6 Ways to Protect Your Artwork from NFT Theft

People have been stealing art since time immemorial. As long as an artist is willing to post their work on a public forum, there is always a risk that someone might steal it and profit off their work.

NFTs offer a unique way for artists to sell their art, offering them greater protection against theft. And yet, there have been many cases of NFTs being stolen or copied without the author’s explicit permission.

Protecting your artwork from NFT theft is very important. Here’s how you can do that.

What Are NFTs?

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital file that’s been minted as a unique non-fungible token. It’s a little bit like a digital certificate in that it ensures that only one true copy of the NFT is the real one, and since it’s on the blockchain, anyone can check its authenticity.

And yet, most people aren’t aware of NFT safety. While it may appear difficult, NFTs can be stolen. And, there are several really expensive NFTs. which is why it’s so important to take steps and protect your artwork.

Can Your Artwork be Stolen via NFTs?

If someone gets a hold of your seed phrase or finds a way to access your wallet, there’s a very strong chance that you’ll lose any NFTs linked to it. First off, you should know that artists do have legal protections, though these hardly deter digital thieves.

If your wallet is compromised and someone transfers your NFTs to another wallet, you won’t have any recourse. It’s a simple case of transferring ownership that will appear completely legal during the verification process.


That’s because all blockchain transactions are anonymous, and generally, irreversible. Unfortunately, if you don’t take steps to protect yourself, there is a real chance that your artwork can be stolen. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect all types of NFTs in your collection.

6 Practical Steps to Protect Your Artwork from NFT Theft

Here are six practical steps that you can take today to protect your artwork from NFT theft.

1. Store Your NFTs in a Non-Custodial Wallet

A non-custodial wallet is a wallet where you’re in charge of the private keys that protect your NFTs and your cryptocurrency. A hardware non-custodial wallet offers greater security than a custodial wallet, which simply means storing your NFTs on an exchange or a marketplace.

Non-custodial wallets, such as the Ledger, require you to remember a seed phrase, which is up to 24 words long. On top of that, there are other protective measures, such as using a PIN and requiring the physical device to access your cryptocurrency.

Switching to a non-custodial wallet offers greater security and protects you from phishing attacks, which is a popular form of NFT theft. Unless you don’t give out your seed phrase to anyone, your cryptocurrency will remain safe on the blockchain, even if you lose the physical device.

2. Trade on Established, Trustworthy Marketplaces

There are several NFT marketplaces out there, but it’s important that you trade on only established marketplaces that have a strong reputation in the community. Some of the best NFT marketplaces also take extra steps to verify user identity and provide a safe portal for people to buy and sell NFTs.

For instance, OpenSea is a popular NFT marketplace that lets you buy and sell NFTs from several popular creators. You can even mint your own NFTs for free there. And, to protect against digital theft, OpenSea shows you a history of the NFT’s ownership.

You can also converse with the buyer, and in case you have any doubt, they also offer support options. Exchanges are jumping in on the trend as well, with the Coinbase NFT marketplace also a popular choice amongst buyers and sellers.

Instead of making deals through independent channels, it’s always a better idea to sell or purchase NFTs through established marketplaces. Almost all of these support MetaMask, a popular non-custodial digital wallet, so you won’t be compromising on security either.

3. Evaluate Each Deal Carefully and Exercise Prudent Judgement

Scammers often take a very targeted approach, preying on people’s hopes and naivety. When buying or selling artwork online, it’s always wise to exercise prudent judgement.

Be cautious when making any deal, and if you’re buying through a marketplace, take a look at the user’s rating or overall transaction history. It’ll give you a much better idea about whether you should go ahead with it or not.

For instance, if you receive an offer that seems too good to be true, avoid going through with it. Similarly, if someone tries to push you into making a deal quickly, avoid hurrying into making a decision.

It’s also important to understand that in some cases, NFT thieves will just create digital copies of your artwork and start offering it online. The best way to protect against this is to copyright your art, thus preventing its illegal distribution or reproduction.

And, it’s also important for you to mention in the description that you own the exclusive copyrights to the artwork and state its intended use. For instance, if you don’t want people using your artwork for a specific purpose, you can mention that.

This way, in case you find your artwork being sold online on NFT marketplaces, you can simply approach them and have them take it down.

5. Add a Watermark

One of the best ways to protect your artwork against NFT theft is to add a watermark to your images. You should only offer the non-watermarked version online to a legitimate buyer. This way, even if they decide to resell, you can simply verify the authenticity of the transaction online.

Ideally, you should use a watermark that is transparent and covers the entirety of the image. This is a simple, yet highly effective way that’ll protect your artwork from digital theft.

6. Avoid Installing Fake Extensions or Spyware

Hackers and thieves often use fake browser extensions or carefully disguised spyware, such as keyloggers, to record your seed phrases. Avoid downloading any unverified extensions or programs on your computer.

In some cases, thieves ask users to install an extension, often claiming that it’ll help verify whether you own the rights to the image or not. Ultimately, these applications are harmful and can lead to serious loss.

NFTs are Revolutionizing More Than Just the Art Industry

NFTs offer artists a secure and authentic way of selling their artwork and profiting from it. But NFTs aren’t just limited to artwork. Almost any digital file or asset can be an NFT, which offers unique opportunities to musicians and other content creators too!

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