like NFT, this kind of definition is great, however, not specific enough for composability (example: Let's imagine, that you want to build atomic asset marketplace, you have to know how to consume existing atomic assets - which method to call on a contract to transfer it and what parameters should be passed). **atomic-asset&& standard is here to help, by determining the interface describing the smart contract behind atomic-asset. So when building a new marketplace (or other any product), you don't have to think about multiple implementations, per project.

👉 SWS-1 Atomic Asset Standard Interface


  • An atomic asset can be fungible or non fungible token.
  • If the contract is NFT then totalSupply == 1 and owner field is set
  • If the contract is fungible token, then totalSupply > 1 and owner field is empty
  • atomic-asset is always binded to only one asset. This standard doesn't support multiple assets per one contract
  • Unique id of asset is its transaction id
  • balance per account can never be < 0



transfer(to: string, amount: uint) => void
  • Transfers amount of tokens to address to. The function SHOULD throw if the message caller’s account balance does not have enough tokens to spend
  • Transfers of 0 values MUST be treated as normal transfers


balanceOf(target: string) => {balance: uint, target: string}
  • view state method - does not modify state
  • Returns the account balance of another account with address target


totalSupply() => {value: uint}
  • view state method - does not modify state
  • Returns value of totalSupply of atomic-asset


owner() => {value?: string}
  • view state method - does not modify state
  • If the contract is NFT then totalSupply == 1 and owner field is set
  • If the contract is fungible token, then totalSupply > 1 and owner field is empty
  • If the contract is fungible token, and totalSupply is owned by one account then owner field is set to this account
  • Returns value that is address of atomic asset owner, if it exists



  1. Fabian Vogelsteller, Vitalik Buterin, "ERC-20: Token Standard," Ethereum Improvement Proposals, no. 20, November 2015. [Online serial]. Available: