How to find your NFT's metadata
By now, we've all heard of NFTs. While trading volumes are down bad, just as the average portfolio (at least we're not Saylor or Nayib level down bad), NFTs remain a promising technology.
Proving ownership for digital assets can be helpful beyond just rocking that PFP on Twitter. Certificates, access keys, and even identities, a lot could be associated with NFTs. 🔑
But there are a few things to consider, and a huge thing that few talk about is metadata. It's maybe not as sexy as having traded your mental health and wealth for JPEGs. Now imagine if that Jpeg would not show anymore and lead to a broken link instead?
It will be hard to impress random passersby with an error 404.
So let's talk about metadata
Metadata is just data about data. A common misconception is that your NFT is the art. But in most cases, things are a bit more complicated. Very few NFT art is stored on-chain (artblocks being one exception). If you ever paid Ethereum gas fees, you will know why. 💸
The artwork file, in most cases, is stored as a link to another location where the image can be found.
Imagine that someone just added a link to their Dropbox or GoogleDrive; once that person deletes it, your image is gone. Good luck trying to sell a token linking to a broken page.
Most NFT marketplaces these days will automatically upload files to decentralized storage solutions such as IPFS or Arweave when creators use their minting tools. That's already a lot better than relying on a centralized location.
But as they say, in crypto, "Trust, but verify."
Sure, we trust that NFT creators always have our best at mind, but we also like to figure out what our metadata says and where our art is stored (because let's be honest, we don't care about the tokenID or other values as much).
Note: for this mission, it helps to use a browser that natively supports IPFS (like Brave or Opera), or get an extension. If you want to go all the way into nerd territory, feel free to download and run IPFS on your own device.
Find metadata on OpenSea
The biggest NFT marketplace is OpenSea; that's where I started. I went to the page of one of the NFTs I own and quickly noted that metadata was not something one could easily find.
But there is a way (and yes, it requires using an API, if I can do it, so can you).
- Note down the contact address and the token ID. These can be found under Details on the page of an NFT.
2. Now add the contract address and the tokenID in the field in the following link: https://api.opensea.io/asset/contract/tokenid
3. Run it, and you get something like the below:
That's the metadata of your NFT. As you can see, it includes things like the description of the collection and image URLs. The thing we care about as visual people. You can take that image URL and open it in a browser if you want. It will show you your art.
Congrats. You got your NFTs metadata. Something 90% of NFT buyers doesn't bother thinking about. 😼
Of course, OpenSea isn't the only marketplace. So let's look at an alternative.
Find Metadata on Foundation
Spoiler alert: it's a lot easier than on Opensea; no API required.
All you need to do is:
- Go to the NFTs page
- Scroll down to the details
3. Click on Metadata, et voila. It will open the arweave storage location with all the metadata on your NFT. OpenSea, take note!
And if you want to see the image location, pick the image or imageURL.
Moving on, another marketplace that made headlines is Looksrare.
Find Metadata on Looksrare
When looking at Looksrare, I thought maybe I could find the metadata directly from the contract. Because why not try something new.
- Go to NFTs page and click on the ETHScan symbol.
2. Click on the Contract Tab, then click on Read Contract
3. Find the URI (unique resource identifier)
4. Great, a link we can try. I added the link instead of string the tokenID of said NFT.
See for yourself: https://kongz.herokuapp.com/api/metadata/2368
Inside of that, like clockwork, an IPFS link that hosts the NFT's image.
It seems, however, that there is no unity in how the smart contracts reference image locations on Looksrare (or maybe more broadly), so I found that also, in this case, the API is your best bet.
Again, you need the contract address and ID to feed them in.
Your response will look something like the below and include all the metadata for your NFT.
But what about Solana NFTs?
Fine, it’s true, MagicEden raised a lot of money recently, so worth exploring.
- To find metadata on your Solana NFT through MagicEden, visit the NFTs page and head to the details.
- Find the Mint address and click on the Solana symbol next to it. This opens the Solana Explorer
- Scroll down, and then pick the Metadata tab
4. Somewhere in the top part of the metadata you’ll find an URI, and in it an IPFS link
If you open it, you will find all the descriptions on your NFT, as well as its image file and more.
So, what now?
Good point. While IPFS is great, it’s not fail-proof. It’s not unheard of that NFT images wouldn't show up. Often that’s related to gateways being provided by central entities.
Fortunately, we can do our part to be more self-sovereign. Like hosting our own images.
Is your NFT art on IPFS? Awesome. Do the following to add to your own IPFS instance.
- This goes without saying, but saying it nevertheless, download IPFS desktop: https://docs.ipfs.io/install/ipfs-desktop/
- Find the ipfs link of your image, here an example: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmUTFdGynJfQDwLGN3ro2jhEgpMibbEUCGovmZ4c5ATEp2
- Open your IPFS Desktop app, and go to Files. Then click on Import.
4. Pick from IPFS and add your image’s link. Don’t forget to remove the entire “https://ipfs.io” part from the URL. It should look something like this: /ipfs.io/ipfs/QmUTFdGynJfQDwLGN3ro2jhEgpMibbEUCGovmZ4c5ATEp2
Once added, it’ll show up under your files, and you can look at it whenever.
Also, you’re running IPFS now, a whole other 🐰hole to go down.
Thanks for reading! All of the above, I’ve figured out with trial-error. I’m by no means a dev, just a bit of a nerd. 🤓
I’m aware there are many more platforms that offer NFTs, and I might get to the rest of them eventually. Pretty sure, with a combination of the above you can figure out your image location on a vast majority. And if not, hit me up!