MESARI analyst: when buying a JEPG, first look at its storage tier and metadata information

Published on 8/26/2021   397 views   0 Comments  

This article is from MESARI, the authorMason Nystrom

"We kill according to metadata" -- General Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency

Modern warfare is no longer the former model of using maps and protractors to aim mortars at enemy combatants. The idea that drones attack a person (or even a terrorist) based on metadata (data describing a set of data information) is disturbing and even frightening.

Metadata about phone calls may be: how someone called, how long they talked, or the phone number of the person who called. The U.S. government can obtain enough information about someone (not based on the content or text of the phone, but the data related to the phone). The following orders to carry out UAV attacks, which proves that the data power is very powerful.

Instead of discussing how our data has been abused for a long time, we focus on the importance of data and metadata in NFT. With the increasing importance of metadata and the increasing popularity and value of NFT, how to store NFT data and metadata is very important.

A previous article on the NFT stack ignored the key issuesStorage and data availability tierใ€‚ This article will supplement the importance of this layer.


Quickly understand the importance of NFT storage


Blockchains like Ethereum are very good at copying a small amount of data on hundreds (even if not millions) of computers around the world, but they are usually limited by the storage capacity on the chain. Because not every part of NFT is suitable for storage on the chain, NFT often uses other tamper proof storage solutions to store metadata.

NFT can be broken down into several core parts:

Information on the chain:

  • NFT: the chain representation of an ID (for example, cryptopunk #2517 or bayc #1597). The ID has metadata associated with it.
  • Tokenuri: a unique resource identifier (URI) pointing to the NFT content storage location. This can point to web sites (URLs), servers, IPFs, or other decentralized data protocols.

Off chain information:

  • NFT metadata: information about NFT referenced by URI on server or IPFs, such as description, name, attribute, image and other data.
  • Rich data: data related to NFT (such as actual image files), which are not generated on the blockchain, but stored in other places, such as AWS server or distributed file storage protocol (because the file is too large).

Source: OpenSea

Many NFTs have a URL link referenced by a URI, which means that the NFT says & quot; Go to this URL / website and you will see the image of your NFT representative & quot;. However, the URL can be easily changed, essentially changing the assets associated with the NFT or completely deleting the images associated with it. If something linked or connected to a URL can change, it's a big problem for millions of dollars of art, cryptopunk, or any valuable NFT.

The interstellar file system (IPFs) helps correct this problem by creating a unique content identifier (CID), assigning a unique identifier (hash value) to metadata rather than URLs.

Source: Pinata

The content identifier (CID) of NFT can be used to retrieve NFT data (image, video, etc.) through IPFs network as long as the node on IPFs is storing data. If the data referenced by the CID is changed, the NFT owner will be able to realize that the image has been tampered with.

However, nodes on IPFs are not naturally motivated to store data, so if no one (no node) stores data on the network, the data will be lost. Especially for IPFs, there are decentralized protocols like filecoin and companies like Pinata and filebase to help users protect their NFT data on IPFs.


Decentralized storage solutions


It is worth noting that arweave, filecoin and SIA use their respective blockchains (or blockweave in the case of arweave) as the foundation layer of their decentralized data storage solutions. Each network has its own trade-offs, but generally speaking, the main ones are on-demand storage (SIA and filecoin) and long-term file storage (arweave). In addition, each network uses different consensus mechanisms, and each network optimizes the type of data stored in different ways.

With the expansion of developer tools, developers of other platforms will have the opportunity to integrate these protocols. Mirror, the upcoming decentralized and user owned publishing platform, hosts all users' blogs on arweave's blockweave. SIA makes it easy to upload content to their hosting platform, so now anyone can read my Web3 Declaration on SIA's Skynet. Each file uploaded to Skynet returns a unique content identifier called skylink, which is similar to the IPFs content ID discussed earlier. Although the decentralized storage network is still in its infancy, the continuous growth is encouraging.


Cedestor (centralized decentralized storage) supplier


Just as centralized companies like coinbase provide defi services from maker, compound and other protocols, centralized companies are also using decentralized storage protocols. Individuals or developers can use services such as filebase or Pinata, which package various distributed storage protocols into more available services.

In addition, cedestor companies like filebase can provide services required by enterprises, such as S3 compatible object storage and service level agreements (SLAs), for those enterprises that want to use IPFs or other storage tiers but must sign a formal contract.


Last thought


Storage is a key layer of Web3 infrastructure, which will slowly erode the profits of existing Internet infrastructure providers. With the adoption of decentralized storage solutions in the future, a key driver of growth may be cedestor company - web2.5 company, which makes Web3 technology more likely to be utilized, whether by providing clean interfaces, additional services, or bundling various services together. Even if Skynet, IPFs, arweave and storj services are packaged together, the underlying technology does not need to be licensed and is more powerful than today's existing data storage systems (compared with AWS).

As all digital assets are inevitably transferred to non licensed blockchains in the form of NFT or other tokens, how and where we store this valuable information becomes more and more important. The data and metadata related to NFTs and stored on these networks are part of the value proposition of NFTs, so they should be paid attention to as investors or users of NFT. Think about these aspects when you buy the next animal themed JPEG.


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