How long do you deserve to have your JPEGs? To quote the great poet Andre 3000: Forever. Forever? Forever Ever. Forever Ever?
Forever ever EVER! One of the coolest things about NFTs is that they’re eternal. As soon as the blockchain confirms your transaction, nobody can remove that token from your wallet—unless you trade it, sell it or send it to someone else’s wallet.
But the NFT just points to the file it represents. The file itself needs to be stored elsewhere. So far, we’ve done that with IPFS nodes, a decentralized protocol for file storage. Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with NFT.Storage —enabling all NFT content minted via Rarible.com to be preserved and made available on both IPFS and Filecoin.
Both of these aim to make NFT content available forever in a decentralized way. Now, let's get into the details.
On Ethereum (and many other chains), your NFT is stored on-chain, but the metadata (all the files, images, videos, etc) associated with that NFT is usually located elsewhere. There are a few reasons why this is the case:
- Sometimes, the assets of the NFT are too large to store directly on the chain (e.g. large images, videos, etc.)
- Storing the metadata of an NFT directly in one chain can make moving that NFT across other chains more difficult. The future is multi-chain, so that might prove problematic over time
That sounds quite technical, but it’s actually pretty simple: It’s like having an Andy Warhol art piece and a certificate of authenticity. You might store the certificate somewhere in a bank vault, but put the picture up on the wall—how else are you going to impress your guests?
Now, these links can lead to more centralization than you want. If you have a “normal” link and the server goes down, this can lead to broken links, 404 pages or your NFT linking to a different file!
IPFS solves this problem. Instead of linking to content based on where the content lives, content can be linked to by a unique fingerprint of the content itself.
With IPFS, anyone can ask for a piece of content by its unique fingerprint - and anyone who has that content can serve it back.
So instead of your NFT artwork being on one website that can go down whenever the creator chooses, it’s on many, many servers which all have to go down for your NFT to disappear. That’s incredibly unlikely unless that specific NFT hasn’t been viewed by anyone in a long time.
On top of this, because IPFS can store files anywhere, your NFT artwork can live and be served from anywhere - a local computer, a hosted node like Pinata, your personal Brave browser, or even decentralized storage networks.
IPFS solves the problem of resilient linking—it lets us store and show artwork based solely on the content, rather than a specific website.
But in order to truly secure our NFTs, we need to also ensure that someone is offering that content into the IPFS network. This is where Filecoin can help.
Filecoin is a crypto protocol that offers verifiable storage on the largest decentralized storage network. And by storing data, you earn Filecoin (FIL), its native token! And if you’re not storing data reliably? You lose your FIL! That means there are clear incentives to store NFT data for everyone involved.
With Filecoin’s strong guarantees around the integrity of data, NFT data can be securely stored - with the ability for anyone to verify that this content is still intact and available.
NFT.Storage’s mission is to be the “Internet Archive” for NFTs - making the storage and access of NFTs (from all ecosystems) a public commons. Data storage free and open to all!
At Rarible, we vibe with that mission. That's why Rarible NFTs are now preserved by both IPFS and Filecoin. That already applies to newly minted NFTs, while we're also moving all existing Rarible.com-minted NFT content there via NFT.Storage as well (it might take a while before all metadata is transferred).
Together, we’re both excited to continue to accelerate the growth and adoption of public infrastructure. To keep up-to-date with NFT.Storage, follow them on Twitter at @nft_storage.