What Stops Someone From Copying an NFT? How to Protect NFTs!

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Colorful framed prints.
Table of Contents
Colorful framed prints.

Key Takeaways:

  • NFTs are secured by blockchain technology, smart contracts, cryptographic keys, and digital fingerprinting
  • Minting an NFT creates a unique digital asset that cannot be replicated or duplicated
  • Challenges in tracking ownership and legal issues surrounding copyright still exist in the world of NFTs

What Stops Someone From Copying an NFT? 

NFTs are unique and un-copiable due to their minting process, unique coding to prevent duplication, and the immutability of the blockchain.

In the world of digital art and collectibles, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have taken center stage, providing creators with a unique way to monetize their work. As the popularity of NFTs continues to rise, concerns about authenticity and duplication become increasingly critical.

Although NFT technology is designed to prevent copying, scammers are constantly looking for ways to deceive unsuspecting buyers. In this blog post, we will explore how NFTs maintain their uniqueness through advanced blockchain technology and discuss various methods you can use to safeguard your investment from fraudsters.

What Makes NFTs Unique and Un-Copiable? 

Minting to Give Authenticity 

Minting an NFT is a crucial step in establishing its authenticity and ownership. When you mint an NFT, you are creating a unique digital asset that cannot be replicated or duplicated.

The process of minting involves putting the data of the digital asset, such as an artwork, into the blockchain and assigning it a unique identifying code.

For example, imagine two people own identical pieces of digital art. One person has simply downloaded it, while the other has created an NFT with it through minting on blockchain technology.

While anyone can copy or download the artwork owned by the first person, only one person has true ownership of that specific piece: the person who holds its matching NFT with its unique identifying code stored on the blockchain network.

Unique Coding Prevents Duplication 

Unique coding is a crucial feature of NFTs that helps prevent duplication and ensures authenticity. Each NFT has its unique code, which serves as a digital fingerprint for the artwork or item it represents.

This code cannot be replicated, making it impossible to create a copycat version of an NFT without being detected. When someone tries to create a duplicate of an existing NFT, the original will remain intact because its unique identifier remains unchanged on the blockchain.

Provenance Verification 

One of the key features that makes NFTs unique and un-copiable is provenance verification. This means that an NFT has a record of its ownership history stored on the blockchain, making it easy to trace its origin and verify ownership.

Provenance also provides transparency in transactions between buyers and sellers, ensuring that the authenticity of an NFT is never in question. For example, if you were to buy an NFT through a marketplace like OpenSea, you can easily check its provenance by looking at the transaction history on the blockchain.

Immutability of the Blockchain 

The immutability (unchangeability) of the blockchain is one of the key features that make NFTs unique and un-copiable. Once an NFT has been created and added to the blockchain, it cannot be changed or replicated.

This feature ensures that each NFT represents a specific piece of digital content, such as artwork, music, video clips or games items in an online game. Additionally, this also guarantees transparency and prevents fraudulent activities in transactions involving NFTs.

Furthermore, it gives creators confidence in creating authentic digital work knowing buyers can rest assured that what they’re investing their money into is genuine due to watermarks/logos embedded onto them already stating “authentic” status which verifies ownership rights on your profile picture/screenshot so nobody can take credit for something you own!

Unique Identifying Code 

NFTs have a unique identifying code that sets them apart from other digital assets. This code is like a fingerprint, and it cannot be replicated or duplicated. The identification code is recorded on a blockchain, creating a permanent record of ownership and authenticity.

For example, imagine you purchase an NFT of your favorite musician’s album art.

The metadata associated with NFTs also helps to prevent someone from copying them. Metadata includes information such as the creator’s name, date of creation, and any additional details about the artwork or asset.

This data further solidifies ownership rights and adds layers of protection against duplication or fraud.

Understanding NFTs and Their Security Features 

NFTs are secured by blockchain technology, smart contracts, cryptographic keys, and digital fingerprinting to ensure their authenticity.

Blockchain Technology 

Blockchain technology is a revolutionary system that plays an essential role in securing and authenticating NFTs. It functions as a decentralized digital ledger, where information is stored across numerous computers in the network rather than relying on one central authority.

With NFTs living on the blockchain, each token’s history of transactions can be easily traced back to its original creation point or “minting.” This public record helps establish proof of ownership and legitimacy for any given digital asset.

For example, if someone claims to have created a new piece of digital art as an NFT, anyone can verify this claim by checking the blockchain records.

Smart Contracts 

Smart contracts play a crucial role in the world of NFTs by ensuring their authenticity and preventing unauthorized duplication. These are self-executing contracts with preset rules and conditions written into computer code, which means they automatically enforce the agreed-upon terms between parties.

In the context of NFTs, smart contracts help assign ownership and manage the transferability of these unique digital assets. They also contribute to maintaining originality by recording transactions on blockchain technology – a decentralized and tamper-proof digital ledger – which keeps track of every asset’s provenance.

When an artist mints an NFT using a smart contract, this ensures that there is only one verified version of their work in existence, protecting both creators and collectors from fraudsters trying to produce counterfeit copies.

Cryptographic Keys 

Cryptographic keys play a vital role in NFT security and authentication, as they help ensure that only the rightful owner can transfer or sell their digital assets. Think of these keys like an advanced version of a physical key to your home, but instead securing ownership and access to valuable digital artwork or collectibles.

A private key is unique to each individual’s crypto wallet and must be kept secret, as it allows you to sign transactions digitally – such as buying, selling, or transferring your NFT token.

On the other hand, a public key is derived from your private key; it acts like your wallet’s address for receiving tokens from others. When you own an NFT on the blockchain (e.g., Ethereum), both these cryptographic keys work together to confirm that you have genuine ownership over this one-of-a-kind digital asset while preventing unauthorized duplication or copying by others.

Digital Fingerprinting 

Digital fingerprinting is a vital security measure that ensures the authenticity of NFTs. It involves creating and embedding unique identifying codes on each token, which can be verified through a decentralized database like the blockchain network.

The digital fingerprint also enables users to verify the ownership and provenance of an NFT by tracking its history on the blockchain network. This means that buyers can confirm if they are purchasing an original piece of artwork rather than a fake or unauthorized copy.

Preventing NFT Theft 

To prevent NFT theft, adding watermarks or logos to images, controlling access to original files, and using blockchain technology for secure transfers can be effective measures.

Adding Watermarks or Logos to Images 

One effective way to protect your NFT artwork from being copied is by adding watermarks or logos to your images. Here are some ways you can do it:

  1. Use a digital watermarking tool to add unique markings or logos to your images.
  2. Create different versions of your artwork, each with a unique watermark or logo, for added protection.
  3. Consider using a visible and invisible watermark combination for maximum security.
  4. Make sure the watermark doesn’t detract from the artwork’s value or aesthetics.
  5. Offer unlockable content with high-resolution, watermark-free copies for buyers.

By adding watermarks or logos to your NFTs, you can deter potential thieves and protect your work’s value and authenticity. Remember that NFT theft is a real issue, so taking measures like this can help safeguard your digital assets.

Controlling Access to Original Files 

To prevent unauthorized duplication of NFTs, it’s essential to control access to the original files. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Limit Access: Only share the file with people who have a legitimate reason for accessing it, such as potential buyers or collectors.
  2. Watermark: Adding a watermark to the image can make it more difficult for someone to claim ownership of the original file.
  3. Encryption: Encrypting the file and sharing a key with authorized parties is another way to ensure that only those with permission can access it.
  4. Private Storage: Keeping the original file in a secure, private storage location can reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
  5. Tokenization: Tokenization allows you to create a unique digital asset that represents ownership of the original file, making it easier to track and control access.

Remember, NFTs do not prevent copying or sharing of their associated digital files, so taking measures like these can help protect your creations’ integrity and value.

Using Blockchain Technology for Secure Transfers 

Blockchain technology is what makes NFTs so secure and reliable. It ensures that all transactions are transparent, recorded on a ledger for everyone to see, and can’t be altered or tampered with.

The blockchain provides a decentralized system that allows NFT creators to verify their ownership through cryptographic keys and digital fingerprinting. When selling an NFT, the blockchain automatically generates a unique code representing the asset.

This code acts as proof of ownership and prevents anyone else from claiming it as their own.

Challenges in Protecting NFTs and Their Value 

Defending the ownership and value of NFTs can be complicated due to difficulties in tracking ownership, legal issues with copyright, and risks associated with copying.

Difficulty in Tracking Ownership 

One of the biggest challenges associated with NFTs is tracking ownership. In traditional art, ownership can be easily tracked through physical documentation and authentication.

However, in the digital world, it becomes more complicated as NFTs can be bought, sold, or transferred from wallet to wallet without any clear record of who owns what.

To combat this problem, some NFT creators hold onto ownership of the copyright and grant a license instead. This allows them to maintain control over their work while still allowing collectors to enjoy and display it in various ways.

Additionally, blockchain technology provides a secure way to store ownership information that is tamper-evident and cannot be altered once inscribed into the blockchain.

Legal Issues in Defending Ownership 

As the popularity of NFTs continues to grow, so do concerns about legal issues surrounding ownership. When it comes to determining who owns an NFT, things can get complicated quickly.

Many NFTs are linked to an underlying asset protected by intellectual property rights, including copyright.

Due diligence should be conducted by any party purchasing an NFT to ensure authenticity and verify that they have the right to sell or transfer the digital asset associated with it.

In some cases, disputes may arise over who owns a particular piece of artwork or other digital asset, leading to legal battles over copyrights and/or intellectual property rights violations.

Risks and Consequences of NFT Copying 

Copying an NFT can have severe consequences on both the creator’s reputation and the buyer’s investment. It is important to note that although NFTs are recorded on immutable blockchains, they are not 100% safe from security risks such as counterfeit or copyright infringement.

Moreover, if an NFT was created with an expectation of profit based on others’ efforts and designed as a security, it could be considered illegal. Buyers who unknowingly purchase copied or fraudulent NFTs risk losing their investment while damaging the original creators by promoting inauthentic creations in the marketplace.

Negative Impact on Creator’s Reputation 

One critical aspect of NFT authenticity is that the creator’s reputation can be severely impacted if their work is copied or duplicated. Just like any other artist or content creator, the value and recognition of their work depend on its originality and uniqueness.

For example, in 2019, a group claiming to represent Banksy sold “authenticated” prints online for relatively little money compared to what his works typically go for. These turned out to be fraudulent copies created by unknown individuals without Banksy’s permission – causing a scandal in art circles.


How Do I Protect My Artwork From Being Copied?

By minting a non-fungible token (NFT), you create a unique digital asset on the blockchain with identifying code, cryptographic keys, and digital fingerprinting that cannot be duplicated. This ensures authenticity and prevents unauthorized copying of your work.

How Do I Protect My Digital Art From Copyright?

One way to protect your digital art from copyright is by registering it under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This allows you to prove ownership of your work and take legal action against those who infringe on your rights.

Should I Copyright My Digital Art?

Yes, it is important to copyright your digital art as it provides legal protection against unauthorized use and duplication. Copyright law gives the creator the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their work, which includes creating NFTs based on their artwork.

What is NFT Art?

NFT art refers to the creative works that are represented as Non-Fungible Tokens. These can be digital artworks, music, videos, or any other type of digital content that can be tokenized and sold as unique assets.

What is the Difference Between Owning an NFT and Owning a Copy of an Artwork Like Mona Lisa?

Owning an NFT gives the user digital ownership of the specific NFT, while owning a copy of an artwork like Mona Lisa only provides ownership of a physical copy of the artwork. With an NFT, the unique digital asset can always be traced back to its original ownership.

Can Someone Take a Screenshot of an NFT?

Yes, someone can take a screenshot of an NFT just like they can take a screenshot of any other digital content. However, the screenshot does not provide ownership or uniqueness of the NFT.

Can Someone Sell a Copied NFT?

While someone can create a copy of an NFT, they cannot sell the exact NFT as each NFT is unique and stored on a blockchain. The copied NFT would be considered a fake and would not hold the same value as the authentic NFT.

Is It Possible to Save an NFT or Buy a Copy of It?

While it is possible to save a picture of an NFT or buy a physical copy of the artwork, it would not provide ownership or uniqueness of the NFT. The value of an NFT is in the ownership of the unique digital asset.

How Long Does an NFT Last?

NFTs are digital assets stored on a blockchain and can last forever as long as the blockchain continues to exist. The NFT provides unique ownership and value to the user beyond the lifetime of the creator.

Conclusion: Future of NFT Security

In conclusion, NFTs are unique and un-copiable due to their code and the security features provided by blockchain technology, smart contracts, cryptographic keys, digital fingerprinting, and provenance verification.

However, there are still challenges in protecting NFTs from theft and ensuring their value. As the world of NFTs evolves, it is important for creators and buyers to stay informed about how they can prevent scams and protect the authenticity of their digital assets.

With advanced duplication detection, secure storage solutions, legal protections against copyright infringement, and other measures being introduced on platforms like OpenSea or Pastel Network , we can expect a bright future for NFT security.


It is always recommended to consult a qualified attorney regarding any legal issues you may face. While we strive to provide helpful tips and advice, nothing on our website should be taken as legal advice.

An attorney can provide you with more informed advice tailored to your specific circumstances and needs.



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About the Author:
Morgan Davis, an expert in digital currency and economic analysis, offers a unique perspective on cryptocurrency within the global financial landscape. With a background in International Economics, Morgan's insights delve into how macroeconomic factors influence the crypto market. Their writing simplifies complex economic and cryptocurrency concepts, making them accessible to a broad audience. Morgan is actively engaged in discussions about the impact of blockchain on finance, and their work empowers readers to understand and navigate the world of digital currencies.