Not IPFS, Not Your NFT

WAX io
5 min readMar 4, 2021

Growing up, each of us had a fascination with collecting different, unique items. These could be baseball cards with your favorite athletes, a room filled to the brim with old computer software or a cool bucket of old pennies; things that brought us joy. With the way the world has progressed, the inner collector (and child) in each of us has been ignited once again with the tantalizing fun of NFTs. In order to ensure the security of the collectors’ stash, WAX Cloud Wallet works with IPFS and WAX Blockchain to lock down and protect each individual NFT on a decentralized network. Blockchain technology working together with IPFS is the future and the way to truly own your valuables and to keep them safe.

What is IPFS?

The InterPlanetary File System is a decentralized network to securely store verified digital assets associated with NFTs and collectibles on the blockchain. The items are created, minted and stored on the WAX Blockchain, however, the images are not on any one server at WAX, the images are housed and extracted from IPFS; this is only one aspect of WAX’s mission for decentralization. The items stored are held across multiple servers and computers. IPFS finds the content of the stored data from one of their servers, not the location that the data is stored via a web address; this is called content addressing.

Rather than using a traditional HTTP address that would pull a single file directly off of a specific site, this new form of content addressing instead seeks out the nearest server with the NFTs image and data. If for some reason this file was to be corrupted, the information would be pulled off of the next available server; so on and so forth.

Blockchain Heroes Trading Card

Each server holds its own unique identification number, and if one is shut down, other servers still exist with the original collectible and its information to mirror back to you. The probability of losing your NFTs is essentially null due to the multi-faceted approach. Rest easy in knowing your items are secure and accessible for the long run. Your NFTs can never be lost, even if a server shuts down.

“If there are so many copies floating around on IPFS, how can I be sure that I’m the only one who legitimately owns it?” Really, it’s a valid question. Keep in mind, no matter how many copies are on different servers, there is only one legitimate NFT with proven ownership via your wallet. It is verifiable on the WAX blockchain where the item is originally minted. Each NFT consists of a “hash” that verifies the legitimacy of the data and stores its’ transactional history from the blockchain. IPFS merely mirrors pictures and information back to you. Simply viewing the data does not give anyone else the right to ownership. The verified NFT and proof of true ownership reside on the WAX blockchain and it can be accessed via the WAX Cloud Wallet of the user. IPFS also allows large quantities of information and data to be sent or transferred much faster than any other method.

What are the risks of storing my NFTs on a private server?

A private server keeps your NFTs centralized. This means that the specific server the user has stored their item on has all the power over that said item. Essentially, the user gives up their right to “own” the NFT’s image and data; if the server decided to shut down, or did not approve of certain content, they could remove it or destroy it. On the other hand, as value continues to increase on certain collectibles, if a centralized server has control over the item, you risk losing it. Consider the financial investment of your collection and think about how your NFTs might be recovered if the private servers they reside on went offline.

KOGS Digital Collectible on WAX

Similar to YouTube: if you post a video that doesn’t follow company guidelines, or is not approved by the team, they can remove it from the site without your permission. This, in a way, destroys the content. You still have the right to post the video elsewhere, but once it’s deleted off YouTube, it cannot be found again unless it is uploaded to another site. Private servers also hold the ability to alter the original image, or even replace it. If the hosted file for your NFT is removed off of a centralized platform, it is corrupted and impossible to reacquire the original, verified data. Stay safe, stay IPFS.

Major brands on WAX use IPFS:

WAX supports and promotes some of the leading brands that are paving the way for the future of NFTs. These big names proudly use IPFS to ensure the security and longevity of their collectibles:

Street Fighter Trading Cards on WAX

How can I verify my NFT is on IPFS?

Location, location, location! When putting valuable money into your collectibles, verify where they are being stored. Doing this is simple:

  1. Check the web address: If the address begins with /ipfs/, you can rest assured that your NFT is safely secured by IPFS. On WAX, for example, check out the attributes and see the image URL.
  2. Verify via the unique hash: When browsing NFTs, look for the individual hash code search for it in an external IPFS site, such as Pinata. If it is verified, the image should pull up for the selected NFT.
WAX Co-Founder @WilliamEQuigley on Twitter

WAX is proud to have decentralized properties to give collectors peace of mind that their purchases are truly owned by them and no one else. While IPFS is not the only service that provides this decentralized storage, it is the platform WAX has chosen to use. It is important to always check your NFTs to ensure that the images are not managed by a private server. Remember, not IPFS, not your NFT!



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