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One of the first things we hear about NFTs is their immutability and immortality. But as soon as we ask a specialist, they will answer “the tokens will live as long as the blockchain lives, but not necessarily the files they host“.
Critics have been quick to denounce what seemed to be the Achilles heel of this technology, but they were forgetting the strength of resolve the crypto community has. Indeed, in the case of IPFS technology, or more precisely the InterPlanetary File System, the decentralization of image hosting has created a solid network for the longevity of NFT Images.
But even so another problem has emerged, the copying of high-quality images by malicious actors to resell the image copy on their own. How can we overcome this problem without sacrificing the decentralization of data which is so dear to the NFT ecosystem?
Pinata has been present in the ecosystem since 2018, the project first appeared during the ETHBerlin’s Hackaton. Since then, the team has implemented various solutions to help all creators host their work directly on their Cloud solution… but especially within IPFS.
Today, the company is a global leader with over 40,000 users and over 12 million files pinned in our system to date. When you look at an image of an NFT on the web3, there is a high probability that this content will be hosted at Pinata!
Thanks to quality hosting and an excellent after-sales service, Pinata was able to collect the different information and needs of its customers, with one of the latest needs being image protection. To answer this, Pinata has developed a turnkey solution: Submarining.
What is IPFS ?
Before explaining what Submarining is and why this solution is important, we must first understand how IPFS works.
Very simply put, to access a file online centrally, Pinata will call a URL. To take the example of CryptoKitties, the image is hosted on a server that belongs to Dapper Labs. If tomorrow the company closes down, the NFTs will no longer display any image even if the token itself still exists.
On the contrary, an NFT created on SuperRare has its image held in IPFS and so the image is dispersed across several computers. If tomorrow the company closes, the art work will still be accessible thanks to the decentralization of its data across these multiple computers. Instead of having a URL, it will rather give rise to a very long hash (like for example the one that hosts the Bitcoin Whitepaper).
Pinata offers an IPFS hosting service to ensure a better durability of the image and prevent it from disappearing from the internet in case of glitches.
What is Submarining ?
Because files hosted on IPFS can be publicly accessible at any time, a problem has recently arisen for the various NFT artists. Even if it is possible to identify the address that created a work first in a tamper-proof way, “thefts” of digital work have occurred on several marketplaces.
By thefts, we mean the reuse of an original work on a marketplace which is then resold by a third-party account on another marketplace. Although the community is particularly attentive to this kind of theft, Pinata has gone even further and proposed a solution to prevent these kinds of practices.
This is why Submarining was created. While still using the IPFS solution to decentralize the media, files will no longer be publicly accessible on IPFS. Only the creator will have access to the “submarine” work and will be able to share the file at their discretion.
In this way, the public image will be of a low resolution and it will be necessary to purchase the NFT to access the high-quality content. If ever the high-quality image is put online privately, it will not be possible to pass it on publicly without putting it back online.
Conclusion : better data control for builders
The interest in such a solution is to allow the different creators and builders to have better control of their data online. Essential to enable better adoption and reduce the fraud related to the sale of NFTs, this kind of tool will become essential in the time to come.
Blockchain transparency offers an extremely powerful means of verification to determine the authenticity of an NFT in a public way. Submarining is an innovative solution that allows better data protection for different artists.
If you are an artist and you have questions about what is and isn’t possible to do with this new tool, don’t hesitate to reach out to Pinata directly for advice on their various social networks!