Minting NFTs on the XRPL at Ripple Innovate

Hackathons are a time to explore both off-the-wall and tried-and-true ideas. Earlier this year, Ripple held its annual internal Innovate Hackathon with categories including: RippleNet Expansion, XRP Ledger (XRPL) Library, Crypto Primitives, and People’s Choice.

While all of these categories were very interesting, some of us had never worked directly with the XRP Ledger so this was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience working with the XRPL and hack away on a compelling problem. The NFT-Devnet provides both a conceptual introduction and a quickstart guide on minting, burning and transferring NFTs. As someone who had never minted an NFT before, I gained a deeper understanding of the minting process and was able to reference multiple easily understandable code samples for our own hackathon project.

For Team 925 (because we like our eight hours of sleep), we decided to create a photo marketplace app called Ti(n)ft Tok, which allows users to take a photo from their phone and mint an NFT out of that image. I worked on this project with Malcolm Ahoy, Ephraim Glick, Jack Needham, and Lan Nguyen. We were interested in this use case because, while you may be thinking, “Not another JPEG,” it’s a fascinating exercise in understanding the problem of content authenticity on social media platforms.

If you’ve followed the NFT space, then you know there are still a lot of problems to solve. Without proper reassurance via the marketplace that an NFT is authentic and authorized, copyright infringement and blatant art theft are both common. In addition to theft, there aren’t many ways to tie a token to its content or its origin platform; if you see a Ti(n)ft Tok NFT on another NFT marketplace, how can you determine the origin of that NFT? Knowing an NFT’s origin would also help with fighting misinformation, confirming that an image or video isn’t a deepfake.

Ti(n)ft Tok solves some of the current problems with NFT authenticity. Using the XRP Ledger, a user can mint a photo NFT on the XRP Ledger with unique metadata. There is also a buy-sell functionality and a marketplace that allows users to view and purchase any available NFTs on Ti(n)ft Tok. For implementing the marketplace view, the code samples from the XRPL developer portal really came in handy! However, what sets Ti(n)ft Tok apart from other blockchain photo apps or marketplaces is the ability to mint and verify the authenticity of an NFT.

Compared to other NFT marketplaces, Ti(n)ft Tok allows users to directly create and mint an NFT in the app which simplifies the process. Additionally, a user can navigate to a specific NFT’s page, find the original issuer ID, and input that ID into a form that verifies that the issuer minted that NFT on the app. This is a basic way to verify NFT authenticity and a good first step in tackling the loose ties between tokens and the content that a token references.

There are many additions that can be built on top of the current core functionality though, such as a visual timeline of an NFT’s ownership so you can track how the NFT has changed hands throughout the Ti(n)ft Tok community. User-generated metadata and real-time NFT auctioning are additional features that can be added to the app in future versions to continue improving the user experience.

In the end, Ti(n)ft Tok was one of the winners of the XRPL library category (for NFT minting), and while Ti(n)ft Tok allows for cursory authenticity checks (there’s only so much you can do in a two-day hackathon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), the utilities and tooling around NFTs are still in their infancy.

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