Adobe is launching a system built into Photoshop that can, among other things, help prove that the person selling an NFT is the person who made it. It’s called Content Credentials, and NFT sellers will be able to link the Adobe ID with their crypto wallet, allowing compatible NFT marketplaces to show a sort of verified certificate proving the art’s source is authentic.
According to a Decoder interview with Adobe’s chief product officer Scott Belsky, this functionality will be built into Photoshop with a “prepare as NFT” option, launching in preview by the end of this month. Belsky says attribution data created by the Content Credentials will live on an IPFS system. IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a decentralized way to host files where a network of people are responsible for keeping data safe and available, rather than a single company (somewhat similar to how torrent systems work). Adobe says that NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, KnownOrigin, and SuperRare will be able to integrate with Content Credentials to show Adobe’s attribution information.
What’s an NFT?
NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one of a kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.
NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs. If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.
Art theft has been a Big Deal in the NFT world. There have been many examples of people minting art they didn’t create or don’t have the rights to on the blockchain. The reason is that anyone can mint an NFT, even if they don’t own the copyright to the content, and there’s not really anything the blockchain can do to stop that. Worse, the minting is enshrined on the blockchain, making the NFT’s creation seem authentic if you’re unaware of the original work.
This system doesn’t make it harder to mint an NFT of media you don’t own the rights to, but it could make that NFT less attractive to the market
In other words, I could right-click on an existing image of an NFT and mint it again myself, potentially fooling unaware buyers. While Adobe’s system won’t prevent art theft, it does offer a way to prove that the NFT you’re selling isn’t stolen — past that, it’s up to buyers to decide how much value they place on that.
Even Banksy, who gets a mention in Decoder, has been caught up by NFT scammers. One NFT collector (ironically named Pranksy) paid $300K for an NFT attributed to the famous street artist, which was almost definitely fake. He ended up getting the money back, but there wouldn’t have been as much of a fuss if Banksy had digitally signed the NFT. As Adobe’s Belsky points out, Banksy probably wouldn’t want to link his name and Adobe ID to a crypto wallet, but the system is meant to be open-source — it’s possible the anonymous artist could figure out some way to provide Content Credentials verified by the company in charge of authenticating his work.
NFTs aren’t the only thing that will benefit from Adobe’s Content Credentials, which are a result of its Content Authenticity Initiative. The company is launching the system as a beta, and users can use it to show what edits were made to a file in Photoshop, tag their stock images on Adobe’s system, and more.
To hear more about Adobe’s view on NFTs, the impact of certified attribution on art and NFTs, and Photoshop on the web, check out this week’s episode of Decoder and the rest of our coverage from Adobe’s Max conference.
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A new podcast from The Verge about big ideas and other problems.