Confidential NFTs on the Oasis Network represent a more functional way to use NFTs. Rather than just high-res artwork on the blockchain, confidential NFTs are data-backed and open up a massive world of opportunities in Web3.
The NFT boom through 2021 saw massive hype around NFTs and the verifiable ownership they brought. However, as we continue to progress towards a Web3 world, there is a demand for more functionality from these blockchain assets.
On Oasis, Confidential NFTs offer a new realm of possibilities thanks to our privacy-protecting technology, Parcel. These NFTs are data-backed, entirely private, and operate on a full permissioning and compute layer, meaning data can be put to work in numerous ways.
Current NFT Limitation
NFTs became a new medium for artists and creators to showcase and monetize their creations while providing complete transparency and authenticity of ownership for buyers of these creations.
For the NFT investors, the hype came at a time when interest in Bitcoin and Ethereum were peaking, and other blockchain investment opportunities were being explored. But, the hype around NFTs also possibly stunted its potential.
NFTs, at face value, became a way to prove ownership of a high-res image, and significant attention turned to the market of buying and selling these assets allowing the technology to sit in limbo somewhat. The current iteration of NFTs does not offer much technical utility or unique properties other than the hash function.
However, NFTs can offer far more functionality and possibility, especially in a world heading for Web 3.
Getting more out of NFTs in Web3
When you look outside the hi-res image NFT box, several other use cases are on the horizon. NFTs can function like membership cards or tickets (especially in the metaverse); they could even be used in establishing identities and reputations online.
Of course, NFT membership cards are great for community building but don’t stretch the functionality much further than what we see today. However, when you start to make NFTs data-backed, for online identity etc., actual use cases and a need for privacy-protecting technology emerge.
For Oasis, making NFTs data-backed opens up a massive world of opportunities in Web3, but it also requires added protection for that data. This is why we have created Confidential NFTs.
What are Confidential NFTs?
Confidential NFTs operate just like regular NFTs, but also confer access to entirely private data.
It is termed entirely private because, unlike traditional NFT unlockables on Pinata, Rarible, and other marketplaces, not even those in control of the network can access the data from confidential NFTs.
Confidential NFTs also allow creators to mint NFTs that hold data accessible only under certain conditions. Having data-backed NFTs means buyers and holders of these assets are granted something beyond just a receipt — they receive the data, as well as the functionality and possibility that the data can bring.
Only the owner of the NFT can access the additional data tied to the traditional NFT front. However, it is more complex than simply hiding data away. As confidential NFTs run on Oasis’ privacy-preserving technology called Parcel, there is also a full permissioning and compute layer which can put the data to work.
How Confidential NFTs work on Parcel
Oasis privacy-preserving technology Parcel is also integrated with the Metamirror NFT marketplace, where our flagship confidential NFT collection bishops Army of Minions is launched. In this NFT collection, owners of the NFTs also have access to the underlying mathematical function that created their Minions, stored as private data.
This exciting concept of connecting private NFT-based identity with ownership rights offers tantalizing possibilities for the future, especially effective ownership asset trading both transparently and without compromising privacy and security.
Parcel not only offers access rights to the data backed up onto the NFT, but also gives creators a truly secure way to:
- Store their digital assets
- Govern how those assets are used and viewed
- Enable computation on the assets, e.g., to verify ownership
- Maintain a record of how each of their assets has been used
You can think of the NFT as a key that unlocks some private data, while Parcel is the underlying technology that allows you to do much more with that data.
Parcel has a full permissioning and compute layer allowing you to set access policies for who is holding the data-backed confidential NFT. For example, you can set time-based policies to allow access only for a specific time to those holding the NFT.
You can allow access to specific compute jobs, which means — for example — you might not be able to download the NFT. Still, if you have a private seed that is an NFT, then you could use that to generate additional artwork NFTs by running a private machine learning model.
Programmable privacy gives NFT creators more choices and flexibility when creating their tokens. This is best exemplified by bishop’s Army of Minions.
In this collection, a vast sequence of trigonometric and algebraic manipulations, stored on the NFT, is used to create the outward-facing NFT image. This hidden mathematical equation is only available to the owner, highlighting a novel use case of confidential NFTs through the use of Parcel.
Why Army of Minions is an important example
Army of Minions represents how, through Parcel, data-backed on an NFT can bolster the use of these assets, empower the creators with secure and private data ownership, and propel the NFT space into Web3 with increased functionality and usability.
The ‘DNA’ of the Minions is a vast mathematical equation of trigonometric and algebraic manipulations that form distinct and unique face-like images. But, this mathematical equation is only available to the owner of the NFT and remains secure and entirely private depending on what the owner decides to do with it.
Confidential NFTs in Action
Recently, at a Consensus 2022 workshop, we gave a demonstration on confidential NFTs, using ‘Army of Minions’ as an example.
In the demo, we looked at a simple application of data tokenization: adding an unlockable to an NFT available only to the holders.
The unlockable data is stored confidentially in the Oasis Parcel ParaTime and can be used by anyone who holds a linked token on the Emerald EVM-compatible ParaTime.
In this simple case, the grant allows full access to the data. We prove to Parcel that we own the NFT by locking it into the Parcel bridge adapter on Emerald. The cross-ParaTime bridge then sees the event and instructs Parcel to hand over the Parcel-side token. The bridge then picks up the event and allows the user to download the data.
To better understand how this works, hear more from Linda Lu, Head of Ecosystem at Oasis, and see a demonstration of what is explained above, in the videos below..
Additionally, Nikhil Sharma, Engineering Manager at Oasis Labs, gives a walk-through on Confidential NFTs, on MetaMirror in the video below
In the demonstrations, you will see an NFT start on Emerald and then be bridged to Parcel so that it could download some private data. From there, the token is unbridged and traded to someone else.
While this may look like unlockables on other marketplaces, Parcel is unique, as not even Oasis can see the data since the keys are held within secure enclaves protected by your token’s grant.
Create a Confidential NFT on Oasis Today!
Thanks to our $235 million Ecosystem Fund, we have several projects building to make confidential NFTs more accessible to creators.