NFTs are a game-changing technology, providing ownership of digital assets and serving as certificates to their holders or access keys to the underlying content, which can be music, movies, art, real estate, and a lot of other things. However, what makes non-perishable tokens (NFTs) useful in real terms is the metadata. It may not be exactly a buzzword but it ensures that the user will be able to identify what the NFT is about.
Metadata is information about the content that the NFT represents. Since large files cannot be stored on the blockchain for the simple reason that it becomes too expensive, NFTs, for the most part, only refer to files that are stored outside the blockchain. However, only a few NFT artifacts are stored on-chain.
This article explains NFT metadata, what makes putting content on a blockchain impractical, and how to find NFT metadata in Opensea and Rarible. Let’s start by understanding what NFT metadata actually is.
What is Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Metadata?
NFT refers to a specific digital asset which can be in the form of a JPEG, GIF or MP4 file. Even though the token itself is hosted on the blockchain, the file below it is stored off-chain. NFT metadata refers to the specifications regarding that data stored. It may include information such as the name of the NFT, description of the NFT, transaction history, hosted image link, attributes, and more.
As for the metadata benefits of NFT, it helps solution architects to set aside technical issues when hosting large files on a chain. The preferred practice is to upload the content link to the blockchain while storing the content on the current Internet’s HTTP URL or Interplanetary File System (IPFS).
IPFS is a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing network for storing and sharing data in a distributed file. The metadata serves as the input to the NFT smart contract that one needs to publish on the blockchain network.
Why is off-string data metadata needed?
The large volume of image, audio and video content makes it very expensive to upload them to the blockchain. For example, if someone wanted to store one gigabyte of data on the Ethereum blockchain, it would cost the equivalent of roughly $35 million. If a movie of 160 Odd Minutes were stored on the blockchain, it could cost more than the making of the movie, i.e. $237 million.
The URI string, as mentioned above, points to a location where one can find the JSON description of the token. The related metadata remains as a permanent record on the blockchain, describing what the token represents.
What do Opensea and Rarible add to the NFT ecosystem?
The huge demand for NFTs has led to the need for marketplaces where users can create, transfer and invest their assets. Markets provide the tools for these activities, which are critical to keeping up with the NFT movement. Opensea and Rarible, two open platforms where anyone can mint and trade NFT, lead the chart.
OpenSea is the world’s first and largest marketplace for NFTs, enabling users to put up their NFT pools for sale on the platform. Simplifying the complex processes required to manage and invest NFTs, OpenSea provides the infrastructure to mint, list and trade NFTs. Initially designed to support CryptoKitties, OpenSea has grown into a go-to market for NFT participants.
Rarible is also a peer-to-peer (P2P) portal into the NFT market, offering simple trading and trading features. Unlike OpenSea, Rarible deploys its own native token, RARI, to control the platform and enable RARI holders to vote on crucial decisions.
How to view NFT metadata on OpenSea?
Any experienced trader will want to view the NFT metadata on OpenSea to see what NFT is all about. Examining metadata on OpenSea is very simple. To make it easier to understand, let’s focus on finding metadata for Ethereum-based NFTs.