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    Find Out Where Your NFT Image Is Stored

    Doesn’t technology ever baffle you? Like how we naturally use our phones and video call with friends a million miles away. For someone from a couple of hundred years ago, it sounds like a miracle or even magic. Ever since the boom of social media, we never question anything. But let me ask you this, have you never wondered about blockchain technology? What exactly is an NFT? An image, a token, or an illusion of something that doesn’t exist? Before we get into where NFT images are stored, let’s refresh some important blockchain mechanics to know why such storage is needed.

    Recap: Blockchain Technology

    The blockchain is a decentralized peer-to-peer network, this means that it’s not governed by a centralized authority. It’s a breakthrough technology that offers safer and more unchangeable transactions than bank systems. However, the blockchain’s digital storage system for transactions has a simple value and size, basically designed to store numbers. So, it’s not meant to store actual media files, just a bunch of codes that don’t require more than a few KBs. Know that when you speak of an NFT, you are talking about three things:

    1. The token ID: Always stored on the blockchain
    2. Metadata: stored off/chain or on/chain 
    3. Media: stored off/chain or on/chain

    If the blockchain was used to send films, multimedia, and pictures, people will have to pay huge gas fees . That is simply impractical and unattractive for users. Which is why most NFT collections don’t store their metadata on the blockchain and why there’s an option to store NFTs on or off the blockchain. In most case scenarios, the reality is that :

    • the NFT image is not stored on the blockchain
    • You are not buying the JPG or media file of the NFT
    • You are just buying a code that points to the place where your NFT image exists

    Steps to Find Where NFT Image Is Stored

    NFT media and metadata are mainly stored on an off-chain server. It’s true that this is a cheaper and more feasible option, but it raises many red flags regarding the permanence and ownership of NFTs. Anyway, the cool thing is that there’s a way to determine where the NFT image is stored from the smart contract. You can even find the actual image’s storage place, to know which storage system they are using. So follow along and let me guide you through, it’s really simple.

    Stage 1: Find the Smart Contract and Token ID

    1- Go to OpenSea and find the collection you want to check. Then Click on any NFT you eyes catches.

    step 1

    2- After choosing an NFT, go to the “details” section. 

    step 2

    3- Now Click on the “Contract Address” link to take you to its smart contract. Also, copy the token ID as you will use it later on.

    step 3

    4- Once you’re on the Etherscan page of the NFT, go to its Smart contract by pressing “Contract” then “Read Contract” buttons.

    step 4

    5- After pressing “read contract” , scroll down until you see tokenURI. When you press the tab it will ask you for a “tokenID”, here is where you paste it. Then Press ” Query”.

    step 5

    Stage 2: Find The NFT Metadata

    6-  After pressing Query, the query string will give you a link that points to where your NFT metadata and image is stored, so COPY everything after ( ipfs:// )

    NOTE: In most cases when the string gives you a link, it indicates that the NFT is stored off-chain. You have to figure out if this link is trustworthy or not. For example, in the case of BEANZ, they store their images on IPFS servers, which are considered among the best off-chain storage options till now.

    step 6

    7-  Now open a new window and type the URL (ipfs.io/ipfs), like this: 

    ipfs.io/ipfs/(Paste here what you copied from the string)

    You are looking now at the metadata, which has a link to the place where the NFT image is stored, so COPY it.

    STEP 7

    8-  Now after finding the metadata, repeat the same process to find the image. In the same window just change what is after (ipfs.io/ipfs/) :

    ipfs.io/ipfs/ (paste the link from metadata here)

    Here’s where BEAN #11677’s image is hiding.

    step 8

    Closing Thoughts 

    The good news is that there is somewhat of a shortcut to finding where your NFT image is stored. Most times OpenSea links the metadata’s storage place to the token ID. Upong pressing the link on tokenID in the details section of OpenSea, you save yourself going through steps and reach step 7 imeddietly. Don’t believe me? Ty it!

    Now what about an NFT stored on chain? Follow these steps on a collection like Autoglyphs for example, and this is what you get:

    step 8-min autoglyphs

    In a nutshell,in most cases, if you get a link to IPFS or similar storage servers, the NFT is stored off-chain. If you get a bunch of weird codes then the NFT, its metadata, and the image are stored on the blockchain. Wanna know more interesting things about the blockchain? Checkout blockchain nodes and importance of decentralized storage.

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