Perceptual Hashing For NFT Verification

In providing accurate NFT verification services, neither humans nor computers are sufficient. However, using a technology called perceptual hashing, mountainous digital files can be reduced to perceivable attributes such as shapes, patterns, and colors that can easily be compared by both humans and computers.

By combining perceptual hashing with human verification, NFT verification services can easily and accurately identify forgeries. 

NFTs are an exciting application of blockchain technology and smart contracts that have attracted substantial attention from creatives and markets alike. However, as with anything of value, scammers will attempt to fool unsuspecting buyers into shelling out large sums of money for a forgery. 

This is where an ingenious technology called perceptual hashing becomes valuable. However, perceptual hashing alone isn’t enough to automate the job of verifying the authenticity of NFTs. In order to provide valuable NFT verification services, we need a combination of computer and human perception.

The following guide explores how a technique known as percentual hashing is used by NFT verification services to flag potential forgeries and bring them to the attention of humans.

What Makes NFTs valuable?

First, let’s take a moment to explain what it is we’re trying to protect in simple terms. 

NFT stands for “non-fungible token.” 

“Fungible” means, essentially, interchangeable. Take fiat currencies, for example. Every U.S. dollar is worth the same amount as every other U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars are fungible. All currencies are fungible, including cryptocurrencies. If you loan someone a $1 bill or 1 ETH, they can pay you back with any other $1 bill or 1 ETH. 

NFT’s are not interchangeable as each one is unique. 

A token is something that represents something else. For example, an arcade token represents a quarter. However, while the token has value to the holder, they can’t spend it at a convenience store. 

They first have to convert the token back into a fungible quarter. 

So an NFT is a crypto token that stands in place for a non-fungible asset.

How Do NFTs Track Asset Ownership?

Like currencies, NFTs have a value. However, as we explained, unlike currencies, NFTs are not interchangeable. Each NFT is, in essence, a contract that spells out who owns a particular digital token. The token represents the underlying asset. They can be tied to a physical object or they can represent a digital asset such as an image.

Let’s use cars as an example of how NFTs work. When a particular model of car is built, every car with the same features has the same price (in theory). However, as soon as you buy one of those cars, its value diverges from the value of all the other cars on the lot. They might be similar, but they’re not interchangeable. 

When you buy a car, you get a title. The title is obviously not the vehicle itself, it’s essentially a token denoting ownership of that specific vehicle. Each vehicle has its own unique vehicle identification number (VIN). A database of VINs matches titles to owners. You need that VIN so you can search the database of titles (tokens) for that specific car to see who owns it. 

When you sell the car, the title needs to be signed over to the new owner. The same is true with NFTs. When you sell an NFT, the change in ownership is immutably recorded on the blockchain.

NFTs can represent any type of unique asset. 

Digitally Verifying the Authenticity of NFTs

There’s a huge challenge with digital NFTs. Like cars, NFTs can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and more. Unlike cars, however, digital files can be copied an infinite number of times. The image itself doesn’t have an identification number on it. And if it did, that would easily be copied too. 

Without some way to verify the authenticity of a digital image, its value would be nil. 

Any serious collector of physical artworks needs a way to verify that a particular painting is not a forgery. For this, they hire a professional service that specializes in identifying forgeries. Likewise, serious NFT collectors also need a way to verify the authenticity of an NFT.

A scammer can easily create an account on an NFT marketplace using the same or similar name as the original artist, then make a copy of the image and list it as a new NFT. 

How can the potential buyer be sure that the NFT is authentic?

Comparing Original and Counterfeit NFTs

Theoretically, you could compare the NFT to a database of original NFTs. However, that would be a monumental task. For starters, you need to store a copy of every NFT for comparison. Then you would need to check every single bit and byte to make sure they match. 

But what if the nefarious seller changes the NFT ever so slightly by making it a tiny bit darker or lighter or smaller or larger or framed or cropped. In these cases, comparing the image to files in a database would be useless as they won’t match. A computer would fail miserably in identifying even a slightly changed copy. 

A person would be able to match the two images quite easily through human perception. The problem is, however, that it would take a human being eons to go through every NFT for comparison. 

Perceptual hashing for verification of NFTs

How do we solve this problem? By using a technique known as perceptual hashing.

Hashing simply refers to the process of recalculating something to reduce it to a particular set of basic properties and get rid of unnecessary data. 

A good example of this is private and public wallet keys. The private key is hundreds of characters long. The public key is a shorter version of the private key created through a complicated algorithm. (It’s near impossible to reverse the process and generate a private key from a public key. This intensive task would require the theoretical power of quantum computers, which don’t exist to the degree of sophistication needed to crack a blockchain.) 

Perceptual hashing is the process of using an algorithm to convert an image into a set of easily perceivable attributes — such as shapes, patterns, and colors — that can easily be compared. 

Human vs. Computer Perception

Perceptual hashing is a powerful tool for comparing images. In order to verify the authenticity of NFTs, however, we need the cooperation of humans and computers. The computer can easily compare highly similar images using perceptual hashing. However, if the image is sufficiently modified, the computer can only identify similarities between features in the original and the copy. It can’t make the call, so to speak.

If a computer using perceptual hashing determines that two images are identical it can flag the latter copy as a forgery without human intervention. If the computer sees no similarities between the two files, it can verify that an image is unique without human intervention. 

However, if the computer sees some similarities between two images, but can’t verify that one is a copy of the other, it can flag them as being similar. A human being can then very quickly look at the two files and verify whether they are unique or if one is a slightly revised knockoff of the other.

Various NFT Verification Schemes

Stock photography services have been using perceptual hashing to identify copies and near copies of their assets for many years. Google Images, for example, uses perceptual hashing to help users find copies and variants of an image on the internet. 

Perceptual hashing is also being used by services like YouTube to detect unlicensed use of videos and music. However, NFT collectors need more assurance than a Google search.

Being such a nascent technology, NFT authentication services are still in their infancy and a wide variety of proposals are being tested. For example: 

  • Pastel is a first-of-its-kind blockchain that uses perceptual hashing as part of its proprietary technology to find near-duplicate NFTs. Pastel’s Sense Protocol utilizes deep learning models using Tensorflow with Keras Applications to turn each NFT into an “NFT fingerprint vector” of over 10,000 numbers. Then, it determines a correlation between that fingerprint and all other NFT fingerprints on Pastel, other NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, and open databases like Google. Its relative rareness score is between 0% (the NFT is identical to another already registered NFT) to 100% (the NFT is completely unique). Pastel’s algorithms can be bolted onto any NFT marketplace. 
  • Mintable NFT marketplace offers reverse image searches for its own offerings using perceptual hashing.
  • Blockchains such as Stellar use various trust-building mechanisms. 
  • Adobe allows artists to embed the creator’s wallet address and social media information into their NFTs. 
  • And Twitter helps owners of popular NFTs (such as Bored Apes) verify that they are, indeed, the rightful owner.
  • Another NFT marketplace, Rarible, hand curates all artists and NFTs before they can be listed on the site.

Although it’s still early in the game, NFT collectors are already spending hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars on NFTs. So there’s a fast-growing need for third-party NFT verification services. With such a demand, supply is sure to increase quickly.

Final Thoughts: NFT Verification as a Service

As you might imagine, NFT verification services are invaluable to serious buyers and sellers. 

However, the concept of NFT verification services is still in its infancy. As such, a variety of new schemes are being developed and implemented. 

No matter which of these developing schemes proves to be useful and becomes widely adopted, one thing is for certain: computer algorithms alone to compare NFT images is insufficient, so far. 

By combining perceptual hashing and human verification, we can provide a high level of trust for legitimate NFTs and easily weed out forgeries. 

How Are NFTs Authenticated?

The NFT concept is new to most; the term “non-fungible token” skyrocketed into the mainstream from relative obscurity within an esoteric group of cryptocurrency aficionados. 

The script changed in early 2021: NFT collectors suddenly started spending thousands to sometimes millions of dollars to buy various JPEGs and GIFs on the Internet. 

With so much money flowing into the evolving NFT marketplace, there is a dire need for NFT verification services. 

How do I know that the NFT I’m buying is legit, instead of some shoddy reproduction created by some scammer? 

The following guide explores how NFTs are authenticated.  We’ll talk about a handful of mechanisms being implemented to protect NFT collectors. We’ll debate the question of which of these schemes will see mass adoption as the NFT market matures.

The NFT space is still in its infancy and a variety of NFT authentication methods are being used, each of which offers specific advantages to the end-user. 

What Aspects of an NFT Need to be Authenticated?

The first question we need to ask is what exactly is it that we need to authenticate about an NFT

There are basically two factors to consider:

  1. Authenticity — Who created the NFT and who currently owns it?
  2. Originality/rarity — Is the work the first of its kind and unique or are there similar/derivative works?

First, and most importantly, collectors need to verify the source of the NFT and its rightful owner. 

Next, because the value of an NFT is partially based on rarity, we need to verify that the artwork being minted is not a copy or derivative of previously existing work. If the artist is minting several copies or slightly revised versions of a work, then its value is questionable. 

Moreover, since anyone can copy an image file and mint it as an NFT, one must be able to prove the creation is tied to a particular creator, or the most valuable component of NFTs, the provable scarcity and provenance, goes out the window.

In the case of physical art, there is a master and there are often prints (or copies) of the original work. 

The master holds the most value. 

Next, artist-signed prints have value to some collectors. 

However, unsigned prints have very little value. They can easily be copied so they have no inherent rarity.

The same might be true for digital art. The master NFT holds the most value. Limited edition copies minted by the artist might also have value to some collectors. Copies not minted by the artist floating around the internet are essentially valueless since they can be replicated an infinite number of times.

How is the Authenticity of an NFT Verified?

In the case of verifying that an NFT was minted by the original artist and not a scammer, we rely on the public record. Records of NFTs minted on decentralized blockchains are immutable, which means the record can’t be changed by anyone– at least not without a prohibitively expensive effort, but that’s a rabbit hole we’ll jump into another time. 

Thus we need only look at the record for a particular NFT to determine when it was minted as well as its ownership history. 

This is easier said than done, however; many art collectors will outsource this step to a trusted third party. 

For example, an artist by the pseudonym “Beeple” sold a work of art called “Everydays – The First 5000 Days,” for $69 million. The NFT was offered by Christie’s auction house. Collectors can rest assured that high-end auctioneers such as Christie’s have done their due diligence to be sure that the NFT being auctioned is authentic– a sort of authentication by proxy.

Most NFTs, however, are sold on centralized NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarible, Mintable, and others. 

Each NFT marketplace handles NFT authentication differently.

NFT Marketplaces and NFT Authentication 

Many NFT marketplaces offer some level of NFT authentication service, but not all of them. 

Marketplaces that do offer this service approach NFT authentication from a variety of angles: 

  • OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, offers no assurances that an NFT is original. The buyer must do their own research. 
  • Mintable, SuperRare, and Foundation only sell work by hand-curated artists. 
  • Nifty Gateway offers both hand-curated and post-verified NFTs. 
  • Rarible vets artists and performs what is known as a “reverse image search” to identify copies and near copies of the work. 

This list represents a small handful of NFT marketplaces and their NFT verification protocol; new NFT marketplaces are popping up daily and each has its own system for verifying (or not) the NFTs being sold or auctioned on their sites.

How is the Rarity of an NFT Authenticated?

Verifying the uniqueness of an image is far more difficult than identifying the authenticity and owner of an NFT. 

A human being should be able to easily identify a copy or modified version of an image merely by looking at it. When comparing a handful of images, it would be tricky to fool a diligent human. However, it would be impossible for a human to search for every copy or near copy of an image manually. 

Computer algorithms can help us with due diligence. 

Rarible, for example, performs a reverse search on images to identify copies and similar works. 

What is a Reverse Search?

With a traditional image search, the user searches for images labeled or tagged with a particular keyword or phrase. Google Images is the most commonly used example of this. 

However, Google also lets users do a reverse search to find images that are similar to the NFT in question. Search results also include information such as the date each image was posted online. Stock image sites such as Adobe Stock also use this reverse search method to identify similar images.

So how does a reverse image search for NFTs work? 

Perceptual Hashing for NFT authentication

In identifying similar images via computer, a technique known as perceptual hashing is employed. 

Humans perceive colors and shapes, not pixels. We can compare images instantaneously. However, computers can’t determine that two images are similar just by comparing the pixel data. An image can be slightly modified — resized, cropped, or adjusted in other ways — and we end up with a completely different list of pixels.

We can solve this problem with the process of perceptual hashing. 

Perceptual hashing 101

Hashing is the act of reducing a data set to a much smaller set of data that can more easily be compared. Perceptual hashing breaks an image down into perceivable traits such as shapes and colors. 

The hash file can then be compared with other hashed files to find similar patterns. 

A computer algorithm can identify similar images using perceptual hashing. However, the computer isn’t able to make the final call on originality. It can only bring similarities to the attention of a human. The human can then make the final call. 

It’s not a perfect process, but it does streamline the authentication process for the end decision maker greatly.

Pastel is pioneering a near-duplicate NFT detection strategy using a mix of deep learning models using Tensorflow with Keras Applications, which transform each NFT into a fixed list of over 10,000 numbers (the ‘NFT fingerprint vector’). Then, it assesses the correlation between an NFT fingerprint vector and all other existing fingerprints on Pastel and marketplaces like OpenSea, and open databases like Google. Finally, it churns out a relative rareness score between 0% (the NFT is identical to another) or 100% (it’s completely unique.)  

Final Thoughts On How NFTs are authenticated

As you might imagine, NFT verification services are invaluable to serious collectors. Presently, a variety of NFT verification schemes are being used by NFT marketplaces and art auction houses. 

The NFT authentication process may involve humans and computers.  

While humans are great at vetting artists, they’re not so great at manually searching for images that might be similar. And computer algorithms alone can’t make a final determination on an image’s rarity. 

The rarity of an NFT is relatively simple to verify by using a combination of perceptual hashing and human verification. 

However, for the casual collector of NFTs, simply going by a blue checkmark and the proper link on a popular marketplace like OpenSea might be enough– but as you can imagine, this exposes one to a great deal of risk. 

When it comes to peer-to-peer NFT trades, the ecosystem still has a long way to go to ensure a trustless, fair, and fool-proof system.

NFT Copyright: What Artists and Collectors Should Know

NFT art is soaring in popularity due to the blockchain’s ability to offer a multitude of features that appeal to both creators and collectors. 

Artists continue earning royalties for the same artwork from the sales in the secondary market, which isn’t possible in the traditional art scene. 

Collectors enjoy advantages that weren’t possible before blockchain technology, such as an undisputable artwork’s transaction history and provenance, scarcity, and liquidity. 

However, the NFT ownership concept is more complicated than meets the eye, and it often trips up many.

But what do I actually own? 

What if someone just screenshots your art? 

Can I sue someone if they print my NFT on a shirt?

The answer to all of these questions is a nebulous “it depends.”

When someone buys an art NFT, they don’t purchase the artwork itself but the token that represents it. 

Owning the token isn’t necessarily the same thing as owning the copyrights of the underlying asset, unless it was specified in the underlying contract. 

The following guide explores what NFT copyright is, and what both creators and collectors should know about their NFTs. 

Copyrights and intellectual property rights

Copyright is a bundle of rights that specify what’s ok and what isn’t, regarding things like reproducing and distributing copies of the work, preparing derivatives based on the original work, displaying the work in public, and performing the work publicly, as regulated by 17 U.S. Code § 106.

Purchasing an NFT doesn’t transfer these rights to the buyer automatically. Unless an external agreement (17 U.S. Code § 204) is made between the artist and the purchaser,  the artist who created the original artwork remains the copyright holder.

The artist can transfer the copyright, grant a license for specific purposes, or limit the NFT’s use in some way. Agreements used for transferring rights must be coded in the smart contracts or expressed in written terms elsewhere.

Intellectual property (IP) is a broader concept that can refer to any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by others. Patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets all fall into the realm of IP.

Again, the only way an NFT buyer can retain IP rights is through an explicit agreement signed by the creator of the original artwork.

Standard license agreements for NFT ownership confer the rights to use, copy, display, resale, and gift NFTs. Granting a license of copyright and IP to the buyer through smart contracts or external agreements is also common. Some NFT projects permit commercial use, like CryptoKitties. 

CryptoKitty owners can use them to commercialize their own merchandise, given that they don’t earn more than $100K per year. Another well-known NFT project, Bored Ape Yacht Club, has generous IP terms similar to CryptoKitties. For example, owners are allowed to create characters around their apes or print them on their personal belongings.

Copyright Terms of NFT Marketplaces 

Although there’ll always be exceptions, we can say that in open marketplaces like Opensea and Rarible, artists license the NFTs to the buyer and not to the marketplace.

In marketplaces where only exclusive NFT collections are sold, the marketplace usually owns the NFTs and the related IP rights, like in the case of NBA Top Shot.

Curated marketplaces like Superrare, MakersPlace, and Nifty Gateway, artists are expected to grant licenses for display, distribution, and derivative rights, for promotional activities. Some marketplaces require artists not to mint multiple NFTs for the same artwork.

On Rarible and MakersPlace, artists can apply a custom license to their NFTs, in addition to platforms’ own standard agreements.

When an NFT is resold, the general practice is that any resale activity terminates the former owner’s rights and the current owner of that NFT becomes the new license holder.

NFT Copyright: What You Should Know as a Collector 

As a rule of thumb, NFT owners generally only have the copyrights to resale and gift their NFTs. Please don’t assume you can create derivatives of the underlying artworks and sell them for commercial purposes by default. 

Some projects may be cool with it, others may not. 

Some projects may give holders every possible right under the sun with their NFT, whereas others insist on keeping the project’s branding, and every NFT, held close. 

Always research the related platform’s license terms and conditions yourself if your intentions are beyond reselling the artwork in the secondary market. Otherwise, copyright infringement issues may arise.

It would help if you also bought only on platforms you trust. Always double-check if the artist verifies the related artwork as theirs. In May 2021, artist Xcopy, a famous figure in the crypto art community, tweeted about a fraud regarding his art on a new platform called Hen. 

This isn’t a rare event in the NFT world; always check if you’re buying an original work of art.

NFT Copyright: What you Should Know as an Artist

Artists should only mint their own creations. If the work is done in collaboration with others, their authorization is necessary.

It seems obvious, but in the Wild West vibe of early NFT marketplaces, it seems that you can get away with minting shoddy reproductions of other works. 

Remember how the blockchain tracks every transaction ever? While NFT copyright law is in its wobbly baby deer leg phases now, it’s not difficult to algorithmically track financial and copyright crimes. 

In the NFT world, many frauds take place. If you happen to discover your art is being sold as an NFT by someone else without your consent, you can claim copyright infringement against the sellers.

As stated above, unless you transfer the copyrights to buyers with an external agreement, you hold the copyrights of your work. However, if you did the NFT artwork initially under an employment contract, it might be regarded as work for hire, according to 17 U.S. Code § 101. In this case, the employer might hold the copyrights.

As a precaution against people with bad intentions, you can release your artwork as an NFT before sharing it with someone else.

Finally, like collectors, artists should also be wary of the platform they sell their art and terms and conditions regarding copyrights.  

Final Thoughts: Expect NFT Copyright Law to Evolve

Both collectors and artists should be aware that NFT technology is very new and many issues regarding IP rights are not completely clear. 

Understanding the underlying technology is necessary for both parties, along with the legal aspects. In case of conflicts, consulting lawyers for legal advice is inevitable.

What Is Art Blocks? An Exploration into Generative Art

Art Blocks is an Ethereum-based platform that offers distinctive, programmable, and on-demand generative non-fungible tokens (NFT) art to collectors globally. It’s also the first blockchain-based platform to provide on-demand generative art output. It accomplishes this through NFT drops, a process in which a user mints an NFT but has no idea what they’ll get as an end product.

Generative art isn’t an entirely novel concept, but the Art Blocks team largely pioneers its blockchain-based adaptation. Generative art’s influence on the non-fungible token (NFT) industry has been swift, generating substantial interest among creators and collectors alike. 

The project’s series of colorful “Squiggles” generated over $850 million in sales in 2021, making it the world’s fourth-best-selling non-fungible tokens (NFT) project up to date.

The following Art Blocks guide goes over the project, how it works, and what sets it apart from other popular generative art blocks. If you’re new to the NFT space, don’t get thrown off by some of the terms throughout– you’re picking a very exciting place to start! 

What Are Art Blocks and How Does It Work?

Before diving into what Art Blocks is, you should have a good understanding of the power of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

An NFT is a blockchain-verified deed of ownership to a single digital asset, such as a video file, picture, artwork, or something entirely different. These tokens representing one-of-a-kind digital collectibles are created and stored on blockchains such as Ethereum. In contrast, the actual image or video file formats are hosted elsewhere to not pack the blockchain with too much data. 

So, what exactly is Art Blocks and where does this project fit into the NFT movement? 

Art Blocks is a platform for curating programmable artworks, which are  saved and traded as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s a generative art system that enables collectors to create tokens without knowing exactly what they’ll get beforehand. The artist creates a piece of code that is inserted into the platform and generates random combinations of the variables. The script is kept on the blockchain, and most works are created with p5.js,  a JavaScript framework that supports creative coding.

The Art Blocks platform enables artists to submit an algorithm that creates one-of-a-kind art pieces in a given style. Artists can also establish a mint price and a limit (cap) on the number of pieces in every single collection. If a user likes a certain piece of artwork, they can mint one for themself. 

First, a seed, or random hexadecimal string is created. 

Then, while remaining consistent with the aesthetic of the artwork collection, each element in the seed defines an attribute of the artwork. For example, based on the color property of their randomly generated hexadecimal string, one person could get a red rendition of the artwork, while someone else would get more blue tones. 

The final product might also be a static photograph, a 3D model, or an interactive experience in many formats.

This element of surprise adds to the NFT minting process and ensures that every single collector has a fair chance of minting a unique piece.

To mint a piece generated by Art blocks, users will need to install MetaMask and connect both together. 

The artwork is stored on the Ethereum (ETH) network via standard ERC-721 compliant non-fungible tokens after being generated. This standard enables users to instantaneously access NFTs on marketplace sites like OpenSea, where they may resell their art pieces to other NFT collectors.

Art Blocks receives 10 percent of the mint price as a fee, and the artist keeps the remainder for the original sale. Art Blocks also deducts a 2.5 percent charge from secondary purchases on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, while artists receive a 5 percent royalty. Artists tend to love this feature since it allows them to receive ongoing royalties from their work, which is unusual in the traditional art world.

The Types of Art Blocks Projects

Art block projects may be divided into three categories: Curated, Playground, and Factory.

Curated:

Art Blocks Curated is the highest level for generative art NFTs and also the Art Blocks product suite’s most meticulously curated offering. 

Collaborators or individual artists submit work, which is then reviewed and approved by the Art Block curation board before going online. These inventive releases by reputable artists tend to demonstrate artistic and technical range interwoven with the artist’s individual creativity. 

Playground: 

The Playground collection is essential for artists who have already had a curated release or drop and wish to showcase their talents even further. Art Blocks doesn’t really vet individual projects, but the artists are well-vetted, so you know they’re of great quality. The term ‘Playground’ refers to the area where artists can explore and express their ideas.

Factory:

Curated projects take about two years to finish due to the huge increase in the number of applicants. As a result, the Art Blocks development team created the Factory area, allowing novice designers to participate in drops. The team still selects and distributes artworks on a regular basis, but they are usually only inspected to verify that they are working and not blatant duplicates of other artworks. 

Artists maintain the responsibility and final say on marketing their own pieces since Art Blocks doesn’t strongly promote these releases as much asides from the platform general brand promotion. So, it is up to the artists to personally promote their works.

A Brief History on Art Blocks

Art Blocks was launched in November 2020 by Erick Calderon, nicknamed Snowfro. 

Snowfro claims to have got the notion for an Art Blocks sort of project after a personal encounter in 2017 when claiming Cryptopunks. Snowfro managed to manipulate the system and carefully acquire the rarest accessible assets at the moment, which were the zombies, due to his technical expertise and understanding of how smart contracts functioned. 

He sought to use generative art to build a system that allowed no one to foresee or alter the precise type of asset they would get. At the same time, Snowfro also wished to encrypt the asset’s properties within the code, believing that this would give each iteration more legitimacy. 

He was intrigued by this idea of provenance combined with the variety of generative output.

The uniqueness of his ideas appears to appeal to the general public. In 2021, its first calendar year, Art Blocks has already exceeded $100 million sales volume from over 9,000 traders around the world.

Its popularity skyrocketed in March 2021. Several things may have led to this exponential expansion, including the publication of the Fidenza collection by famous developer Tyler Hobb, as well as community growth and market interest around other NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Final Thought: What Sets Art Blocks Apart from Other NFT Collectible Projects?

Art Blocks is unique among other NFTs because of its surprise element, and it has attracted some substantial price tags. It has a distinct advantage over other NFTs due to its use of algorithms for generative art. It integrates collectors into the creation process, allowing them to mint a one-of-a-kind interpretation of their preferred artist’s concept.

Art Blocks has become a valuable target for NFT investors, especially as the system gains momentum and the curated collections gather more interest. The platform has a ton of potential for collectors, traders, and artists alike. 

Axie Infinity: Pokémon Inspired Blockchain Game Explained

Axie Infinity is a community-driven blockchain-based digital pet game that enables players to earn money while playing the game. Think of Axie as a hybrid between Pokemon, Tamagotchi, and CryptoKitties.

It is one of the most popular NFT token-based games, with over 19,000 monthly active on-chain users. One of the most notable characteristics of Axie Infinity and other NFT-based games is that users are able to bridge the in-game economy with real-world currency.

Over 25,000 ETH (over $45M) has been traded in the in-house marketplace, with the most expensive Axie being sold for 300 ETH ($540,000.)

About Axie Infinity:

Axie Infinity is a product of Sky Mavis, a game study based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity team includes:

Trung Nguyen, Founder of Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity. He is a serial entrepreneur behind an E-commerce delivery startup called Loship.

Alexander L. Larsen is the Co-Founder of Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity game and is the current Chief Operating Officer of the venture.  He is the business head behind the venture and handles the day-to-day operation of the company.  He comes with a background in e-sport development and is a gamer, gaming competition organizer, and video journalist.

Viet Anh Ho is the Chief Technology Officer at Sky Mavis.  He was previously a full-stack developer and an intern at both Google and Paypal.

  • Tu Doan, art director and game director of Axie Infinity. He is a competitive Pokemon player and created the entire suite of Axie game characters. He also worked on Loship with Trung.
  • Duy Trinh, Lead Animator Axie Infinity. He’s a graduate of a professional Hollywood Animation Studio and works as a freelancer.
  • Quy Dau, Primary Software Engineer. He won the 2016 React Hackathon. He started his first company at the age of 21.
  • Nam Nguyen, Chief Graphic Artist and Designer. 

Launched in 2018, Axie Infinity has quickly grown alongside the rising popularity of NFTs and blockchain-based gaming. 

The Cast of Axie Characters:

Axie Infinity is a decentralized game ecosystem built on the Ethereum blockchain, featuring a cast of digital characters. Per the game’s narrative, Axies are creatures that “love to battle, build, and hunt for treasure.” 

Dubbed a “digital nation,” Axie Infinity presents a landscape in which users can collect, battle, or breed their characters. 

The Axie secondary marketplace

Users can also build a collection of Axies and use them in a wide variety of games within the Axie Infinity world, called the “Terrarium.” 

Axies gain experience points and level up by completing daily activities or through battle with other Axies. They come with specific traits that help determine battle outcomes; some characteristics make them more competitive than others. 

There are over 500 body parts that can be acquired and traded, and each body part enables Axies to perform specific battle moves or receive an overall combat advantage. 

There are four stats that determine a battle outcome: Health (HP), Skill, Speed, and Morale.

  1. Health (HP): How much of a beating your Axie can withstand before it’s knocked down.
  2. Skill: A skill stat determines the amount of damage you do; you can do more damage if you use multiple cards on your opponent during battle.
  3. Speed: Speed is critical because it determines the attack order in a battle. The faster the Axie, the quicker the attack. Speed also comes in handy in defense; faster speeds mean your Axie has a greater chance of avoiding a critical or lethal strike. 
    1. If two battling Axies have the same speed, attack order is determined by the following stat priority: High speed > Low HP > High Skill > High Morale > Low Fighter ID.
  4. Morale: The morale score of Axie decides whether an Axie gets to make a critical strike on an opposing Axie.  It also determines when an Axies is losing whether the losing Axie gets to make a last stand.

The above stats are influenced by an Axies’ class and body parts

Axie Classes:

Axie classes are reminiscent of Pokemon types– each class has certain advantages and disadvantages in combat. Think Rock, Paper, Scissors. There are six common classes in Axies and three secret classes. 

Common Classes: Aquatic, Beast, Bird, Bug, Plant, Reptile.

Secret classes:

  • A “Mech” is a hybrid offspring of a purebred Beast with a purebred Bug Axie.
  • A “Dawn” is a hybrid offspring of a purebred Plant with a purebred Bird.
  • A “Dusk” which is a hybrid offspring of a purebred Reptile with a purebred Aquatic

Axie Advantage and Disadvantage Breakdown: 

Each class has an advantage over two other classes. Similarly, it has a disadvantage against two classes. 

Aquatic class:

  • Advantage: Bugs and Beast Axies. 
  • Disadvantage: Plant and the Reptile Axies.

Beast class: 

  • Advantage: Plant and Reptile Axies
  • Disadvantage: Aquatic and the Bird Axies.

Bird class 

  • Advantage: Bug and Beast Axies
  • Disadvantage: Plant and the Reptile Axies.

Bug class: 

  • Advantage: Plant and Reptile Axies
  • Disadvantage: Aquatic and the Bird Axies.

Plant class: 

  • Advantage: Aquatic and the Bird Axies
  • Disadvantage: Beast and the Bug Axies.

Reptile class: 

  • Advantage: Aquatic and Bird Axies
  • Disadvantage: Beast and Bug Axies.

Axie Body Parts:

Each Axie has six body parts: horns, back, tail, eyes, ears, and mouth. Each body part has the ability to play a role during battle.  Each ability is represented by a card. Only horns, mouths, backs, and tails determine what kinds of cards an Axie can use in battle.

A body part’s “class” also improves the four stats listed above: Health, Skill, Speed, and Morale. 

Axies have around 500 different body parts options, each of which look different and provide relatively unique advantages. 

The Battle is the Game Plan:

There are two ways an Axie can battle: PvE (E stands for environment) in an adventure or in 3v3 (3-on-3) battle against other Axies in an arena.

The goal for each sort of battle is to learn experience (EXP.) 

PvE adventures: For example, one PvE battle takes place in the Lunacia Ruins in the Axie Terrarium. During the PvE, an Axie will face 36 levels of monsters. Successfully navigating each level gives the Axie some experience, allowing it to perform better in the next. The Axie will have to defeat three waves of monsters (on average) in each level to advance to the next stage.

Axies can earn anywhere between 50 EXP points to over 1200 EXP points per level. The EXP varies per level and doesn’t necessarily increase or decrease: for example, Level 30 pays 1209 in EXP points, and Level 36 pays 820 points to clear.

Here is a breakdown of how many EXP points are gained for winning each level:

3v3 (3-on-3) Battles: two teams of 3 Axies each face each other in a 3×3 battlefield. 

The battle strategy generally determines the victor. An excellent plan considers the specific suitable Axies in each team, placement on the battlefield, what moves are utilized, and the order of those moves. 

The Axie with the fastest speed gets to attack first, followed by the opposing side. Each team then takes turns until all three members of one team are defeated.

The victorious party’s members each earn 60 EXPs and the defeated get 20 EXPs each. If all three opposing Axies have been defeated, their rewarded EXPs go to the winning team.

Axie Infinity & the Blockchain: How Does Axie Infinity Work?

Axie Infinity leverages the blockchain to reward and incentivize players for engagement, as well as to provide access to a secondary market in which users can sell their Axies and other in-game objects. Axis and their body parts NFTs, specifically ERC9721 tokens. The Small Love Potion (SLP) is an item used to feed Axies is an ERC-20 token. 

A token introduced at the end of 2020, the Axie Infinity Shard (AXS) is an ERC-20 token that acts as both a governance token, as well as an in-game currency that can be bought, traded, or earned by playing the game. 

Final Thoughts

 One of the most significant driving forces of Axie Infinity’s growth is its community, as dozens of reviews attest.

The community is mostly on Discord, which serves as a chat interface uniting the thousands of monthly users. As one of the most popular blockchain-based games to date, Axie Infinity has earned a first-mover advantage and dozens of long-time users.  If you’re interested in playing Axie Infinity or researching it further, check it out at https://axieinfinity.com/.