Decentralized storage protocol Filecoin has announced a new free service called NFT.Storage, touting it as a future-proof method of preserving non-fungible tokens' (NFTs) metadata and content off-chain.
“NFTs are part of humanity’s cultural legacy—and designing their data for long-term accessibility is crucial," said Mikeal Rogers, engineering manager at Filecoin developer Protocol Labs. "Content addressing and distributed storage networks ensure that digital artwork, basketball cards, and virtual real estate are guaranteed to stay secure and available long-term.”Why is storing NFTs important?
NFTs are cryptographically unique tokens that can be used to represent digital content such as artwork and music. Because they are non-interchangeable, scarce and can be minted as one-of-a-kind or in small batches, a thriving market for NFTs has sprung up among collectors, with some fetching outrageous prices. But there is a catch.
While NFTs can nominally represent artworks, music, or videos, the blockchain tokens don’t actually contain the files themselves—or even the name of their author, for that matter. Instead, an NFT is essentially a collection of metadata—links to the files they represent, which need to be hosted by third parties such as auction platforms.
Because of this, there’s a very real risk of multi-million dollar NFTs becoming defunct if the files they represent are no longer available on the Internet—for example, if the company hosting the file goes under. NFTs can even lose their status as a digital certificate of authenticity and ownership, if there is nothing provably connecting them to an actual media file.Keeping files accessible
To solve this problem, Filecoin develo...