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Surfing Web3.0 Digital Content with Numbers Protocol NFT Search Engine

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Surfing Web3.0 Digital Content with Numbers Protocol NFT Search Engine

The ease of the internet as well as the emergence of technologies such as camera phones and apps, plus our human propensity to want to share our creations via social media has created the inevitability that Kevin Kelly states in his April 2016 tweet.

While surfing the internet, we copy text, images, music and code without second thought. In 2017, notable Canadian photographer Cath Simard took and shared a photo of a scenic road on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Within minutes of it being shared, copies of the photo were proliferated through websites such as Reddit and across other social media platforms.

Our actions, whether we know it or not, creates over-saturation of digital content and generates countless violations. Over-saturation of digital content over the web has effectively made them untraceable and valueless entities. In Simard’s case, her famed photo was reduced to simply being a “Hawaii road” stock photo.

Backed by ownership via blockchain technology and the perception that non-fungible means unique, NFTs appeared to the public as a way for digital content to reclaim its value. As it turns out, this sentiment is overly simplistic and untrue. Many NFT platforms, such as OpenSea, have an open minting policy meaning anyone can download an image, mint it as a NFT and sell it as their own. This means that notable NFT artist pplpleasr can sell her Uniswap NFT for $500k only to have another copy it and mint it as their own. Because policies around minting are the same permissionless policies of ordinary digital content, the same excessive copying exists.

The value of NFTs comes from their apparent “scarcity”, “uniqueness” and “legitimacy”, however if the issues from “anyone can mint NFT” persists, NFTs will inevitably become the next valueless asset.

Numbers Protocol is a decentralized photo network for Web3.0 (internet’s next frontier) that aims to address the 4 pillars of the digital asset dilemma: ownership, provenance, ecosystem and copyright. Digital assets created in the Numbers Protocol network can be traced, verified and claimed.

We have developed a NFT Search Engine to ensure transparency and search-ability of digital content in a growing NFT space. Let us take a look at how it works!


First let us navigate to the NFT Search Engine.

NFT Search Engine allows users to upload an image or input a Content ID (CID) to search.

If the NFT exists, NFT Search Engine will output a preview of the asset on the left and on the right the details of the NFT. Details include: Token ID, Contract ID, Creator ID, Current Owner ID and Marketplace links. The information is available because of the transparency of the blockchain.

Interesting to note, with NFT Search Engine you can see just how “unique” a NFT is with how many tokens are in circulation. In the below NFT search you see that the creator minted multiple tokens for this particular creation.

In the next search, a single NFT has multiple creator addresses. Situations like this bring up red flags because it means that two different creators minted the same image. This usually means that some sort of infringement has happened. In these scenarios, NFT Search Engine has easily identified a potential violation.

Technology Breakdown

Core Technologies

The following are core technologies that make up Numbers Protocol NFT Search Engine and the role they play:

  1. IPFS — Interplanetary File System, is the then decentralized storage solution where most NFT are stored. Because ownership is an important factor in NFT, it is extremely important that these digital files are accessible.
  2. Content Identifier (CID) — Files stored in decentralized storage are content based, meaning the identity of the files are based on the file content itself. CIDs are based on content’s cryptographic hash. This means that any difference in file content will produce a different CID. Additionally if the same content is added, it will produce the same CID.

NFT Search Engine Flow

The following flow diagram illustrates the process NFT Search Engines through:

Since all NFT as stored on IPFS they have a unique identifier (CID). This CID is the starting point for all NFT searches. Either through direct input or acquiring directly from an asset upload, NFT Search Engine will parse through its collection of NFT records and output the search results including who minted, who the current owner is, token information and which marketplace the NFT is listed.

Currently NFT Search Engine coverage includes OpenSea, Foundation, Rarible, and CaptureClub with hopes of achieving full coverage in the future. If interested in having your marketplace covered with NFT Search Engine can fill out the following form.

Numbers Protocol: Decentralized Photo Network

The ethos of technology and innovation is the desire to solve real world problems. As technology continues to develop and we trend more and more towards decentralized solutions and Web3.0 space, it is important that our tools need to follow suit.

Digital content will likely be a big part of the Web3.0 space. With NFTs as prominent as it is, Numbers identified the need for an easy to use tool for searching up digital content. NFT Search Engine brings transparency to the NFT space and provides a means of tracing and verifying digital assets.

August 2021 Numbers Hackathon

Numbers NFT Search Engine was created in August 2021 by devs in Taiwanese Developer Community at Numbers FIRST Hackathon. Developers spent 3 days leveraging Numbers tools and services to help build upon the Numbers native network. See here for their virtual presentation.

If interested in making contributions to the Numbers network, consider checking out our GitHub or checking out publicly available API. Here at Numbers, we understand that protocols, tools and service are only effective if used. As a result, we firm believers in Open Source projects and are appreciative of the innovative contributions of the developer community.

Additional Resources:

- Legitimizing NFT — Finding Context of Creator
- Establishing Copyright on Creation with Capture App
- How to Claim Assets with Numbers Protocol

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