I have a few questions regarding NFTs.

Every source I find online roughly says that an NFT is a blockchain-stored ownership certificate for a certain digital asset. But I don't understand how that works exactly.

I guess my main issue is:

How do you prove such ownership?

As far as I understand—but please correct me if I'm wrong—there are two ways to do this. Either you store the digital asset itself on the blockchain, or you store a link to it (along with a hash of the asset, I guess?). In both cases, what happens if someone copies your asset and changes a byte or two in the original file? Do you still own the modified one? How about if it's a picture and you add a filter? Or if it's a video and you shorten it by 1s? If the answer is "yes, you still own it", how do you prove it?

Since you don't own the copyright, you shouldn't have any rights on derivatives of the original asset.

P.S. If this is not the right place to ask such questions, feel free to point me to a better forum.

2 Answers 2


The blockchain does not differentiate between an nft and another thats slightly even barely modified or even not modified at all version of your NFT based on the content of the NFT.

The reason you own “an ownership certificate” to your nft is because each NFT is stored on its own smart contract on the blockchain (sometimes theyre stored in a public marketplace smart contract but they still have an identification of some sorr) , this way anyone can view your nft via the blockchain and verify that its the real thing using the contracts address of your NFT (or again the identification id stored inside the public marketplace contract) , so lets say if someone copied your NFT and minted a fresh nft , they would store it inside another contract with a different address than the original one which is yours ( or a different id than the original one you have inside a public marketplace contract) So when a user now sees the fake replica of your NFT they can they see the id or the contract address and immediately tell that its a fake version of the original That is the meaning behind the fact that your NFT is the real version , thus in none technical words you have “the ownership certificate seal “ of the NFT on the blockchain

Still that doesn't stop someone from creating the same exact image with no change at all of your NFT , its just the identification mechanism (whether its a smart contract address or an id within a public marketplace contract like opensea, as stated up) differs from the fake ones to the original. Of course any person with good enough knowledge of the way blockchains of various sorts work will be able to tell the difference , thankfully though, marketplaces make this easier for newbies by providing “verified” checks on the real original nfts.

One more thing , storing actual images on the blockchain in ethereum at least is very expensive, so what people actually do is they store the “metadata” (information about the NFT including its image) in a server (this doesn’t necessarily have to be a centralized host , for example ipfs is not centralized and many host the metadata of nfts there) , and inside the smart contract or the “creator certificate” as we discussed before they store the url of the metadata. Wallets and marketplaces then fetch this metadata and read it , and that way they can see rarities traits the image itself etc etc.

Hope this cleared up some dust

  • Hi Aaron, thank you for the time answering. You haven't quite addressed my issues though, maybe I didn't explain myself clearly enough in the question. What bugs me is not if someone tries to make another nft out of the same file, but how one can verify you own a file when presented with the file itself (with a slight modification) and an nft to that file. Dec 20, 2021 at 13:34

I would simply check the contract owner. If the (test) subject address is the same as the contract owner address, it's proven. You can check the ownership of an NFT (or any other smart contract) directly from scan nodes (etherscan.io, polygonscan.com, etc, whichever the NFT is based)

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