What File Type is an NFT? File Formats to Mint NFTS

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A vibrant background displaying the acronym NFT.
Table of Contents
A vibrant background displaying the acronym NFT.

Key Takeaways:

  • NFTs can be minted in various file formats, including JPEG and PNG, offering creators the flexibility to choose the format that suits their needs
  • PNG is recommended for NFT minting due to its lossless quality and transparency support, making it ideal for displaying complex graphics in high quality
  • While JPEG offers smaller file sizes, it lacks transparency support and may not be suitable for certain types of artwork or content in the NFT ecosystem

What File Format Can an NFT Be?

You can choose every format you want for NFTs. 

Non-Fungible Tokens can apply to any data, not only images but also videos, music or documents. 

The original file can be attached to a corresponding token. So, theoretically, every existing file type can serve for NFTs. For this article, we will concentrate on the most common use case, images. 

You could choose whatever type you want, but several factors and limitations should be considered for your decision. The most common types of file types are JPEG and PNG. 

They both are the standard and preferred if you want to go for high-quality formats. If you want to go further into animation, then you could even use file formats such as GIF, MP4 or WebM. 

If you want to use NFTs for documents, you could even use file types like PDF or DOC. Limitations could occur depending on the NFT marketplace you choose, as every marketplace allows only certain file types. 

Further limitations could occur based on the blockchains restrictions and capabilities. Overall, the most known platforms support a variety of file formats.

Discover more about NFT Basics by checking out the detailed exploration in NFT vs Fungible Tokens.

Are NFTs JPEGs or PNGs?

You can create NFTs in both JPEG and PNG. 

What NFT creators want to choose for their digital art will depend on some factors. 

The most important factors are usability and quality of your file. Not every file type is always supported in every place. 

For common file types like JPEG or PNG this won’t be an issue, but for more specific file types you should note that it may not be displayed everywhere. This could be a big bummer for potential buyers as they wouldn’t be able to see the NFT art. 

As stated, this problem would only occur if you would use special or newer types of file formats which are uncommon or have to be established. A great example is the new image type WEBP. 

This is an image type designed for the web to serve maximum details at an extremely compressed file size.

Is JPEG or PNG Better for NFT Minting?

Even if you can freely decide which type to choose, go for PNG. 

The reason for this is that it provides some advantages over JPEG. 

These advantages come with some drawbacks which don’t matter that much for NFT. PNG stands for “Portable Network Graphics” and is a lossless image file format. JPEG standing for “Joint Photographic Experts Group” is a lossy format. 

Compared to JPEG, PNG offers a higher quality image because of its lossless compression. If you want to mint your digital artwork, then it is always a good idea to go for the best quality possible. 

PNG can provide you with a lossless format which is more suitable, especially for complex graphics to be displayed in the highest possible quality. Another option PNG can provide you is that it can support transparency

JPEG cannot provide this feature and can display only color. Depending on your work, this could also be a key factor. The key advantage for JPEG is the smaller file size because of its compressed format. 

This is beneficial in a variety of scenarios, but for NFTs, you can easily create files of 100MB and more. So the question of reaching file size limits won’t be the deciding factor for images as they often are between some kB and a few MB in size.

Choose the NFT File Type Depending on Your Marketplace / Platform

The marketplace you want for your NFT creation will specify which image file types will be available to you. 

Every platform has a different limitation on which file types are supported. 

In terms of the more common image file types, you rather won’t have any problem as they are always supported.

  1. Opensea – file types: all image file formats
  2. Mintable- file types: all image file formats
  3. Rarible – file types: PNG, GIF or WEBP
  4. SuperRare – file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF or GLB
  5. Foundation – file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF, SVG, GLTF or GLB
  6. KnownOrigin – file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF, SVG or WEBP
  7. Mintbase – file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF or PDF

By using PNG or JPEG, you won’t have problems choosing a marketplace. If you decide to go for newer image file types like WEBP, your selection will be more limited. If you plan your next NFT collection, consider this topic if you make your decision.

How Can You Decrease Your NFT in File Size?

If you want to decrease your NFT in size, then you can always use a file format which allows for compression. 

Here, you could choose JPEG or WEBP over PNG. 

Both formats allow compression of images to decrease their size. This will come with a decreased image quality. WEBP is a newer file type which allows for maximum compression with nearly the same image quality. 

This is perfectly suited for this scenario and was developed for the web, so the website can provide high-quality images with the smallest possible image sizes. 

A drawback here is that this format is not provided by all marketplaces and even not all web browsers. 

Most browsers can display this image and in the future, this won’t be an issue as more browsers will adopt this new image format (all our images use this format, too!). 

If you have a PNG and want to compress it, you will need to convert it into a lossy file format. If you need compatibility, then JPEG files are the way to go. 

Just remember to check the look of your image, because compression can make it look inferior quality. If you want your NFT to skyrocket in price, you will have to provide the best quality possible.

What Type of File Do You Have After You Mint an NFT?

You might think that the NFT technology uses their own file type, but this is not the case. 

The NFT stays in the file format you used to mint it. 

If you upload an image as a PNG onto a marketplace to mint an NFT from it, then this image will stay as the PNG file format it was. If the image file would be changed to another specific format, there would be compatibility issues. 

The reason for NFTs is not to provide data on its own but to take current data and give it additional data, which makes it able to validate for authenticity. We want to take our original data and give it the ability to prove ownership, not to change its file format.

Therefore, the blockchain always creates a token based on your image file and stores unique data in it which only you can validate to prove your ownership. 

This data is stored by this one NFT on the blockchain and your image file is then stored separated from it on an additional cloud. The reason for this is that the Ethereum blockchain can store only data within a block of only 1MB in size. 

If you would need dozens of blocks because of your file size this would result in huge gas fees and slow the transfer. This wouldn’t be practical, so only your token is stored on the decentralized blockchain. 

The media are stored as the metadata in its original format, separated from the token.


Can NFTs Be Printed?

Yes, NFTs can be printed as long as they include media which is printable. 

Most of the time people think about images when talking about NFTs because it is the most common use case. 

Aside from that, things like MP3 or WAV audio or video files like MP4s can also be tokenized into NFTs. You can even buy virtual land. These things are not printable. So if you want to print an NFT, you can do it but only with files which can be printed.

Overall, an NFTs contain a regular image file which is printable in the same way as every other image you have.

Is an NFT Just a JPEG?

No, an NFT is not just a JPEG or PNG. 

Yes, it contains the original image file in it and this file is not altered. 

So, from this point of view, the image stays in its JPEG or PNG format without changes. Minting adds data called a token to this image. In this token, the unique data to prove ownership is included. This data is then stored in the blockchain. 

Finally, you can use the image like before as a regular image. Now you also have a way to prove that you are the actual owner of this file. Every other copy on earth doesn’t have this proof. 

You can now show that you are the owner of the original and no one can provide this proof for this exact file. This is the same principle as with any crypto. You don’t store the actual cryptocurrency in your crypto wallet. 

You store only the access to the coins that are in another place, the blockchain, and not in your wallet.

Should NFTs Be JPEG or PNG?

An NFT can be stored in whatever image file format you want. 

You can even choose other formats if you wish. 

There are practically no limits. We can tokenize every digital file that exists. The only limit you will have is in terms of the marketplace where you want to mint an NFT. Marketplaces allow only specific file formats. 

If your file format is not supported, you cannot mint it on their platform. Other than that, you can choose whatever image file type you want.

Conclusion: What File Type is an NFT?

When minting an NFT, you have the freedom to choose from various file formats depending on your needs. While JPEG and PNG are the standard choices for high-quality images, you can also explore formats like GIF, MP4, WebM, PDF, or DOC for different types of content.

However, it’s important to consider marketplace limitations and user accessibility. PNG is generally recommended for its lossless quality and transparency support, while JPEG offers smaller file sizes.


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About the Author:
Jordan Adams, with a rich background in Finance and Economics and specialized knowledge in blockchain, is a distinguished voice in the cryptocurrency community. Their journey in fintech and digital currency trading has equipped them to offer unique insights into digital finance. Jordan's writing demystifies cryptocurrency concepts with well-researched, practical advice. Engaged in the crypto community, Jordan shares timely market insights, fostering understanding of complex technologies and their practical applications in the evolving digital currency landscape.