Everyone takes the speed of content for granted. You, me, even your grandma with the Hotmail account. Having to wait more than half a second to download an image or stream a video feels downright offensive. So with web3 and its focus on content distribution, it seems only right that relatively simple features like image optimization and video streaming must be faster and more efficient than ever.
Except they’re not. On its surface, the web3 media landscape is quite advanced with the animations, high-quality art pieces and video files that make up NFT projects, but on the backend, certain trade-offs exist between the speed and efficiency that we’re used to and the decentralized, secure blockchain ecosystem that’s powering innovation.
But does this trade-off really have to exist?
The Cost of Slow
NFT marketplaces are often asked to fetch upwards of 10,000 unique, high-quality images for users to browse through. And even though NFTs are new, the expectations are not. If your collections take too long to fully load or you require users to download something rather than being able to instantly view it, you risk losing that user. When the content is the product, the stakes are much higher. People leaving means fewer opportunities to attract collectors and supporters of your project.
While NFTs themselves don't have file upload limitations, and Pinata lets you upload any file size or type you want, many marketplaces do in fact have their own file size and type limitations. Here’s a list of popular NFT marketplace limitations via Cyberscrilla:
On an individual level, these limits might not seem like a big deal. But when you have 10,000 images to load, even at 5 MB per image…yeah. You (or more accurately, your users) are going to have a bad time.
“Well, just make them smaller!”
Minimizing the size of each file seems simple enough. But if 1) you want to maintain high quality to preserve the integrity of your collection and 2) you don't feel like uploading 10,000 images to a free and extremely insecure web optimizer, your problem remains.
IPFS is incredible. The InterPlanetary File System is a distributed file system that allows for content ownership, portability, and verifiability. Pinata serves as a gateway to IPFS, powering NFT marketplaces, individual websites, file-sharing platforms, and more.
However, IPFS the protocol does not have a responsibility to match the experience of traditional cloud file services like AWS or Dropbox. Features like image resizing and video streaming. Instead, that responsibility falls onto the shoulders of IPFS’s adopters. This can be a big problem for creators.
Think about video marketplaces, or artists that have a gallery of video files they want to share with visitors to their gallery in the metaverse. You might be able to get your video file size down to 100mb to upload to Opensea, but would if you have 10 videos? Or 100 videos? Or 10,000? If your files are stored on IPFS, a potential collector would need to fully download the video before watching it—something unheard of in 2022.
Image size and video streaming are two symptoms of a bigger challenge: in order for web3 adoption to really take hold, we need to have solutions that projects up to the speed of media that people are used to.
And that’s what Pinata is doing.
Bridging the Gap
All users on Picnic, Fiesta and Carnival plans now have full access to Pinata Image Optimization and Pinata Streaming Video.
Pinata Image Optimization allows you to resize images on the fly with URL queries, all through your own gateway. For faster web pages and reduced bandwidth, all you have to do is add a few text characters to the end of your image link. Much easier and more secure than individually uploading your files to a third-party website.
With Pinata Streaming Video, you and those who visit your gateway will no longer have to wait for a video file to download fully before it can be played. Just visit the URL and the video will start streaming, just like you would expect with Netflix or Youtube.
We see a world where creators no longer have to choose platform performance or ownership. Pinata is powering a future where individuals, businesses, and developers can power their own creative worlds. And the future is looking bright.