Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have played a major role in blockchain.
Just about anyone interested in cryptocurrencies has come across the term “NFT” and seen NFT art.
Each NFT is unique, which means that each one features a unique identifier through which it can differentiate itself when compared to the other ones across the ecosystem.
NFT art is created like other digital art with the main difference being is that the actual art is tokenized through a process called minting and lives on the blockchain.
Within each NFT, there are specific properties and metadata that adds value and uniqueness. Today, we will be exploring what kind of metadata gets stored within them and how all of it works.
What is the Metadata in NFTs?
The metadata is information that is utilized as a means of describing other data. The metadata within NFTs can describe properties, such as the name, total supply, and even transactional history.
Note that a non-fungible token (NFT) is a cryptographic token that gets hosted on a blockchain and can represent a digital asset that is in the form of a JPEG, GIF, or even an MP4 file.
Where Is the NFT Metadata Stored?
The data which makes up an NFT has to be kept somewhere, and this is typically either done on-chain or off-chain.
To keep an NFT on-chain, the asset, as well as the metadata, needs to live on the blockchain. For example, user can store their NFT data on chain via Pastel Network’s Cascade protocol – which is a permanent distributed storage solutions that ensures your NFTs can never be lost.
This method of storage can ensure that users can, at any point in time, verify all of the different aspects of the digital asset and access it without any problems.
However, creators that are just starting out tend to keep the NFT data off nchain because it is easier and requires no understanding of blockchain.
Storing an NFT off chain means that just parts of the whole NFT can exist outside of the blockchain. For example, users can utilize Google Drive or Amazon Web Services (AWS) to do so, or decentralized servers such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), but these solutions have numerous drawbacks and are unreliable – i.e., assets can be lost.
How Does the NFT Metadata Operate?
There are numerous blockchain networks that support the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Each network will feature its own token standard that needs to be followed. For example, Ethereum features the ERC-721 token standard, which is by far one of the most popular standards due to its ubiquity and also that it was one of the first.
The standard requires all tokens to be non-fungible and feature unique token IDs.
There’s also the ERC-1155 standard, which enables a single contract to contain fungible as well as non-fungible tokens.
Other blockchains, such as Solana, have different token standards.
In terms of the underlying functionality of NFTs, the NFT metadata needs to be stored somewhere as a means of preserving the overall multimedia files.
The metadata, when stored, is returned to the smart contract as a hash and pinned to the protocol. The resulting URL gets recorded within the self-executing contract’s storage and gets linked to the ID of the relevant token.
Some of the properties of an NFT can include its uniqueness, indivisibility, portability, and even its programmability. There are specific NFT collections that have been created, which feature properties such as characters with different hairstyles, eyes, mouths, noses, ears, fur color, and so on – all of which needs to get stored.
How To Create NFTs WIth Custom Metadata?
There are numerous ways through which anyone can create NFTs that feature custom metadata. For example, they can utilize the blockchain’s native programming languages, such as Ethereum’s Solidity, to code them and then store them in solutions that are either centralized or decentralized.
However, not all people specialize in creating artworks, music, or other works, want to commit the time or sidetrack their career to learn a programming language and how all of these underlying systems work.
This is where solutions such as SmartMint by Pastel Network can aid creators in minting, listing, and managing their NFTs.
SmartMint is a platform that makes minting NFTs – and creating drops and collections -as simple as possible through its no-code solution that anyone can utilize and easily understand.
Each mint sends data to the Pastel Network and determines its relative rareness score through the Sense protocol, which is a near-duplicate NFT detection protocol.
Moreover, the NFTs can be stored safely and securely, with the data and metadata from every mint stored on Cascade, which is a distributed, permanent storage system purpose-built for the storage of NFT data.
SmartMint also supports numerous blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon and Solana.
Moving Forward with SmartMint
We have gone over just about everything new NFT creators need to know about the metadata that gets stored within NFTs, as well as the various properties they have. All that’s left for creators to do is to pick the route through which they will mint or create their NFTs and which blockchain they will utilize to accomplish the goal.