What is NFT Metadata?

NFT (Non-fungible Token) is a digital authentication certificate that connects ownership to unique physical or digital assets such as art, real estate, film, or music. At the most fundamental level, digital assets like video clips, tweets, memes, GIFs, or any digital image can be encoded with an NFT, which serves as an electronic identification that validates ownership.

However, because NFTs are one-of-a-kind artifacts that cannot be recreated or copied, the minted NFT’s value is unrelated to its artwork. As a result, its authenticity is found in its metadata.

What is NFT Metadata?

The foundation of NFT projects is NFT metadata. NFT Metadata is the information that makes up the NFT asset. Essentially, NFT metadata is the data that gives general information about other data; this includes the name, description, and other elements deemed necessary by the author of an NFT. Furthermore, NFT metadata has a connection to the digital asset, which makes it identifiable, whether it be a photo, video, or audio file. For example, the video length and images that make up each of the individual frames would be elements of Metadata for a video NFT. If you lose connection to your video NFT, you do not lose the NFT itself; instead, you lose all of the information that makes it look, sound, and describe as a video NFT.

Since NFT marketplaces use metadata to show NFTs to buyers and sellers, metadata must be in a format that marketplaces can understand. Therefore, adopting existing standard metadata and modifying it to your specifications is critical to ensure that your NFTs work with as many of the ecosystem of markets, wallets, and other NFT tooling as possible.

Furthermore, a blockchain ledger stores metadata that enables the identification of NFT owners and the tracking and management of their digital assets.

How Does it Work?

NFTs developed from the Ethereum ecosystem, and the ERC-721 proposal was the first widely adopted official standard for interoperable NFTs. ERC-721s specify metadata in a standardized JavaScript Object Notation format called JSON. A JSON file standard for encoding metadata will soon be implemented on the Ethereum network, making it simpler for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to communicate with smart contracts. JSON is the most commonly used format for NFT metadata since it is a lightweight format with no limits on data layout.

Due to existing storage restrictions on the Ethereum network, NFT metadata is saved off-chain while the smart contract is kept on the blockchain. For example, if you have a video NFT with a file size of up to 3 to 4 GB and a high-resolution setting. The cost of hosting the video NFT files directly on the Ethereum blockchain can be high. Hence, data storage on a blockchain is a very expensive activity. Furthermore, it is an inappropriate medium due to block size, mempool size, and transaction fees. As a result, leveraging the NFT metadata saves the video NFT information on the blockchain through the smart contract, but the NFT itself is kept off-chain in a database or cloud storage.

The ERC-721 smart contract standard employs a technique known as tokenURI (universal resource identifier) to return to applications the location of the NFT metadata, which may be kept on a centralized server or the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a decentralized file storing and referencing system.

What is an IPFS?

IPFS is a different file system; it does not work in the conventional sense of file storage. When a file is stored on the IPFS network, it generates a content ID (CID), which numerous independent storage providers share. To support several users and NFTs, the system is distributed and scalable. The interplanetary file system has the essential advantage of being unaffected by data loss and censorship. This is so that any node in the network can be pulled offline without impacting the others, and the data is dispersed among numerous nodes.

IPFS introduced NFT.Storage, which is dedicated to storing NFTs and is available free. Participants and investors in the NFT ecosystem can rapidly ensure their investment is preserved for the long term by utilizing NFT. Storage to upload the data associated with them to IPFS. Following that, a hash of the IPFS network metadata is returned to the smart contract and pinned to the protocol. The resulting URL is connected to the ID of the relevant token and stored in a self-executing contract’s storage.

How to verify the Metadata of an NFT?

An NFT tracking and verification service allows you to view an NTF’s Metadata, validate its ownership, and trace its transaction history. For example, you can use a marketplace database to verify that the token ID and contract address belong to the legitimate content owner.

If the service complies with NFT’s coding standard, several NFT verification tools can search for you. For example, NFTs can be found and verified using the well-known Etherscan Ethereum blockchain explorer. Users can validate transaction histories, wallet addresses, metadata, smart contracts, and other on-chain data using the platform. Similarly, you can use a blockchain explorer like BscScan to access all the NFT metadata you need on the BNB Chain network.

How to Verify the Metadata Through the Smart Contract?

Through the smart contracts that govern it, you may verify the Metadata and other data, like the claim of ownership, royalties percentages, artists, and transaction histories. The contract’s “Details” section should link to the Metadata for easy inspection and validation. By gaining access to smart contracts, you can verify this information. The following information must be present on a complaint NFT under the current standard.

  • NFT token ID
  • Collection contract address
  • Blockchain information used
  • NFT metadata status
  • NFT encoding protocols such as ERC-721

You can search the blockchain and the NFT marketplace archives with the token ID to locate the token owner’s address. However, this can only be done if the owner publicizes the NFT credentials.

The Takeaway

NFT Metadata is a technical part of the NFT ecosystem, but it is important to note that it is a way of storing information about your NFTs on the blockchain. Consequently, putting the data on the blockchain won’t ever be lost or changed.

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