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It’s a story that has been circulating around the cryptocurrency forums, shared online and in person, causing a ton of confusion and fear – people’s NFTs are disappearing.
You have probably already heard that more than one person has taken to social media to warn that after buying an expensive NFT, it soon disappeared from their digital wallet.
After purchasing and trying to open up the page, more and more people are experiencing ‘errors’ whenever they try to access the artwork.
What’s worse is that the record of the person ever owning the NFT is also gone – along with the money they spent on it.
So what’s happening here? Is this a scam or is there a way around this? Let’s take a closer look to find out!
What’s Going On With The Disappearing NFTs?
So – what’s really going on with these ‘missing’ NFTs?
More and more people are finding error codes popping up whenever they try to access their newly purchased expensive NFT.
When accessing the link in their digital wallet, a blank window appears instead with a banner saying:
“This page has gone off grid.
We’ve got a 404 error and explored deep and wide, but we can’t find the page you were looking for.”
No NFT in sight.
So, what’s going on? Are NFTs being stolen, glitching, or this issue more complex than originally thought?
NFTS: How They Work And How They Disappear?
A lot of people buying NFTs don’t always fully understand how they work.
When you buy an NFT, you are not actually buying the image itself. Instead, you are buying the code that references that NFT.
This means that rather than buying the piece of artwork, you are minting another signature that points towards the image that is hosted somewhere else.
You do not own the image, video, or whatever the NFT actually is – you only own a bit of code that points to it.
As a result, when you buy an NFT, you don’t always have the permission to actually view the artwork the code points to. Sure, you own it – but you can’t always see it.
One of the community managers from OpenSea (one of the largest NFT marketplaces online) likened it to viewing a piece of art through a window.
The artwork will still exist even if the window closes, blocking your view.
So who is blocking the window for your missing NFT?
Usually the platform you have bought the NFT from but sometimes the source itself has made a change on their end.
They have decided to ‘close the window’ either because it violates the platform’s terms and conditions, violates copyright laws, or is stolen artwork.
So, while you still own the NFT (which is the code itself), the JPEG of the art that you thought it would lead to is gone.
NFT art cannot be taken down and will always live on in Ethereum but markets can choose whether or not to interact and show the data it provides.
This means that when you bought the NFT, you still own the link because the transaction is logged into the NFT’s blockchain but the artwork (for whatever reason given above) is gone.
NFT markets do not store the artwork, images, or videos that are pointed to by the NFT code.
This means that if the source is changed, you won’t be able to access the NFT you bought – hence the 404 error message.
It would be that the source that made and sold these NFTs has shut down and as a result, the image is gone.
You still own the code pointing to the now-empty or non-existent page but there’s nothing left to see there.
The Solution To Disappearing NFTs
So, if you have experienced the same 404 error when trying to access your NFT artwork then I’m sorry to break it to you but it’s gone.
It’s either been removed at the source or the platform you bought it from has suppressed it either for being stolen art or violating some laws or rules.
While you will still own the actual NFT (that’s the code that previously pointed to the artwork), it will only ever take you to a blank page from now on.
Understandably, this is heartbreaking.
Some NFTs can be sold for the equivalent millions of dollars only for it to eventually lead to nothing but an error message.
As a result, some NFTs are now being sold pointing to numerous different copies of the same artwork so if one source changes or is suppressed, the others will likely live on – but it’s still not a permanent solution.
After all, there is never no guarantee that a file (in this case, the JPEG or video linked to your NFT) will go missing.
This is probably not the news you wanted to hear but unfortunately, losing the artwork or video that comes with your NFT is a part of the consequences and risks that comes with purchasing NFTs in the first place.
One of the biggest things people misunderstand about purchasing NFTs is that you are not purchasing the artwork itself – only a small piece of code.
While your purchase will be recorded and included on the blockchain of the code (and this will remain permanent no matter what), the image or video most people mistakenly think they are purchasing will not.
This means that you could end up losing the artwork or video attached to the NFT you have bought.
But in some way, that’s not the real point of NFTs.
Most people purchase NFTs in the hope that they will become more valuable and can then be sold on at a higher price.
So, most people don’t intend on keeping their NFTs forever – they’re kind of like stocks or bets.
You may lose money or win some, and how high you want to play the game is up to you.
Just be prepared to keep playing hot potato with your NFTs so you don’t miss out.
And while you at it – take a screenshot of the artwork associated with your NFT. At least you can look at it if the artwork goes missing.