Is it beneficial to use events to store data when possible. I'd like to avoid storing excess data, as the data is only a reference for the outside world and has no functionality within that contract.

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Yes, you can save gas by using events instead of permanent storage. If the data is not needed in the contract itself, this makes a lot of sense.

See https://media.consensys.net/technical-introduction-to-events-and-logs-in-ethereum-a074d65dd61e for a description of this use case.

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