The storage method of NFT artworks that you can’t ignore

We all know by now that NFTs are the most hyped and sought after assets on the market today, but what many question is the storage methods. Are they decentralized? Are my assets at risk of tampering or theft after purchase or mint? These are concerns of many users considering to dip their toes in the exponentially growing market. Before understanding the storage method of artworks, you can read our The 4 Best Wallets For Your First NFT to understand the storage method of an NFT artwork.

Are NFT Token and artwork stored in the same place?

Although the decentralized NFTs exist, most NFT marketplaces, such as Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, Rarible, Opensea, etc., utilize some centralized components like traditional online stores, along with some decentralized components. The metadata field of an NFT generally stores the data. And metadata is a shorthand representation of the data to which they refer. Therefore, we need a simple and efficient way to help users view the metadata of the NFT.

At present, some products do provide certain metadata security assessment functions. For example, Opensea shows whether the metadata of the NFT is frozen. However, since the function names contained in the underlying smart contracts of various current NFT projects are not completely the same, and how each project itself stores metadata are very different, a single query product is not compatible with all NFT products, and it may even provide users misleading information.

For example, if you purchase NFT, the token itself exists on the blockchain. However, because of the high cost of storing files on the chain, especially large files such as videos, the media such as token-related pictures and videos are usually stored off-chain.

In other words, the data of the NFT’s token is centralized. However, the media corresponding to the NFT are stored off-chain. Moreover, the NFT token metadata becomes the storage for the hash value data of these files. The artist or the platform determines the storage method of a NFT. This means that a centralized server may store the corresponding photos, videos, and other files in the NFT.

Multiple storage methods of NFT artworks

Your NFT artwork can be stored in three different ways:

  • With the NFT token on the same blockchain
  • On a different blockchain or decentralized storage
  • In a private or centralized server

The first way is to store the artwork itself and the NFT on the same blockchain. This is the safest way, and it can also guarantee the life of the NFT. It will exist forever. This means that even if the team that created the project goes bankrupt and the website is deleted from the Internet, your work will still exist and be stored securely on the blockchain.

The second method means that your artwork can also be stored on a different blockchain or decentralized storage mechanism (such as IPFS, Arweave, etc.) from the blockchain where the NFT is located.

At this time, some factors will affect the “risk profile” of your NFT:

How to deal with links?

Many projects carry the connection between your art and NFT. This means if the group stops maintaining connection, your NFT’s connection will be broken. Therefore, your NFT will become worthless.

Where is it stored?

Not all storage is created equal. For example, if your NFT’s artwork is on IPFS, someone needs to pin the artwork. Because pinning lets you have control over the disk space and data retention you need. If the creator of the NFT stops “pinning” the artwork, your artwork will disappear even if the link is still valid.

The third method is centralized storage. This is the most common storage method we are familiar with, such as storage on AWS or private servers. This approach means that if the group that created your NFT stops hosting your NFT, your NFT is now completely worthless.

The risk profile of your NFT will be very high in this case:

  • If the team stops storing your artwork, your NFT will be worthless
  • If the storage mechanism fails (which happens), your NFT is now worthless

Try to mint your own NFTs with FiO’s NFT Creators

Now we know that as far as the situation is concerned, NFT tokens and NFT artworks are usually use stored on a different blockchain or decentralized storage. Though there are still some risks in this method, the NFT field is more active than ever, and solutions are constantly emerging. With the advancement of NFT storage methods, let’s use NFT Creator now to experience the process of minting NFT for yourself.