What Is NFT Metadata And Why Does It Matter

An NFT’s metadata describes what the NFT is and includes information about it that artists can use to attribute specific values to their pieces and collectors have on hand to gauge rarity and verify its authenticity.

In this article, we’ll unpack exactly what NFT metadata is and why it matters to both creators and collectors looking to take part in the NFT ecosystem on Cardano.

What Is NFT Metadata?

Simply put, NFT metadata is data that describes other data and is usually written in JSON, a lightweight format for storing and transporting data.

NFT metadata includes information such as the name of the token, who the is owner, the total supply of the collection, the date and time of creation, and the policy ID among other things. 

Why do NFTs rely on metadata?

Well, it’s impractical and costly to host large visual or audio files directly on the blockchain — even though some NFT collections are hosted on-chain. Most NFTs live off-chain, with the NFT metadata containing image URL or file links to where the artwork and metadata is permanently hosted.

In the NFT world, this data is stored on a decentralized storage system known as the InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS.

To showcase this, let’s take a look at the Spacebudz collection and walk you through how to view NFTs and their metadata on Cardano.

Spacebudz collection

When you click on an NFT, in this case SpaceBud#476, and click to view it on pool.pm, you can see all this NFT's associated metadata — but, wait, there's more!

Spacebudz metadata

By clicking on the Minted heading, you'll be able to see the JSON script describing the metadata, as well as the file link that's hosted on the IPFS.

Spacebudz metadata

NFT metadata is stored on the IPFS and all NFTs have their own unique pieces of data. This is used to make their tokens identifiable by others who want to purchase them or trade with them on marketplaces like JPG Store or CNFT.

Metadata makes it possible for creators to add value by associating certain attributes with individual digital objects during the minting or creation process

Clay Nation metadata

Why Should Artists Care About NFT Metadata?

NFT metadata is important to creators for a number of reasons, but most importantly:

  • Artists benefit from having their work identified on the blockchain. This can help them build their reputation and find new opportunities to create more art.
  • Artists can include copyright information to ensure that their art is protected from being redistributed or used illegally. 
  • Brands can easily find artists who fit their needs by searching through these lists of creators.
  • Artists can set royalty percentages in the metadata. This means that, when the piece is resold, they will earn a passive income from that sale in perpetuity.

Want to discover how to add royalties to your NFTs? Read more here.

Why NFT Metadata Matters To Collectors

Probably the main, and most important, reason why NFT metadata is of significance to collectors, is that they can verify important data of a potential investment piece. This includes:

In light of recent scams associated with NFTs, this is an all-too-important safety net for collectors. NFT metadata gives collectors verifiable proof that the NFT they have their eye on is, in fact, the actual artwork they want. This means you can invest with greater confidence and peace of mind!

NFT Metadata Unlocks Opportunities

NFT metadata

As a powerful tool for the NFT ecosystem, metadata offers an avenue to unlock new opportunities for creators, collectors, and marketplaces alike.

Creators can use NFT metadata to better describe their artwork, pay tribute to ardent collectors by including their names and even "hiding" easter eggs in the metadata to further engage potential collectors.

Collectors can use metadata to invest in better projects, verify themselves as the owner of celebrated pieces and use as a social flex on their social media profiles.

Marketplaces have access to critical information that provides all users in the ecosystem with complete transparency, to ensure that creators are paid their fair share of royalties and buyers have the means to verify collections they list.

Get Started Creating And Investing in NFTs

NFT metadata is the foundation for a robust ecosystem of interconnected digital assets, and it’s critical to the success of NFTs. We’re excited to see how collectors and artists use this metadata to unlock new opportunities in their respective pursuits. 

If you’re interested in tokenizing your own digital asset (and who isn’t?), we encourage you to check out our user guide on how to get started on Cardano NFTs.

If you’re keen to invest in NFTs, then head on over to our comprehensive user guide on how to buy NFTs.