Why NFTs Need a Scalable Storage Solution

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a physical or digital asset recorded on the blockchain.

In 2022, an estimated four percent of Americans (9.3 million people) said they own NFTs– a 100% increase from 2021 shows that NFT ownership is rising.

As ownership continues to increase, so will the demand for scalable storage solutions. Many of the current storage solutions lack scalability, which limits how many NFTs people can own- particularly if they have larger collections.

In this article, we’ll cover four different storage solutions, which are the most scalable, and the benefits and challenges of each. 

Let’s get started. 

Software Wallets- MetaMask

MetaMask was launched in 2016 by Consensys, a blockchain software technology company based in New York City. It’s the most popular decentralized wallet in the world, with around 21 million monthly active users. 

Although the wallet was created for cryptocurrency, MetaMask is also popular for buying and storing NFTs. It lets users store and manage their private and public keys, connect to decentralized exchanges such as UniSwap and PancakeSwap, and buy and sell NFTs. 

MetaMask is relatively friendly for new investors and can be installed through the Google Store. MetaMask also has an in-depth FAQ Page for investors who want to learn more about the wallet, how to trade cryptocurrency, and how to store NFTs. 

MetaMask is consistently connected to a decentralized ledger and, in theory, shouldn’t have any issues regarding scalability on the backend. As long as the blockchain is scalable, operations between the wallet and the blockchain should be scalable too. 

The only area where MetaMask falls short is when it comes to security. MetaMask is constantly online and, as a result, can never be as secure as hardware wallets (which we’ll cover below.) Though MetaMask has never been hacked, its users have been prone to phishing scams, including one that cost a wallet holder $650,000 after believing they were giving their details to an Apple employee.

Other popular hardware wallets for NFTs include Math Wallet, Coinbase Wallet, and Trust Wallet, which Binance owns. However, for decentralized NFT storage, MetaMask remains the best option. 

Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are the most secure option for NFT storage as all digital assets are stored offline- making them impossible to hack. This makes hardware wallets a great option for collectors who want to store their NFTs for the long run. 

The most popular hardware wallets are Ledger and Trezor, which will cost anywhere from $80 to $300+ for the latest models. Once an NFT has been stored in the wallet and the wallet unplugged, nobody can transfer the data to or from the hardware wallet. When you buy a hardware wallet, you’ll also be provided with a secret phrase of 12 words and can set additional passwords if you want even more security. 

However, there are two downsides to hardware wallets. Firstly, if you lose your wallet, you lose your assets. For example, in 2013, James Howells threw away a wallet with 7500 Bitcoins (around $56 million.) He was refused access to the landfill where it was and, as a result, lost his millions. As of September 2022, Howells hasn’t managed to retrieve his wallet.

The other downside to Hardware Wallets is that they’re not scalable. They’re limited to the spec of the wallet you’ve purchased, which could impact NFT storage as NFT files begin to demand more storage space. 

Nonetheless, hardware wallets are the perfect option for collectors planning to make long-term NFT investments. 

InterPlanetary File System

InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a relatively new way to store NFTs. It’s an open-source project founded by Protocol Labs and was originally designed for storing and accessing websites, apps, files, and other data. 

With IPFS, users’ NFTs are stored off-chain through platforms like Pinata, significantly reducing the likelihood of their assets being stolen. It also uses content identifiers (CIDs), which are broken down aspects of your data linked directly to your NFT. Instead of your NFT data being stored through an HTTP link, your data is broken down across several storage solutions; this way, if one fails, a different solution backs up your data. 

IPFS solutions are also highly scalable. Additional nodes can always be added to deal with additional data, which means users will never have any problems with storage. 

The only downside is the technology is still somewhat in its early phase and technically wasn’t created for NFTs. This means that although it has a lot of potential, it hasn’t been in the market long enough to be tested.

BitKeep

BitKeep is Asia’s most popular NFT storage method, with over 6 million users, 70 mainnets, and 220,000 supported crypto assets. Much like MetaMask, you can download the BitKeep wallet through the Google Store and use it to store NFTs. 

However, unlike MetaMask, BitKeep has its own NFT store. The store has launched projects such as Kaju Legends and OutSad, and lets users buy other collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC.) 

BitKeep also has a comprehensive education center, where new collectors can learn how to trade NFTs, sell them, and use the BitKeep wallet. BitKeep is connected to a decentralized ledger and shouldn’t have any problems with scalability. It’s only limited by the scalability of the blockchain. 

Final Thoughts: Are Scalable Storage Solutions a Must Have?

As the NFT market grows in popularity, scalable storage solutions will become important for larger collections. However, for the average NFT investor, hardware wallets should be more than enough for a small NFT collection. 

These wallets are a great way for collectors to store their NFTs if they have no plans to sell them. Both software wallets and IPFS are also great ways for collectors to get involved in the industry and offer scalable storage options for larger collections. 

The best option for you will depend entirely on your preferences. 

On-Chain Vs. Off-Chain NFTs Explained

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital or physical assets recorded on the blockchain. They can be sent from one individual to another, used in video games, or held in cryptocurrency wallets as an asset. 

On-chain NFTs refer to tokens written solely on the blockchain, with all metadata and smart contracts being stored on-chain. On the other hand, off-chain NFTs store their smart contracts on the blockchain, though their media is stored off-chain. 

Both methods have their pros and cons, though on-chain NFTs are the trending option in the industry. 

This guide will explain both on-chain and off-chain NFTs, their pros and cons, and how you can distinguish between them online. 

What Are On-Chain NFTs?

On-chain NFTs are both written and stored on the blockchain. Their information is written on the mainnet (the primary public Ethereum production blockchain), then stored on the blockchain. It includes data such as the hashtag of the generated NFT, metadata, and smart contracts. 

Smart contracts are self-executing programs that react when certain criteria have been met- for example, a certain payment has been made. They’re native to the Ethereum blockchain and can be used to generate on-chain NFTs. 

Metadata refers to the core information of a particular NFT. This includes its unique traits, the NFT description, and where it’s stored. All metadata is stored on-chain with the NFT. 

What Are Off-Chain NFTs?

Off-chain NFTs host their smart contracts on the blockchain, but their media is off-chain. Instead, the data is stored on cloud servers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or IPFS (interplanetary file system) nodes. 

IPFS is a web data protocol designed to solve the problems of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP), both of which are the foundation of the internet. When searching for an HTTP or FTP system, we search for its location. We then connect to this to access the file for viewing or downloading. 

However, if the server goes down or the cloud is no longer operating, the link will break, and access to the file will be removed. IPFS is looking for ways to fix this by hosting such files across several nodes, meaning it no longer relies on a single server. 

Some off-chain NFT projects run their own IPFS nodes, whereas others use commercial IPFS nodes such as NFT Storage or Pinata. Storing NFTs off-chain can reduce gas fees during transactions; however, only the smart contract data is used whenever a transaction occurs, and not the data for the NFT media as its off-chain. 

This creates several problems, which we’ll go into below. 

One of these problems, however, is somewhat resolved by IPFS. With any centralized server or storage, the owner can shut down the storage anytime, meaning investors lose their NFTs. IPFS overcomes this by distributing the NFT data across several servers. If one storage location fails, it will be backed up to another. 

Pros & Cons of On-Chain NFTs

Pros

Reliable Storage

With on-chain NFTs, your metadata, smart contract, and NFT are all stored on the blockchain. This means you don’t need to rely on third-party or external systems for your NFT to exist. As long as the blockchain is functioning as it should, your NFT collection will always be available. 

Greater Liquidity 

NFTs on the blockchain are also technically more valuable. All on-chain tokens meet Ethereum network requirements and therefore have greater liquidity. They can be transferred easily, which makes investing in them a better option for traders looking to profit from NFT collections. 

Cons

Complex For New Investors

Even though being on the blockchain is a benefit, it can also be a little complex for investors without experience in the blockchain market. Complex terminology may turn away many new investors, significantly slowing widespread adoption. 

Pros & Cons of Off-Chain NFTs

Pros

No Need For Blockchain Experience 

Investors who want to buy off-chain NFTs don’t need much blockchain experience. They can bid for NFTs with fiat currency, avoiding gas fees and complex crypto bidding systems. On off-chain platforms, investors don’t need a crypto wallet for their NFTs. For example, Top Shot investors leave their Moments in a custodial wallet managed by Top Shot. 

No Gas Fees

Every NFT investor knows the pain of gas fees. They fluctuate dramatically daily, with some transactions costing over $100 in fees alone. Off-chain NFT transactions remove these fees, making it cheaper to buy and own NFTs. 

Cons

Security 

As off-chain NFTs store their data offline, smart contracts are only used to link individuals to the storage location of their NFTs. If there’s ever a problem with the off-chain network, the link itself will be useless, and the NFT will no longer be available. 

IPFS Flaws

IPFS helps to overcome some security problems with off-chain NFTs; however, the NFT creator still has the power to delete the NFT file. By doing this, they break the link between the file and the blockchain. This means the NFT still exists on the blockchain; however, owners won’t have access to it. It’s similar to owning a jar of air. You own it, but it technically doesn’t exist. 

How do I see if an NFT is Off-Chain?

To check if an NFT is on-chain or off-chain, you’ll need access to MetaMask, OpenSea, and Etherscan. 

For MetaMask, open your wallet and click on “NFTs”. If you don’t see this option, check out how to toggle NFT visibility on MetaMask. Select the NFT you want to review and click the link opposite “Asset Contract.” You’ll automatically be taken to Etherscan.

For OpenSea, open the webpage for the NFT you want to review and click on the “Details” section. This will take you to Etherscan.

Once you’ve opened Etherscan, head to the “Contract” tab below the “Contract Overview” box. 

Click “Read Contract” from here and scroll to “tokenURI.” This will create a dropdown box where you can enter the token ID. This can be found in the name of your NFT. 

If a link appears, the artwork is stored off-chain. 

Final Thoughts: Which NFT Option Is Better?

Both on-chain and off-chain NFTs have several pros and cons, and the better option will depend on your personal preferences. 

While on-chain NFTs are the easier option for storage and trading, understanding blockchain technology is required to get started. 

On the other hand, off-chain NFTs are easier for new investors, though they lack the security of their on-chain alternatives. 

If on-chain NFTs can appeal to new investors and reduce the fees associated with trading, they may become the more popular option in the future. However, personal preference and research should always guide your investment decisions. 

The Story of Cryptopunk #9998: Did It Really Sell for $532 Million?

CryptoPunk #9998 is part of the CryptoPunks NFT collection with wild white hair, green clown eyes, and black lipstick. Its features make it one of the rarest Cryptopunks available. 

The collection was originally launched in June 2017 by Larva Labs, and was free to collect for anyone interested with an ETH wallet. There are 10,000 Punks in total, each with its distinct characteristics, with no two being the same. 

Though initially free, the collection became one of the most popular in the NFT space, with an all-time trading volume of 515,220.24 ETH and half of the top 10 NFTs sold as Punks.  

CryptoPunk #9998 is one of many Punks to make headlines, though its story isn’t all it appeared to be. Initial headlines stated that the NFT sold for half a billion dollars, though the money from the trade ended up where it started. 

Here’s the story of CryptoPunk #9998. 

What Happened To CryptoPunk #9998?

We need to go back to the initial transaction to understand the story. CryptoPunk #9998 was initially transferred from a cryptocurrency wallet starting with 0xef76 to a wallet starting with 0x8e39. 

The transfer was made for 124,457 ETH, equal to around half a billion USD at the time, making it the most expensive artwork in all historical records. Before this, the most expensive CryptoPunk was CryptoPunk #7523, which sold for $11.8 million.

The transaction quickly made headlines; however, the Punk was soon sent from 0x8e39 to a wallet address starting with 0x9b5a- which headlines didn’t pick up on. 

When looking at the transactions, it was clear that the transaction was an example of wash trading- when an investor simultaneously sells and buys the same financial instruments to create misleading activity in the marketplace. The initial transaction was made with a loan sent to a smart contract and transferred to the seller. The seller then sent 124,457 ETH to the buyer, who repaid the loans. After the transaction, an NFT collector made an offer of 250,000 ETH for the NFT.

Despite the transaction being legit, they were made to create hype around the NFT market and further drive the price of CryptoPunks. CryptoPunk #9998 was technically never sold; a mix of transactions were just made between addresses. Larva Labs later made a statement about the transaction, stating that notifications would be removed for them in the future. 

As of September 2022, nobody can bid on the asset, which means CryptoPunk #9998 technically isn’t the most expensive NFT ever sold, nor the most expensive Punk, which is  CryptoPunk #5822, selling for $23.7 million.

How Is Wash Trading Used In The NFT Market?

Wash trading is when a trader buys and sells an NFT to create hype and false information about a particular project or market. Though this type of trading occurs in traditional markets, the NFT market is particularly prone to such techniques, with projects such as Shiba Inu being created on hype alone. 

Wash trading frequently creates fear of missing out (FOMO), which pressures new and inexperienced NFT collectors to buy from projects that are either a scam or have little to no potential to bring a return on their investment. In the NFT market, the definition includes the purchase of an NFT for external reasons (such as an influencer buying to hype up a project, only to sell when the value increases.) 

Although there are no exact figures, wash trading has hugely impacted the industry, creating a sense of skepticism for new investors prone to scams. However, this is also having a somewhat beneficial impact. 

With so many scams and fake information in the market, NFT projects are forced to be transparent with the owners. To maintain a good reputation, they need to clearly state their real transactions, provide utility for investors, and have a long-term roadmap to show investors what they’re getting for their money. If they fail to do so, their projects will fail in a more educated NFT market.

A report by blockchain analyst firm, Nansen, found that a similar practice is occurring with the release of new cryptocurrencies. The founders of many new projects hold a large percentage of their tokens while hyping the project. Once the project increases in value, they sell their stake and take their profits. This process is also known as a rug pull. As of September 2022, an estimated $25 billion has been lost to cryptocurrency, and NFT rug pulls and scams.

CryptoPunks Continue To Break Records

Despite the somewhat confusing sale of CryptoPunk #9998, CryptoPunks continue to break NFT records. The collection has a market cap of around $2 billion, with a floor price of 61.95 ETH ($108,487.46), making it the most valuable worldwide. 

As of September 2022, the most expensive CryptoPunk is CryptoPunk #5822, which sold for $23.7 million in February 2022 to Deepak Thapiyal. It’s one of nine alien Punks. 

Despite the market for NFTs slowing throughout 2022, CryptoPunks has remained the most popular collection, with owners having a somewhat celebrity status amongst NFT holders. 

Final Thoughts: Can Wash Trading Impact CryptoPunks?

The story of Cryptopunk #9998 was a clear example of how the NFT market can be manipulated by headlines and hype. Despite being frowned upon by Larva Labs, similar stories have been used by other NFT collections to falsely promote projects with little to no utility. 

Although this will impact the crypto market as a whole, newer projects will suffer as a result. Projects such as CryptoPunks already have the reputation to thrive and are less likely to be influenced by the skepticism caused by wash trading. 

Nonetheless, stories such as Cryptopunk #9998 are a great way to spread awareness of wash trading, using their leverage to educate new cryptocurrency and NFT investors and reduce the risk and impact of scams. 

The Most Expensive NFT Art Ever Sold

An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a physical or digital asset that exists on a blockchain and cannot be replicated; and these digital assets have been selling for eye-widening amounts lately.

NFTs made headlines throughout 2021, despite the first NFT being created in 2014. During this period, artists like Beeple, Pak, and Tyler Hobbs regularly sold their NFT art for over six figures per NFT. 

In 2021 NFTs were used to form inclusive clubs, the most popular being Bored Ape Yacht Club, with a floor price of 77.69 ETH (around $120,770 as of August 2022). They’ve also expanded into gaming, music, and, most importantly, modern art.

NFTs are now found in art galleries worldwide, including the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Superchief gallery in New York, and Atlanta’s ABV gallery. As they become more popular, innovative new art pieces continue to sell for millions of dollars. 

This article will cover the top 10 most expensive NFT art pieces ever sold. 

Right-click and Save As Guy — $7.08 million

Right-click and Save As Guy was purchased by Snoop Dogg, who is known as an early adopter of NFTs, owning a Bored Ape and NFTs from several other collections. This NFT was created as a satire of people who don’t understand how NFTs work and the worth of crypto art. 

https://superrare.com/artwork/right-click-and-save-as-guy-1154

The NFT description is “Why would I buy it when I can right click and save as?” which is a common objection to NFTs. The NFT now serves as a reminder of how valuable NFTs can be and how blockchain technology focuses on the receipt of art, not the art itself, when it comes to ownership. 

CryptoPunk #3100 – $7.6 million

CryptoPunk #3100 is one of 10,000 unique CryptoPunks released for free in 2017. The collection is extremely popular amongst NFT art collectors, with many selling for over $1 million. CryptoPunk #3100 sold for $7.6 million due to two unique traits. Firstly, it’s one of nine alien avatars ever released, and secondly, it had a headband, with only 450 other punks having headbands, making it a unique combination. 

CryptoPunk #5577 – $7.7 million

CryptoPunk #5577 was one of the biggest sellers in early 2022, selling for a whopping $7.7 million when the market slowed down. It was purchased by Robert Leshner, who tweeted “Yeehaw” to announce his Cryptopunk purchase, which features a cowboy hat. 

TPunk #3442 – $10.5 million

TPunks is a spin-off from traditional Cryptopunks. Also known as Tron’s version of CryptoPunks, TPunk #3442 resembled the Joker and was bought by the Tron co-founder, Justin Sun, for $10.5 million. Despite paying a huge sum for the NFT, Sun donated it to the APENFT marketplace. 

Alien Cryptopunk #7523 – $11.75 million

Alien CryptoPunk #7523 is also known as the “Covid Alien,” featuring a mask similar to those worn throughout the 2020 pandemic.

It’s the second most expensive Cryptopunk to ever be sold and features three unique features alongside its alien skin:

  • Earring (2459 punks have this).
  • Knitted cap (419 punks have this).
  • Medical Mask (175 punks have this).

It was purchased by Shalom Meckenzie, who owns the largest share of DraftKings.

CryptoPunk #5822 – $23.7 million

CryptoPunk #5822 is the most expensive CryptoPunk ever sold and is the rarest of the collection. It was sold to Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain, for $23.7 million. As well as being an alien, it’s one of 333 Cryptopunks with a bandana. 

HUMAN ONE – $28.9 million

HUMAN ONE was created by Beeple and sold at Christie’s auction for $28.9 million. It was a follow-up of a previous project named The First 5000 Days, which we’ll cover later in this list. The NFT is a physical and digital technology hybrid, featuring an astronaut walking through different landscapes. It’s unique because Beeple coded a smart contract into the NFT, allowing them to change the art displayed. This means unlike other NFTs, which are static, HUMAN ONE will be continuously changing. 

Clock – $52.7 million

Unlike other NFTs on this list, Clock was designed for a social cause. It was created by the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Pak; it works as a digital counter for the days Assange has been in London’s Belmarsh Prison for espionage charges. 

The NFT was created as a fundraiser for Assange’s defense and sold for $52.7 million in February 2022 to AssangeDAO, a decentralized organization (DAO) made up of over 10,000 Assange supporters. Clock is part of a collection of 29,000 NFTs, all working as tokenized messages. 

The First 5000 Days – $69.3 million

The First 5000 Days is another masterpiece created by Beeple, showcasing a collage of 5000 pictures of each day over thirteen years. The NFT was sold at Christie’s first digital art auction in March 2021, selling to Singapore-based investor Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as MetaKovan, who founded the Metapurse NFT project.

As of September 2022, The First 5000 days is the fourth most expensive work from a living artist ever sold at auction.

The Merge – $91.8 million

The Merge is a collection of NFTs created by Pak, purchased by 28,983 people who purchased 321,00 shares, each of which was an NFT. The auction price for each piece started at $575 though it increased by $25 every six hours. This sale made Pak the highest-selling living artist in history, breaking a record set by Jeff Koon in 1986. 

Final Thoughts: Will NFT Prices Continue To Rise?

As NFT art continues to evolve, new artists will continue bringing unique art to the blockchain. However, many of these sales occurred during the first NFT bull run and could therefore be seen as inflated. 

According to NonFungible, NFT sales fell 47% during the first quarter of 2022 compared to the final quarter of 2021, with NFT sales falling an additional 75% from May to June, according to data from OpenSea. 

In August 2022, NFT sales were less than $700 million for the first time since June 2021 ($327 million), with many high-value projects losing their value. This suggests that we might wait a while for another NFT to break into this top 10 list. 

Nonetheless, these top 10 NFT art pieces show the potential of NFT art and how it could revolutionize the way we collect art in the future.  

How to Mint an NFT Direct from Contract

Minting is the process in which a transaction is validated on the blockchain to create a new asset, with that asset being an NFT. 

Some projects let users mint directly through their website, whereas others let you mint NFTs through Etherscan.

Etherscan is a blockchain explorer for the Ethereum blockchain that’s used to review transactions and lets you mint an NFT directly from the contract. 

In this guide, we’ll cover the seven steps needed to mint NFTs directly from the contract and the FAQ’s around minting. 

Let’s get started. 

Locate The Contract Address

Start by locating the contract address for the project. This will usually be on the official project page or social media platforms. Telegram, Twitter, and Discord are great places to look if you can’t find them on the website. 

You can also find the address on OpenSea if the project is already minted. On Opensea, head to the collection and click on the “Details” tab. Here you’ll find a “contract address” option. 

Open Etherscan

Once you’ve found the address head over to https://etherscan.io/. There are other sites where you can mint directly; however, Etherscan is the easiest.  

Copy The Contact Address To Etherscan

Copy the contract address and paste it into the search bar on Etherscan, then click enter. After clicking enter, you’ll be taken to a new page with a “Contract” tab. This tab should have a green check next to it. If it doesn’t, the project has not been verified and may be a risky investment. 

Click on Write Contract

Underneath the Contract tab, you’ll see three options:

  • Code
  • Read Contract
  • Write Contract

Click on the Write Contract option to open a drop-down menu of 14 options. Number five is usually “Mint,” though this can vary from one contract to the next. Click on this to open a second drop-down menu. 

Connect Your wallet

At this point, you’ll need to connect your wallet. Choose the wallet you want to hold your NFT in. You must pick the right network; otherwise, you won’t be able to connect. 

Enter NFT Details

Now you need to type out the amount you’ll pay to mint (the gas fee) and how many NFTs you want. This can be done through the “MintNFTname” with “Payable Amount” boxes. 

Check Your Wallet

Once entered, your newly minted NFT will be sent to your wallet. Congratulations, you just minted an NFT directly from the contract!

What If There Are No NFTs Left?

With more popular NFT collections, it’s extremely common for NFTs to sell out (often in only a few days.) When this happens, you’ll no longer be able to mint new NFTs. Instead, you’ll need to look at NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea and buy from another owner. 

Common Minting FAQs

What Is Minting?

Minting is the process in which a transaction is validated on a blockchain for new assets to be circulated. 

What Is The Difference Between Minting And Buying An NFT?

Minting is the process of creating a new digital asset, whereas buying is the exchange of an asset that is already in circulation. 

Can I Mint My Own NFT?

Yes, you can mint and sell your own NFT collection. You’ll need a media file you want to mint, a crypto wallet to connect to the NFT marketplace, and crypto to cover the gas fees. 

How Much Does It Cost To Mint an NFT?

The total cost will range based on the marketplace and the gas fees at the time of the mint. Some marketplaces let users mint for free; however, others charge a fee for listing. 

What Is A Gas Fee?

Gas fees are a cryptocurrency term for transaction fees. They facilitate smart contracts and are required when minting an NFT. The higher the demand for a network, the higher the gas fee. For example, transactions on Ethereum will range dramatically in price throughout the day, depending on network demand. 

What Is The Best Market To Buy An NFT?

There are many different NFT marketplaces; the most popular option is OpenSea. OpenSea has over 1.26 million active users, 2 million collections, and over 80 million NFTs. It offers cross-blockchain support across Ethereum, Polygon, and Klatyn.

Do I Need Crypto Experience To Buy An NFT?

No. You can mint an NFT if you’re new to cryptocurrency or an expert. However, it’s a good idea to learn about the industry before getting involved to reduce the risk of scams or investing in unprofitable projects. 

Final Thoughts: Is Minting Directly From an NFT Contract Risky?

From 2020 to 2021, NFT scams increased by over 400%, with around $100m stolen from investors. Although this isn’t common, you must be careful when minting directly from an NFT contract. 

Always make sure you’re buying from a verified project, and join various Discord channels to ensure everything checks out.