Unlockable and token gated content have landed on Litemint! This powerful feature provides a way for creators to supercharge their NFTs and digital experiences with extra content such as hi-res images, rewards, bonus material, private instructions to redeem physical items, tickets and just about anything.
While unlockable content enables a new layer for creativity, there are important shortcomings in regards to data integrity and data access, to such extent that marketplaces like Foundation decided to remove the feature entirely.
So, before digging into the details, I wanted to explain how we answered these shortcomings with key design decisions, allowing creators to create safe, future proof unlockable and token gated content for collectors on Litemint.
Checking Data Integrity
This is a crucial point because if an NFT does not provide cryptographically verifiable integrity for its unlockable content, then it cannot represent ownership for that content. Essentially, failing to implement data integrity checks is problematic for all use cases where the unlockable content is a persistent extension of ownership (e.g., hi-resolution version, full-length MP3 song, original files and so on).
Here is an example of such NFT recently minted where the collector cannot cryptographically verify that the unlockable files are the Original Artwork from the creator: https://rarible.com/token/0x60f80121c31a0d46b5279700f9df786054aa5ee5:1114610
⚠️ Creators and collectors must be aware that the absence of integrity protection for unlockable content can lead to important copyright or legacy related issues down the road.
✔️ SOLUTION: On Litemint, we decided to treat unlockable content with the same care we do for data attached to NFTs. The unlockable content CID (Content Identifier) is generated offline, referenced in the NFT metadata file which in turn is referenced in the unlockable metadata file via code-issuer. The circular reference creates a verifiable and non repudiable association between the unlockable content and the NFT.
Eliminating Weak Links
Unlockable content is typically stored off-chain, a download link is revealed upon authentication. These links must have 2 important properties:
- Must be private.
- Must be disposable (one-time use).
⚠️ Some platform’s early implementations have been using NFT metadata to store these links. As a result, many NFTs were allowing anyone to access the unlockable content. Here is an example of such NFT on Rarible with download link stored in its metadata (anyone can extract this information from any NFT with a call to tokenURI on the contract).
⚠️ While it is not possible to prevent malicious collectors (i.e. owners) from redistributing the content once downloaded (copyright domain), disposable links are important to enforce a consistent authentication flow and avoid unintentional issues with insecure channels e.g., browsers history, emails, or messengers.
✔️ SOLUTION: Litemint implements a secure one-time link service. To get a new link to the content, collectors must always re-authenticate and prove NFT ownership by signing a unique transaction.
💡 TIP: it is also possible to combine your favorite storage platforms with Litemint service—using it as an intermediate layer. We will publish some tutorials and best practices on how to do so in upcoming articles so keep posted.
Using Locked and Token Gated Content
Litemint provides 2 options to supercharge digital experiences—these can even be combined!
You can lock content to any NFT at minting time for the next owners to unlock. As we discussed above, the content is strongly associated to the NFT by establishing a circular reference ensuring that data ownership can be extended to the locked content—the content is a persistent extension to the ownership granted by the NFT.
When creating NFT locked content, an Unlockable Content button is directly available on your item listing page.
If the bonus content represents nonbinding or transient content such as private instructions to redeem physical items, tickets to an event, then token gated content may provide a more flexible option.
Token Gated Content
Litemint also offers a full-fledged token gating system so you can gate content access behind any token on Stellar (yes, any token)! This option is available from your profile page and you can immediately enjoy the feature:
- No login, no password authentication.
- Work with any token and any quantity.
- Can be used for multi-level authentication.
- Can be used for role-based control.
- Can leverage clawbacks and auth flags on Stellar for fine-grained, time-limited access.
💡 TIP: Assets are first-class citizens on Stellar (they do not need a contract to be issued). This confers them a lot of individual flexibility and you can tweak their properties to implement very sophisticated gating systems! We will also discuss this in upcoming series.
Use cases for unlockable content are unlimited and we are only touching the tip of the iceberg with the potential now enabled with these persistent and immutable environments. Whether you want to provide exclusive content to anyone holding a specific amount of a currency, reward your collectors, manage membership access level for DAO communities or supercharge the metaverse, unlockable and token gated content is the ideal tool.
Let’s create and stay future-proof! 🔥
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Thanks for reading.
Prev. Developer and Technical Lead for BGC Partners, Crédit Lyonnais Bank (trading systems) and British Government National Program for IT (smart card technology in healthcare). Indie game developer, co-founder of Israeli-based video game company Massive Games (pie.ai) and winner of the Honorable Mention Prize at the 2014 Linux Foundation & Samsung Tizen App Challenge.