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Dynamic NFT Data

To maximize the flexibility of NFT on-chain data, we only add a bytes data named dna to the NFT - this is the NFT Data

Many other NFT projects may add additional methods to their NFT token contract, which is difficult for integration, because they are non-standard, requiring developers to customize integrations for each NFT collection.

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Explore step by step, how to encode arbitrary data for your NFT, for any use case.

Our approach starts with exposing the dynamic features (DNA) through the standard tokenURI method.

/***** Dna (NFT Data) *****/
* @dev returns uri for token metadata. If no baseURI, returns Dna as string
* @param tokenId tokenId metadata to fetch
* @return uri at which metadata is housed
function tokenURI(uint256 tokenId) public view override returns (string memory) {

string memory baseURI = _baseURI();
bytes memory dnaRaw = getDna(tokenId);
string memory dnaString = dnaRaw.encode();
return bytes(baseURI).length > 0 ? string(abi.encodePacked(baseURI, dnaString)) : dnaString;


As you can see we store this dna per tokenId: getDna( tokenId )

Detailed Docs

Visit our Contract Guide for in the detailed docs: IERC721Dna


Deciphering / Translating the NFT On-Chain Data (DNA)

By itself the DNA is useless, it can be thought of as similar to msgPack or protoBuf which requires a schema to decode the data.

Since the schema can get quite large, this is stored on IPFS in JSON format, and only the IPFS hash is added to the NFT smart contract as part of the baseURI.

For example a typical tokenURI( tokenId ) method call to the smart contract itself will return something like:

Which follows the format:{ipfsSchemaHash}/{dna}

The API Endpoint is a Fallback

You'll see here that we also include an API endpoint, which hosts a server-side version of the Client-Side SDK. This is intended as a fallback for when the application does not integrate the client-side SDK.

Typically, rather than calling the API Endpoint, a decentralized application should parse the ipfsSchemaHash and the dna, then pass that to the client-side SDK to generate the NFT's metadata, which will typically also include the NFT rendering/image either as a link or a base64 encoded image.

The IPFS-Hosted JSON Schema

The Collection JSON Schema defines how the traits of an NFT are encoded into bytes, for example a typical JSON Schema may look like this:

"name": "Owl Protocol Example",
"description": "Example Collection",
"traits": [
"name": "Item Level",
"type": "number",
"min": 1,
"max": 9999,
"abi": "uint16"
"name": "Base Item",
"type": "image",
"options": [
"value": "Sword",
"image_url": "/ipfs/Qme8axUSCZrRNaFE2QaPYfVYhaFdRazC5baNtkE674rjAZ/items/sword.png",
"image_type": "png"
"name": "Enchantment",
"type": "image",
"options": [
"value": "None",
"image_url": "/ipfs/Qme8axUSCZrRNaFE2QaPYfVYhaFdRazC5baNtkE674rjAZ/enchant/none.png",
"image_type": "png"
"value": "Ruby Fire",
"image_url": "/ipfs/Qme8axUSCZrRNaFE2QaPYfVYhaFdRazC5baNtkE674rjAZ/enchant/ruby.png",
"image_type": "png"

By default, traits are 8-bits, unless specified by the bitSize field, which must be a multiple of 8.

In this example we have a Sword NFT with 3 traits:

  1. Item Level - which is 16-bits
  2. Base Item - the base sword
  3. Enchantment - an enchantment on the sword

Therefore, if we had a "Level 5" sword, with a ruby enchantment the dna would be:

Item LevelBase ItemEnchantment

We encode from left-to-right, which is most intuitive to work with.


This gives us a final bit representation for the data of: 00000000000001010000000000000001.

Which is translated to base64.

So for example, if the IPFS hash for the Collection JSON Schema is QmePBmfWYbZ6rtt93E9L5AnpAdeuVu7pbkjHAxDSQe5bjw, then tokenURI would return: getMetadata/QmePBmfWYbZ6rtt93E9L5AnpAdeuVu7pbkjHAxDSQe5bjw/[base64 of dna]

Calling the tokenURI would return the NFT metadata JSON, which conforms to at the very minimum.

Which is the descriptive JSON that looks somewhat like:

"description": "NFT Marketplace compatible metadata JSON for the Owl Protocol Example docs.",
"external_url": "",
"image": "base64",
"name": "Owl Protocol Sword",
"attributes": [ ... ]

Notice that the image here is shown as a base64, but this also supports a link to an IPFS-hosted image, or just any API.

Read on about NFT Rendering in the next page, or try rendering NFTs yourself with our tutorial.