NFT Projects That Strive For Permanence
NFTs are here to stay, and although Ethereum might be the chain used mainly for NFT tokens right now, you still need to think about where you are storing the actual artwork and metadata of your NFT.
For ease in this article, let’s collectively refer to the NFT’s metadata and image files as the NFT’s “assets.” The purpose of an NFT in the digital art world is to be able to own a piece of digital art provably.
You wouldn’t expect to walk into your gallery and see your unique “Picasso” suddenly transformed into a blank canvas again. Also, you wouldn’t expect your NFT to turn into a 404 error message, or file not found, when walking through your digital art gallery within the metaverse.
Long story short, you need to store your NFT assets somewhere where they can’t disappear. Using centralized and editable storage solutions like your own https server or AWS (Amazon Web Services) won’t cut it. You need something permanent like Arweave.
(If you would like to learn a bit more about what an NFT is and what its metadata is you can check out this article.)
In this article, I will explore some big and small projects utilizing Arweave and look at major, well-known Blue Chip projects that use other means of storing their NFT assets. I chose these projects for various reasons, which I will explain within each section. Let’s dive into the first project!
Who Is Emily?
Now that we answered what an NFT is let’s ask another question – Who is Emily?
Who is Emily is a collection of pieces of digital art portraying a girl known as Emily. Each Emily is a unique piece of art that has been programmatically and randomly put together from over 100 different traits within seven core attribute categories. The NFT tokens will be minted on the Ethereum network, and all NFT assets will be stored on Arweave.
As they say on their website:
“This is not just a series of paintings, but a monument to infinity ∞.”
By storing all NFT assets on Arweave, Who is Emily is making sure that the NFTs and Emily’s beauty will last forever. Owning an Emily doesn’t just stop at the art itself, though. The collection is set to launch a community DAO called the Syndicate, alongside a Community Treasury. The Community Treasury will be used to invest in other NFTs and projects. The Syndicate will vote on how the Community Treasury is to be spent.
Why I featured them:
What stood out for me on this project was its exceptional art and the fact that they are taking things further than just creating their NFTs. With the creation of their DAO, they will be helping the entire ecosystem grow.
Find out more about Who is Emily:
SpaceBudz is an NFT project on the Cardano network. As not many people are talking about NFTs on Cardano right now, I thought it would be interesting to explore this more.
SpaceBudz features 10k unique, programmatically built NFTs. What’s pretty interesting is that the NFT metadata for each SpaceBudz resides within the token itself. So the metadata is on-chain. This is thanks to the CIP-25 NFT token standard on Cardano. So it’s safe to say that each NFT’s metadata is secure as it resides on an immutable blockchain – aka the Cardano blockchain. The SpaceBudz metadata then contains the link to the NFT image itself.
SpaceBudz images are hosted on both Arweave and IPFS. Here’s a look at the metadata of one of the tokens.
You will notice the unique Arweave ID that can be accessed through a gateway like Arweave.net. For example, let’s take the Arweave ID from the metadata and append it to the arweave.net/ gateway. The result is this. So SpaceBudz has taken the time and put in the effort to make sure that their NFTs also last forever by utilizing Arweave.
Why I featured them:
I chose to explore SpaceBudz because when most NFT projects utilize the Ethereum and Solana blockchains, they use Cardano for their tokens, which supports chain metadata.
Find out more about SpaceBudz:
Hashmasks is a collection of 16,384 pieces of digital art. They were created via the collaboration of over 70 artists from across the globe. The Haskmasks NFT tokens reside on the Ethereum network, and so do the NCT tokens. These are what make Haskmasks stand out from the crowd.
NCT stands for Name Change Token. NCT tokens allow an owner to give their NFT a name or change its existing one. Of course, each name has to be unique. If someone else is already using that name, you can’t use it. By allowing their owners to do so, Hashmasks have created a unique way of letting the owners participate in the uniqueness of the NFT.
The NCT token is accumulated over time just by holding a Hashmasks NFT. Each NFT generates 10 NCT for its owner per day. Once the owner has 1830 NCT tokens, they can burn them to change the token’s name. All Hashmasks NFT image assets are stored on Arweave and pinned to IPFS, making them permanent.
We're excited to announce that the metadata of the @IPFS URLs and explicit traits of all 16,384 Hashmasks is now permanently on-chain.
— Hashmasks (@TheHashmasks) March 17, 2021
Why I featured them:
Because it is a project built to last. They have a long-term goal of 10 years before the NFTs will be complete. I believe that this aligns well with the permanence that Arweave offers, so I decided to research them a little more.
Find out more about Hashmasks:
Bored Ape Yacht Club
If you know what a digital art NFT is, it’s highly likely that you also understand what Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is. BAYC has become one of the major players in digital art NFTs today. The collection features 10k programmatically generated Apes. These Ape NFTs live on the Ethereum network.
BAYC had a pretty intriguing roadmap from the get-go. Every BAYC owner would be granted access to unique owners-only features, including a digital toilet graffiti game called “The Bathroom” and a merch store. The success of Bored Ape Yacht Club has seen the likes of celebrities like Jimmy Falon, Steve Aoki, Synyster Gates, and Paris Hilton “Aping” in – pun intended – to buy one.
Why I featured them:
It would be hard to talk about NFTs on Arweave without featuring one of the most successful collections out there. Clearly, this is why I chose to feature BAYC.
Learn more about Bored Ape Yacht Club:
CyberKongz is a collection of 1k unique pixel art apes that live on the Ethereum network. They were built in a fashion that could be used as profile pics on social media.
This was one of the things that initially grabbed the attention of NFT enthusiasts when not many were talking about NFT profile pics.
Slowly the fanbase and community of CyberKongz started growing more and more. Today CyberKongz has evolved way beyond just a profile pic.
A large community of developers came together to offer more utility to the NFTs and create the BANANA token. This token allowed the owners to customize their NFTs by giving them a name and a bio. It also allowed them to incubate Baby CyberKongz.
CyberKongz is taking its project to the next level with CyberKongz VX – 15k 3D NFTs that aim to be used within the upcoming Metaverses that everyone is talking about.
However, upon checking the CyberKongz smart contract on Etherscan, I found that the NFTs’ token URIs – the link within the token that points to the metadata – point to cyberkongz.com. So the metadata is hosted on a centralized server. Here is the tokenURI of one of the CyberKongz NFTs:
Through the metadata, we can see that the image asset is hosted on IPFS.
But having the metadata itself on a centralized editable server might not be the best idea, as it doesn’t guarantee the NFT is future proof. If something were to happen to that server, then the NFT metadata would not be able to be accessed.
However, the CyberKongz smart contract has a function that allows the base URI to be updated. Still, I wanted to find out more about this massive project, so I went on to the CyberKongz Discord server to see if I could get some more info.
I was told by one of the members of the Council of Kongz (community leaders and admins) that they plan to deploy all assets to more permanent storage – potentially Arweave – in the future. This would be a great idea seeing as the CyberKongz project is loved by so many.
Why I featured them:
When many NFT collections are deploying their NFT assets to Arweave – or other decentralized storage – it was interesting to find one of the significant collections hosting their investments on their website. It was great to hear that they will potentially also be moving to Arweave.
Find out more about CyberKongz:
Pudgy Penguins is another NFT project on Ethereum that has made the news a few times. It is a collection of 8,888 digital art penguin NFTs that are highly characterized by – let’s be honest – their cuteness. They were generated from 150 hand-drawn traits via their smart contract.
Pudgy Penguins was launched in July 2021 and have since been featured in the New York Times, CNBC, and Bloomberg. Upon checking the Pudgy Penguins smart contract, we see that NFT metadata is hosted on IPFS. Here is the tokenURI of the first Pudgy Penguin:
And upon checking that link we can see that the image is also hosted on IPFS:
However this was not always the case, as Pudgy Penguins was initially hosted on their own https website. It wasn’t until November 2021 when they migrated to IPFS:
Our metadata is freezing over…
Pudgy Penguins have officially been migrated from HTTPS to the more decentralized IPFS. 🧊
— Pudgy Penguins (@pudgypenguins) November 18, 2021
This was a good move. At the same time, many Penguin owners on Twitter are asking for them to go one step further and host them on Arweave. At least by using IPFS, they are more decentralized now.
Why I featured them:
Pudgy Penguins is again a well-known project that I chose to feature upon finding out about the switch they already made from a centralized platform to a decentralized platform – in this case, IPFS. Hopefully, more projects will follow suit to ensure their owners can keep their NFTs forever.
Find out more about Pudgy Penguins:
Many digital art NFT projects exist, and many more are sure to come. There’s no denying that. The general notion is for successful projects to either be utilizing Arweave or are thinking of migrating there.
IPFS has its benefits and other use cases too. If you want to read more about the differences between IPFS and Arweave, check out our very own article.
All in all, we are all here for the art. We just hope that that art doesn’t suddenly disappear. So be wise, and in future projects, use decentralized and immutable storage. Atomic NFTs allow you to have the smart contract and NFT assets all in one place on Arweave. It makes the NFT creation process simple and, at the same time, ensures your NFT’s immutability and permanence. Check out this recent video from the Open Web Foundry, where the Atomic NFT team goes through some of the features of their protocol.