Now, more than ever, the crypto industry is seeing an influx of creators interested in minting nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and collecting them across various marketplaces. With this surge of enthusiasm for the industry comes unique opportunities but also increased security risk, scam hunters and technical challenges.

Pastel Network is addressing this issue head-on with advanced duplication detection and secure storage solutions. Sense, a Near-Duplicate NFT Detection Protocol powered by the Pastel Blockchain, quantifies rareness of NFTs and proves authenticity. Cascade, Pastel’s distributed storage protocol, offers permanent storage and redundancy to make sure that creators’ works or collectors’ portfolios will never be lost.

As more creators make the switch to digital mediums, it is critical that the NFT is protected from scams and theft as well as stored properly with no chance of loss. Creators are seeking a safe way to sell their collections, and collectors are seeking a more secure way to buy NFTs from reputable artists.

How does the creator guarantee the value of the NFT? The Pastel Network has developed a unique solution to provide an extra layer of assurance to collectors that guarantees the NFT is not a rip-off or a fake. Using the Pastel NFT fingerprint mechanism, creators can ensure that the authenticity of their original NFT is maintained. While Pastel verifies the authenticity and provenance using the creator’s digital signatures (like all NFT systems in use), it goes much further and assesses how rare the underlying pixel patterns of the NFTs’ data are.

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If the value is largely a function of rareness, then this additional layer of authentication will result in more prudent assessments for NFT creators. After all, if another artist makes a similar NFT in the future, they will still be able to register it, but it won’t achieve anything close to the rareness score of the original NFT.

Protection against fraud, scams, and theft

Copyright is an issue within the NFT space that is not going away. Sense is designed to provide enhanced protection for the creator and the collector by assessing the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicates.

Using deep learning models and innovative statistical techniques, the Pastel Network transforms each NFT into a fixed list of over 10,000 numbers (the ‘NFT fingerprint vector’). It then assesses the correlation between a given fingerprint and the database of all existing fingerprints on Pastel’s platform, other NFT marketplaces (e.g., Rarible, OpenSea), and open databases on the entire internet (e.g., Google) and outputs a relative rareness score between 0% and 100%.

By leveraging computer vision, Sense recognizes the most subtle and minute similarities between two digital collectibles, even if one has been slightly transformed, in a way that emulates human intuition. Traditional digital fingerprints and duplicate checks (such as a perceptual hash) do allow users to verify that an NFT was created by a particular creator, but this is a very weak form of rareness.

This robust layer of validation and protection for an original NFT deters the listing of fake artworks and duplications. SuperNodes, or supercomputers running high-powered software on the network, perform the various calculations and keep a database of all fingerprints. While Sense benefits users of Pastel’s platform, it can also be used by third-party applications or marketplaces like those on Ethereum via a lightweight, easy-to-use API. 

“We have been working in stealth for years developing our native, purpose-built blockchain and refining our Sense Protocol after having identified scams and fraud as critical issues and gating factors in the space,” says co-founder Anthony Georgiades. “We are thrilled to implement this as a core feature in our platform, while inviting other layer one and layer two projects in the space to take advantage of this lightweight protocol and its seamless integrability so that they can offer their users the confidence and security extended by our technology.”

Redefining permanent NFT storage

In the world of NFTs, the digital asset will often be stored in the cloud on a centralized server or as part of the IPFS Directory. This third-party provider may demand increased fees or require ongoing payments to maintain storage. There is also a lack of control over the asset in the long term, given levels of centralization. This leaves the creator highly vulnerable to the loss of data, and we have seen various rug-pulls or technical complications as a result. The Pastel Network is addressing this issue with their fully decentralized, permanent storage solution, Cascade.

Cascade is an entirely decentralized storage protocol based on the advanced technologies of RaptorQ, a fountain-block algorithm, and Kademlia. The NFT data is broken up into random chunks that are redundantly copied and distributed to each SuperNode on the network. Advanced storage challenges ensure that every SuperNode is always storing the right data, and the level of redundancy and decentralization protects against loss during network outages. Users only have to pay once for registering and storing the NFT on the network, forever, so there is no concern over ongoing maintenance.

The technology ensures that the underlying digital asset itself is uploaded, verified, and stored on Pastel - rather than just the token or smart contract with which it is minted. Through a series of smart tickets living on the Pastel Network, creators are able to store their masterpieces in a distributed fashion that is tightly coupled and indelible from the NFT itself.

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