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NFTs have revolutionized the idea of art, its access and ownership. They have not just taken art out of the four walls of art galleries but have also made expensive artworks affordable by fractionalizing ownership rights. The NFT trend is fast gaining steam not just for creators and collectors but also for developers and entrepreneurs, and this explains why there are more NFT applications today than ever before. The number of people looking to develop NFT applications such as NFT marketplaces, NFT wallets, or NFT games is also steadily increasing.

Despite such popularity of NFT applications among users, developers and businesses, developing NFT applications remains tricky because of the huge amount of data that NFT apps need to source to be fully functional. From acquiring NFT ownership information to fetching transaction history, a lot of data sourcing needs to be undertaken to make NFT apps valuable for users. Browsing through individual NFT smart contracts to fetch data is not just labor-intensive but also extremely time-consuming. To resolve this problem and make NFT app development a swifter and smoother process, various purpose-built NFT APIs can be used. These APIs help developers fetch NFT data related to tokens, metadata, assets, ownership etc., directly to the product and help explore opportunities that lie untapped within the world of NFTs.

This article offers an insight into NFT APIs and their growing significance in the development space. But before we dive deeper, let us touch upon the fundamentals.

What are NFTs?

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of a variety of tangible and intangible items such as videos, images, fine art, real estate, music and the like. These unique cryptographic tokens cannot be destroyed or replicated because each token carries a unique identification code and metadata, and is verified and secured by a blockchain. An NFT provides the authenticity of a digital collectible’s ownership, origin, uniqueness and permanence.

Although NFTs are different from traditional digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, they resemble each other in certain aspects: both represent digital assets and operate on top of a blockchain network. Besides, non-fungible tokens, just like their fungible counterparts, can be transferred from one wallet to another in a speedy, secure, and cost-effective way. Being hosted on a blockchain also implies that NFT ownerships are transparent and verifiable.

Non-fungible tokens are different from digital currencies in that they bear a unique transaction hash that serves as their proof of identity and ensures that no two NFTs are identical.

NFT, undoubtedly, is among the most exciting trends in the blockchain space. From big brands to top celebrities and influencers, everyone is jumping on the NFT bandwagon. The NFT market has also witnessed explosive growth since the first NFT “Quantum” was minted in 2014. According to a recent industry analysis by Technavio, the global NFT market is predicted to grow by USD 147.24 billion from 2021 to 2026, at a CAGR of 35.27 percent. NFTs have revolutionized how people invest in artwork, music and sports. Many also believe NFTs have opened up a frontier for revenue generation, creating a new world of opportunities for creators, collectors, and businesses. Those who recognize these opportunities have already started capitalizing on them by creating NFTs and various NFT-based solutions like applications for NFT trading, gaming, social media and so on. NFT apps are rapidly gaining momentum and helping blockchain technology enter the mainstream.

There is already an enormous demand for such applications in the market, which means start-ups, scale-ups, enterprises as well as indie developers have all rolled up their sleeves to build the next big thing in the NFT space. They know the right application may just be a game-changer for them from a business standpoint.

Developing a robust application where NFTs can be traded, stored, or displayed is the first step toward building a successful business around NFTs. And to build a robust NFT application, having extensive development expertise is not enough; developers need supportive technologies like APIs that can aid NFT app development by making the entire development process speedy, convenient and cost-effective.

What are APIs?

Before we explore NFT APIs, let us understand what an API is. AN API, which is an acronym for Application Programming Interface, is behind all the interactivity and connectivity between computer systems. To put simply, an API is the messenger which receives your requests, tells a system what to do and then sends you the response. You are likely familiar with the process of searching for flights online. You have a menu of options from which you can select your departure and destination cities, your departure and arrival dates, the preferred cabin class and other variables. Thus, what you essentially do is interact with your chosen airline’s website, access its database, see if seats are available on your chosen dates and what the booking costs might be based on certain variables.

But then what if you are not using the airline’s website and using an online travel service that aggregates information from many different airlines. In that case, the data you need will not flow to you directly. The travel service will first interact with the airline’s API, and request it for information related to seats, meal choices or baggage options from the airline’s system. The API conveys the request to the system and takes the airline’s response and delivers it back to the travel service, which then shows it to you (the user). As you can see, it is APIs that allow us to access travel websites. It’s the same for all interactions and data available over the internet. Most websites and applications use APIs which allow them access to a lot of data scattered across sources. This is what ultimately creates connectivity that makes the world accessible to us through our devices. An NFT API does exactly that: building connectivity between NFT apps and NFT data stored on blockchains.

The need for NFT APIs

Before the advent of NFT APIs as a service, developers spent considerable time and effort sourcing NFT-specific data required for developing NFT-based applications. The work involved parsing individual smart contracts, sorting through unstructured data sets, and then cleansing and stitching the extracted data to gain insights into various aspects of an NFT. It is a mandatory step because data related to an NFT’s current owner, transaction history etc., is key to an NFT application’s functioning. NFT APIs normalize this data and make it searchable, enabling developers to easily perform queries across different NFT smart contracts, saving time, effort and money.

Working with NFTs is difficult because edge cases frequently arise when parsing NFT data on blockchains. NFT APIs eliminate all such obstacles and make it easy to work with non-fungible tokens. Tasks like extracting data from multiple smart contracts and integrating it into an app can be performed without additional effort.

With the right NFT APIs, you can access data associated with all non-fungible tokens registered on a blockchain. Not just that, you can also extract information from as many different blockchains as your APIs support. This helps you speed up your work and create an NFT-integrated application much faster. Besides, you can utilize your time developing your app rather than trying to gather data.

NFT APIs can be used to source the following data directly from the token’s host blockchain, eliminating a lot of unproductive work:

  • NFT Metadata
  • NFT transfer data
  • NFT ownership data
  • NFT price history

Industries that will likely be disrupted by NFT APIs

The following are some of the most important NFT-focused industries, which provide the premise for extensive development work. Developers associated with these industries will benefit the most from using NFT APIs.

  • The gaming industry: In many blockchain-based games such as Axie Infinity, NFTs are used to represent characters and in-game assets, which gamers can own and trade on secondary markets. Building such elaborate games by incorporating NFTs can become a hundredfold easier with NFT APIs.
  • The music industry: NFTs are a foolproof way to register ownership rights for digital music files. Music NFTs play a significant role in eliminating piracy and ensuring that artists receive proper compensation for their creations. Since the development of music-based NFTs is on the rise, NFT APIs will immensely help developers working in this field.
  • The art industry: NFTs came into existence via art, although they quickly took other areas like music, gaming, and real estate into their fold. In the world of fine arts, NFTs are used to certify ownership of digital artwork, which discourages art forgery. NFT art, a multi-million-dollar market and an extremely busy industry, necessitates that development work is made simpler with support technologies such as NFT APIs.

Clearly, NFT APIs can potentially disrupt a wide range of industries. As existing technologies evolve and improve, there is no doubt that NFT APIs will be more innovative in the future, resulting in a sharp rise in the demand for NFT APIs.

NFT is a promising industry with a bright future, and venturing into this area could yield transformative outcomes for creators, collectors and investors alike. If you are already aware of this and planning to launch an NFT project, then learning about NFT APIs and incorporating them into your project might shorten the product’s time to market.

NFT APIs can make building an NFT application a breeze for you by cutting down on labor and time. Using APIs is the simplest way to offer a rich user experience to your audience through your app.

Tasks that NFT APIs can perform

Here are some simple yet powerful functions that NFT APIs can perform:

Searching for NFTs

There are NFT APIs made to function like NFT search engines. For instance, if you are developing an NFT marketplace and want your users to be able to search for any specific NFT using free text, then NFT APIs can make it possible. APIs can enable your app to return all NFTs related to a particular keyphrase entered by your user.

Obtaining NFTs’ metadata

There are dedicated NFT APIs that you can use to obtain NFT metadata from any given blockchain.

Sourcing data related to NFT owner(s)

Using the right NFT API, you can extract any desired information about an NFT’s owner(s), regardless of the standard the concerned NFT follows. A single line of code can deliver vital information about the NFT, including its ownership and transfer history.

Undertaking NFT ownership verification

You can retrieve NFT ownership information and verify it with a few simple API calls. You can easily and quickly verify:

  • The account that owns a specific NFT
  • Its off-chain data, such as images
  • The NFTs stored in any given wallet

NFT explorer development

When building an NFT explorer where anyone can look for any NFT by name across blockchains, using NFT APIs is imperative. APIs ensure all queried data, whether on-chain or off-chain, is readily available for use.

Social media-NFT integration

Some APIs serve as a ready-made solution for smoothly integrating NFTs with social media. Social media companies can offer a great user experience with these easy-to-use APIs.

NFT provenance-based audit

With NFT APIs, you can quickly and easily trace the complete ownership history of a non-fungible token.

Accessing NFT analytics

The ability to extract key analytics related to NFTs is important for any organization dealing with NFTs. With NFT APIs, purpose-built for analytics, you can easily extract key NFT information and gain valuable insights into your chosen blockchain.

Conclusion

According to a report by a Singapore-based news portal, Fintechnews, “NFTs” was 2021’s most popular crypto-related Google search term which outranked other popular terms such as blockchain, Dogecoin and even Ethereum. As per another report by Dune Analytics published in early 2022, NFT lending and borrowing is steadily growing. NFTs are pushing the boundaries of what is possible within the digital landscape and are no longer limited to digital collectibles. NFT owners have now started to use their NFTs as a collateral for loans.

The takeaway from all of this is that NFTs are taking the world by storm and show no signs of stopping. The boom that started a year back has now grown to incredible proportions.

But is NFT merely an over-hyped fad or a powerful technology with a bright future? Well, with NFTs selling in millions and stoking the interest of creators, collectors and businesses alike, they clearly show promise as a technology as well as a source of revenue generation. No wonder the crypto space is brimming with NFT-based projects of all sizes. And to make building these projects easier at the back end, we need reliable support technologies such as NFT APIs.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to create an NFT platform, marketplace, wallet, dashboard or analytics site, without the right NFT APIs, you won’t be able to bring finesse to the table. NFT APIs are not only a time-saver and a way to reduce the workload for developers, they are a powerful tool to create robust, feature-rich NFT applications.

If you want to build an NFT app, then contact LeewayHertz. We can help you with our development expertise as well as robust NFT APIs.

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Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the founder and CEO at LeewayHertz. The experience of building over 100+ platforms for startups and enterprises allows Akash to rapidly architect and design solutions that are scalable and beautiful.
Akash's ability to build enterprise-grade technology solutions has attracted over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Siemens, 3M, P&G and Hershey’s. Akash is an early adopter of new technology, a passionate technology enthusiast, and an investor in AI and IoT startups.

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