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Explained: OpenSea Unlockable Content NFTs

Are you looking for more information on how to implement unlockable content?

Perhaps you’ve seen the OpenSea unlockable content feature and you’d like to know more about how it works?

Don’t worry, we got you covered. We were just as curious as you are because we see tons of potential in extending the inherent value of NFT beyond the blockchain.

However, the main challenge that a lot of people face is that they’re not entirely certain whether the OpenSea unlockable content feature is on- or off-chain.

In this article, you’ll learn what unlockable content is, how it works on OpenSea and all the nitty-gritty details that you need to know in order to implement it correctly.

Let’s get to it!

Key Points (tl;dr)
  • NFTs aren’t just like any random token. Non-fungible tokens are ownable digital assets on the blockchain and act as a key to exclusive content and services.
  • The OpenSea Unlockable Content feature allows creators to extend the value of their NFTs beyond simple database entry and its token image.
  • It allows them to continuously reward token holders with exclusive content and access to restricted areas.
  • When you create an NFT on OpenSea, you have the option of adding additional content that can only be revealed by the token holder.
  • This content is limited to plain text but can contain anything from URLs to discount codes.
  • Larger media files can be hosted on any standard cloud storage, however there are also fully decentralized options as well.

For a full explanation of how OpenSea Unlockable Content works, PLEASE READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

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What Makes NFTs Special?

Superficially NFTs are simply entries in a public and tamper-proof database. However, these entries can now also be owned by individuals, thus also becoming tradable on the open market. Since NFTs are “ownable” they can also act as proof or a key, thus making NFTs a unique and powerful form of access control.

Infographic explaining what makes NFTs special.
Infographic explaining what makes NFTs special.

Most people still think that NFTs are just a temporary fad and that “art on the blockchain” actually has very little to do with art.

Well, let’s put the whole art debate aside for a minute and talk about what NFTs actually are.

At face value, NFTs are nothing more than an entry in an immutable, decentralized database (also known as a ledger).

However, the fundamental difference is that this entry, represented as a token, can be “owned” by someone.

What this means is that any NFT can also act as a form of proof, a title, a certificate, or a key.

And it’s up to the imagination of creators and entrepreneurs to think of innovative new ways to use this form of “access control” to provide value to people.

This is exactly where the OpenSea unlockable content comes into play.

What is Unlockable Content for NFTs?

Unlockable content is content that is only accessible to those who hold a particular NFT. Such content can be anything. Higher resolution versions of the NFT’s image, video content, access to secret communities, or even simple discount codes are all potential forms of unlockable content. In some cases, unlockable content is the primary value proposition of an NFT. In other cases, it’s just a by-product (nice to have).

Infographic explaining what OpenSea unlockable content for NFTs is.
Infographic explaining what OpenSea unlockable content for NFTs is.

Imagine you’re an artist that specializes in 3D animation and you’ve decided to launch your own NFT project.

Your objective is to create an entire universe around one of your characters, including a mini-series and maybe one day also a feature film.

So the launch of your NFT collection essentially acts as a funding mechanism and while the individual NFTs may all have their own special artwork, the NFT themselves are not the core value proposition.

Instead, the NFTs are almost like owning a “share” in the future success of the project.

Only those who own one of your NFTs are supposed to be able to watch the episodes.

And this, in essence, is what the OpenSea unlockable content feature is used for.

Here are some basic ideas for OpenSea unlockable content:

  • Idea 1 – A Certificate of Authenticity for the buyer.
  • Idea 2 – Offer buyers a free print of the art to be mailed shipping included.
  • Idea 3 – Share the story of how the art was created.
  • Idea 4 – Add links to higher resolution content.
  • Idea 5 – Provide codes to redeem items at a discount.
  • Idea 6 – Access to a Discord you manage for members.

Anything can be “unlockable content”.

Because while your NFT might live on the blockchain, the unlockable content usually does not.

So let’s have a look at how unlockable content works on OpenSea.

How Does OpenSea Unlockable Content Work?

OpenSea unlockable content can be added while creating or editing an NFT on OpenSea. You are limited to plain-text content, which means that any file will have to be hosted elsewhere. You can then add links to the files in the unlockable content field on OpenSea. Please note that unlockable content is “off-chain” and only stored on OpenSea’s servers. This means that it is linked to OpenSea and cannot be revealed on any other NFT marketplace.

Step-by-Step guide explaining how OpenSea unlockable content works.
Step-by-Step guide explaining how OpenSea unlockable content works.

OpenSea’s implementation of unlockable content is limited but very easy to use.

When you create an NFT via their built-in minting tools, you have the option of adding OpenSea unlockable content to the token.

This content can only be revealed by the current owner of the item unless, of course, the owner decides to share the content with the greater public.

Using the unlockable content feature on OpenSea is 100% free of charge, however, it does come with some limitations.

That means you can’t upload any file (such as images or videos) but you can add links that lead to files in other locations.

In other words, larger files will have to be stored on some form of cloud storage and you will have to organize that yourself.

You can choose whatever storage you like but it is also your responsibility to make sure the content remains accessible long-term.

You should also know that none of the unlockable content, not even the text you entered on OpenSea, is stored “on-chain”.

It is not part of the generic NFT on the blockchain but rather an extended service of OpenSea.

All of that content is stored on OpenSea’s servers and if the company ever were to shut down, you would have organized an alternative for your NFT holders.

Where Should I Host My Unlockable Content?

Unlockable content can be hosted with any generic cloud storage provider or an advanced decentralized storage solution such as IPFS. The right choice largely depends on the needs of your project. However, in the vast majority of cases, traditional cloud storage should suffice.

Infographic explaining where you should host your OpenSea unlockable content.
Infographic explaining where you should host your OpenSea unlockable content.

You can host your unlockable content just about anywhere you like.

In the end, it all depends on how decentralized the storage should be and how strongly you want to restrict access to it.

The simplest solution, of course, is to use something like Google Drive and in most cases, this will be entirely sufficient.

However, if you are planning something a little bit more complex, then we recommend looking at special blockchain storage solutions such as:

Which Other NFT Marketplaces Support Unlockable Content?

  • Rarible
  • Mintable
  • Solsea

Even though unlockable content has the potential to unlock (pun intended) tons of new and exciting business models, there aren’t many NFT marketplaces that support it.

We suspect this is mainly because marketplaces are confronted with two major challenges.

If they choose to offer storage on-site, which would potentially lead to huge costs generated by people who create NFTs but never actually sell them.

And then there’s the fact that OpenSea unlockable content isn’t actually stored on-chain and thus becomes very platform-specific.

Nevertheless, here are some examples of other NFT marketplaces that have implemented unlockable content for NFTs created on their platform:

Conclusion

The future of NFTs depends on creators’ ability to continuously provide value to their community of token holders.

Unlockable content is a challenging, but also an essential enabler for many new forms of business models.

The OpenSea unlockable content feature is a first step in the right direction, however, creators should understand its limitations before they decide to launch their project.

Nevertheless, as long as you’re committed to supporting your project long-term, you can continuously adapt to the changing landscape.

Therefore, the current solutions are a good compromise between value creation and decentralization.

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