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NFT Immutability Debate Grows as Tokenized Tweets Get Deleted and NFT Images Are Replaced

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Over the last few months, the non-fungible token (NFT) space has heated up and NFTs have become a topical conversation in the cryptocurrency community. Many supporters believe that NFTs are going to be huge and transform everything from the art industry to online gaming. Others believe that NFTs are completely worthless and nothing more than the hype seen during the initial coin offering (ICO) phase in 2017.

Non-Fungible Token Assets and Reliable Immutability

Data shows that to-date, more than 5.3 million non-fungible token (NFT) asset sales have been recorded on nonfungible.com’s market history. Out of all these sales, artists, blockchain firms, and NFT dealers have sold $414.5 million worth of NFTs. Out of all 5.3 million sales recorded on nonfungible.com’s list, NFTs sell for an average of $76 per unit.

Furthermore, NFTs have gathered mainstream attention and on March 11, 2021, the popular NFT artist, Beeple, sold his work at the world-famous Christie’s auction house. The Christie’s online auction 20447 dubbed “Beeple: Everydays- The First 5000 Days,” saw the artwork sell for a staggering $69.3 million.

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It seems that every day, a new NFT project is being released and a new celebrity endorses their own non-fungible token collectibles. Many crypto supporters believe NFTs will be a transformative idea that will shake up a number of industries like art, music, and online games.

Meanwhile, NFT’s are not popular with everyone, and the hype is getting a lot of online criticism these days. For instance, when Jack Dorsey endorsed the NFT application called Valuables, which was created by a startup called Cent it caused a stir. The Valuables platform allows people to purchase a digital certificate of a tweet and sell it on the open market for ethereum.

But the Valuables concept came with immense scrutiny and controversy. “What happens if you buy someone’s tweet and then they delete it?” software developer Jameson Lopp said after it launched. Following this criticism from Lopp and many others, the Twitter account dubbed @slvtrmndi proved that this could happen.

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“Someone just deleted a tweet they sold on Cent,” @slvtrmndi tweeted on March 6.

The very next day, Dennison Bertram from withtally.com explained how he created some NFTs stored on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) and they eventually vanished.

“Fun fact,” Bertram said. “I minted NFTs a few years back for my hybrid metapunks,” he explained. “I stored them in IPFS. I still have them. Because I also stored them on AWS S3. All the IPFS versions have disappeared,” he added.

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Additionally, the recent Banksy burning NFT transformation had also sparked controversy earlier this week. In an email to news.Bitcoin.com, the cofounder of myartbroker.com, Joey Syer, said the burned Banksy NFT sale raises the idea that “the only morons in this transaction are the buyers and stunt artists themselves.”

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Syer also insisted that the Banksy NFT was no different than swiping a free copy (jpg or png image) from the open web. “You could right-click on the same image that floods the internet and have your very own version for free,” Syer scathed.

‘Pulling the Rug’ – Creator Hosting NFTs on Opensea Changes the Images

Following the Banksy NFT critique and the controversial debates about selling NFT tweets, the Twitter account @neitherconfirm explained to his followers that he pulled an NFT rug trick this week. He simply swapped the images he had listed on Opensea for images of oriental rugs after the fact the NFTs were minted.

“I just pulled the rug at my NFT collection on Opensea,” he tweeted. “Nobody got hurt. It is pretty easy to change the jpg, even if it does not belong to me or it is on auction. I am the artist, my decision, right? A thread from somebody making his living with art irl about the value of NFTs. All discussions about the value of NFTs are meaningless as long as the token is not inseparable from the artwork itself,” the NFT artist @neitherconfirm wrote.

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The Twitter account @neitherconfirm added:

I [have been] in Bitcoin since 2014. My 9-5 is making sculptural art. For more than a decade I worked with a large team for one of the top selling artists worldwide. Some artworks we produce are selling in the double digit millions. With every work of art we sell comes a certificate of authenticity. The paper without the artwork is worthless. The artwork without the certificate remains the same, but may not be (re-) sellable.

Furthermore, @neitherconfirm said that if a person obtained an artwork rightfully and can prove it but lost the paper, a person would likely get a new one. “A blank signature is an autograph, not a certificate,” he said. Moreover, he added that every certificate of authenticity includes a title, year of production, the artist’s name, materials used, dimensions, number of items produced, number of the item itself, date of signature, and the artist’s signature as well.

‘NFTs Need to Be Backed by an Immutable and Permanent Storage Provider’

Another Twitter account called @checkmynft has been discussing NFT issues like this on the social media platform as well. “Based on the FAQs on the Cent website, the NFTweets metadata is being stored on Matic (now Polygon),” @checkmynft wrote. The author of the Twitter thread explained how Cent’s NFT platform works and how it could be done better.

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“While the author, date, and tweet content are saved on Matic, the image URL and tweet URL are stored off-chain on Twitter and Cent respectively,” the Twitter account detailed. “Centralized storage of NFT assets and metadata pose an extreme risk to the underlying value and longevity of the NFT. Storing an NFTs metadata and assets on centralized platforms makes the NFTweet highly vulnerable to loss of the assets if Twitter or Cent were to shut down. The underlying assets of the Tweet will survive only as long as the providers do,” @checkmynft added.

The Twitter account continued:

Storage of the assets is an easily overlooked aspect of NFTs but one that is fundamental to their value. In the case of the person bidding $2.5 million for Jack’s first tweet, you can see why this would be terrible if the assets were lost due to closure or for other reasons. With no reliable backup, the NFTweet would essentially be rendered worthless. The metadata, tweet URL, and image file should be backed by an immutable and permanent storage provider.

The @checkmynft Twitter account further said that a project called Arweave provides this very utility by backing up “NFT assets, files, apps, and blockchains permanently through an endowment mechanism.” Ardrive.io or Arweave is a project that aims to provide immutable and permanent storage.

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On May 30, 2020, Arweave wrote about the subject of “NFT permanence” and utilizing Arweave as a solution. “Oftentimes NFTs’ actual digital assets, metadata, and code are stored off-chain on centralized servers,” Arweave’s blog post details. “This information is sometimes seeded to IPFS, but remains at risk of being lost forever if the wrong hard drive fails or node goes offline— just like the centralised web. Without their associated data and assets, such as digital graphics for an NFT-based art piece, NFTs themselves become functionally worthless to the end-user.”

According to Arweave’s claims, the protocol the team designed is meant to permanently store virtually unlimited quantities of data onchain. “Due to Arweave’s ‘pay once, store forever’ data storage model, NFT creators using Arweave can rest assured that their NFT’s assets will be available hundreds of years in the future,” the project’s blog post insists.

Another project that is similar to Arweave is Filecoin, an open-source digital payment system aimed at providing blockchain-based cooperative digital storage. In addition to those looking to harden the NFT concept, in general, many developers are leveraging alternative chains instead of ethereum. Blockchain competitors who could serve the NFT space include projects like Filecoin, Cardano, EOS, Tron, Komodo, Qtum, Polkadot, Cosmos, and Avalanche.

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NFTs ‘on Bitcoin’: Yes, That’s a Thing!

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage right now. From CryptoPunks to Bored Apes, millions in crypto are exchanging hands for pixel art, tokenized memes, and crypto collectibles. 

For the most part, the action takes place on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, which has made some hardcore bitcoiners skeptical of this new crypto market segment. However, there is also a market of NFTs secured by the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.

Read on to learn about what’s happening with Bitcoin-secured NFTs. 

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NFTs are moving beyond Ethereum

Until recently, Ethereum has been the go-to blockchain for minting and trading NFTs. That is changing quickly, however, as Ethereum high gas fees have pushed out many would-be market participants, making NFTs on other chains more attractive. 

The Bitcoin blockchain has also a role to play here.  

While NFTs “on Bitcoin” don’t exist purely on the Bitcoin blockchain (in a way that ERC721 tokens exist on Ethereum), they are secured by the Bitcoin blockchain. The additional tech stack that powers the ability to issue and secure NFTs with Bitcoin is provided by the likes of CounterpartyStacks, and the Liquid Network

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Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most prolific NFT projects secured by Bitcoin.

Rare Pepes & crypto art on Scarce City

Scarce City is a Bitcoin-secured art auction platform that enables artists to sell their artwork for BTC. 

The Scarce City team claims that “Bitcoin’s finest goods should be sold according to the network’s properties of pseudonymous, borderless, permissionless, trust minimized, and verifiable authenticity and supply.” 

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On the auction platform, art is sold via Lightning-powered auctions to “keep auction participants accountable by collateralizing their bids through instant, anonymous, low-fee Lightning Network payments,” the team explains on its website.

In addition to giving artists the ability to sell their physical art in exchange for BTC, the marketplace also sells an NFT series based on the Pepe The Frog internet meme, called the Rare Pepe collection. 

Rare Pepe NFTs are powered by Counterparty – an open-source protocol built on top of the Bitcoin network – that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to record data. 

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By securing NFTs on Bitcoin, these digital collectible cards arguably have a chance of lasting longer than NFTs secured by newer chains that may end up disappearing (or forking) in a few years’ time. For NFT holders, that is something to consider. 

NFT skins for Bitcoin gamers

Bitcoin-secured NFTs are not only limited to artworks and dank memes. They also have applications in the gaming world. For instance, Lightnite, a play-to-earn online game powered by Lightning payments, utilizes Blockstream’s Liquid Network to enable players to purchase and earn in-game items in the form of NFTs. 

The Liquid Network is a Bitcoin sidechain that can facilitate the trading of these and other Bitcoin NFTs. While it was created by Blockstream, it’s currently governed by a federation of parties and operated on an open-source blockchain platform called Elements. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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China Sort of Bans NFTs, But Local Internet Giants Keep Entering This Field

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Chinese authorities are prohibiting NFTs but allow digital collectibles instead; however, Internet giants keep entering the NFT space

According to the Chinese crypto blogger Colin Wu, Chinese regulators are in talks with major Internet companies about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) use.

He has reported exclusively that NFTs are not allowed to be used any more. However, instead digital collectibles are permitted.

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Still, local Internet giants and other major companies are still entering the NFT space actively. Recently, U.Today reported that McDonald’s in China has released a set of 188 NFTs to present to its staffers and customers in honor of the 31 anniversary of the company’s presence in China. These NFTs are called “Big Mac Rubik’s Cube”.

Tencent and Alibaba have also launched their NFTs platforms and DHL has released its NFTs too, Wu reminds.

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In late September, China also banned cryptocurrency transactions, marking them as illegal. However, Chinese citizens are still allowed to own Bitcoin legally as digital property.

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Reddit Working on NFT Platform

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The Reddit message board is getting into the NFT market, a new job posting suggests

Online message board Reddit is preparing to develop a platform for non-fungible tokens, according to a new job posting.

The San Francisco-headquartered company is looking for a senior backend engineer who will be responsible for building services that will make it possible for “millions” of users to mint and trade NFTs.

The job description highlights the importance of NFTs, predicting that they are going to “rewrite” the way we think about goods. It highlights a slew of use cases that are linked to the new technology:

Beyond visual art, there are already NFTs for music, videos, articles, and even memes. Many believe that NFTs will become the standard for items in online games, as well as items in the eventual metaverse.

Five years of experience in backend development and the ability to design complex distributed systems are the key qualifications required for the position.

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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is a big fan of Ethereum and NFTs. At the MET Fashion Gala, he even wore a CryptoPunk NFT that he purchased for his wife, Serena Williams.

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