Getting around the NFT marketplace size limit.
As I have been minting more NFT’s and getting a more in depth understanding about how they are stored and displayed, I have found a way to get around the upload limit imposed by some marketplaces. Of course, it comes at a cost depending on how big your NFT’s are. If you’re a creator with large file sizes, this might help you out.
Disclaimer — I am not a developer, and with current blockchain tech changing daily, what I put here could, and most definitely will change in the future. It is October 2021 and everything I write here is what I know at the time. As always, do your own research by reading documentation from actual web sites providing you the service.
Now that Coinbase and FTX.us have both officially announced their jump into the ever expanding NFT market, you might be considering throwing your own art up somewhere to see what happens, or even just to see how it works. Deciding on which blockchain/cryptocurrency ecosystem to get into can be daunting. Some of my other articles document my journey through this space. But what I want to focus on this time is the size limits most marketplace impose on creators, and how you might be able to get around them.
No matter what marketplace you choose to use, there will be a documented, or undocumented, size limit on the files you can upload to sell. Opensea is currently 40 Mb and the largest I’ve seen. When you upload that file, it is most likely stored on IPFS. If you’re not sure, you can always create a test NFT and look at the transaction data after it has been minted. Somewhere in the smart contract, or transaction data will be a string that starts with ipfs:. This is the permanent link to your file.
If you go to the IPFS web site at ipfs.io you can read more about how it functions. In THIS blog post by IPFS, they point users to another web site, NFT.storage where creators can store NFT data for free. Straight from the NFT.storage FAQ “NFT.storage can store NFTs up to 32GB in size!” That statement left me wondering for a second, why am I limited to a certain file size if it’s free to store the data and each file can be up to 32 Gb in size? I *THINK* it’s because of web site usability. The marketplace operators want files uploaded quickly, keeping users happy. The larger the file, the longer the upload, and you risk the creator just canceling out if they can’t see an accurate upload time. Even in 2021, it’s rare I see an accurate time to transfer a file from one place to another. With that being said, you can manage and upload your files directly to IPFS using IPFS software while running your own personal node, or using what’s called a pinning service.
Once you upload your file to IPFS (however you decide to do that), it will be assigned a CID (content identifier) which you can use in place of an upload on some marketplaces. If the marketplace you are using allows you to enter the CID manually during creation (AB2.gallery on the Algorand blockchain does), you don’t have to worry about their upload limit because the file has already been uploaded and stored.
As I said before, your mileage may vary and you should do your own research. If your content is under 10 Mb in size, you’ll most likely be able to upload anywhere and everywhere.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article and hopefully you learned something along the way. Have fun playing in the NFT/blockchain space!