Adding unlockable content to NFTs has been a popular way to engage and reward collectors, but not all unlockable content is created equal.

Platforms like OpenSea offer an unlockable content feature to creators who use its apps to mint their NFTs. In the early days, this was one of the only options creators had to provide collectors who bought their NFTs with exclusive access to content.

But OpenSea’s feature is extremely limited—and, if you’re a creator drawn to web3 because you care about controlling your content, you should know it’s a centralized, token-gating approach with very little difference from web2’s model.

  • OpenSea only allows creators to add text to the unlockable file. No multimedia files are allowed.
  • Links are allowed, though, which means if you want to share multimedia files with collectors, you need to host them elsewhere and link to them from within the OpenSea text file
  • The text file is not stored onchain, but on OpenSea’s servers, leaving it susceptible to the well-known risks of centralization. For example, if OpenSea ever shut down or discontinued its unlockable content feature, your collectors would lose access to that content.
  • Because the file is stored on OpenSea’s servers and has no real ties to the NFT, it is not portable or composable. In other words, your collectors can’t connect their wallet on another NFT marketplace or platform and access the file. Just like web2’s model (e.g., you can’t read your Kindle books on another ereader or watch that movie you bought on Apple Movies via the Netflix app), there’s no true ownership there.

This is web3. We can do much better.

At Darkblock, we’ve created a web3-native solution for creators who want to provide their collectors with exclusive access to content.

What does “web3-native mean”? It means we forgot everything we know about how creators currently sell premium content, and how we purchase and consume it. Then, we began with first principles to build a new solution that avoids web2’s pitfalls and instead leverages a cryptographic technique known as proxy re-encryption, decentralized storage, and blockchain technology’s ability to provide trustless, immutable and verifiable recordkeeping of ownership and provenance.

The result is the Darkblock Protocol, which enables creators to encrypt and permanently attach multimedia files to their NFTs, creating token-bound content that travels with the NFT (i.e., it’s portable because it’s not stored on any one platform’s servers) and is only unlockable by the NFT’s owner. Encrypted files are stored on Arweave, avoiding the platform-centric constraints of web2 and token gating.

For creators exploring web3-native solutions that give them more control over how they sell and distribute their content, Darkblock emerges as the clear winner when compared to OpenSea’s centralized, inflexible approach.

Let’s break down why Darkblock’s token-bound content surpasses OpenSea’s unlockable content in providing creators with control, flexibility, and confidence that their content won’t disappear one day.

Portability and Composability

OpenSea’s unlockable content is confined to the platform, which means that’s the only place collectors can access your content.

By storing encrypted files on an open and decentralized storage network, your token-bound content becomes portable and composable.

Portability means the token-bound files travel with the NFT and can be unlocked and accessed from any app, platform, or marketplace that integrates the protocol, as well as from a creator’s own website via our open-source Darkblock Viewer, which is as easy to embed as a YouTube video. As the network of integrated apps expands, this portability empowers creators to reach wider audiences beyond a single platform, enhancing discoverability and engagement.

Composability means developers can use Darkblock’s permissionless protocol to build apps and platforms that can freely use the token-bound content as media building blocks to create new user experiences and monetization opportunities that empower creators and consumers.

Some examples of composability:

  • A music streaming app that scans a user’s wallet for token-bound MP3s they bought from musicians, then plays those tracks on the user’s Alexa device
  • An ereader app that imports a user’s token-bound PDFs or EPUBs purchased directly from authors or publishers
  • A video player or TV app that streams token-bound films, videos, or cartoons
  • A game or metaverse that uploads a user’s token-bound assets at runtime, whether avatars, digital wearables, or other digital goods (Darkblock’s Unity plug-in already enables this)

Expanded Content Possibilities

OpenSea’s unlockable content is limited to plain-text content. While this may suffice for certain applications, creators who want to offer a more immersive experience through multimedia content, such as videos, audio files, or interactive elements will be disappointed.

Darkblock enables creators to attach a diverse range of files to their NFTs, including MP4s, MP3s, PDFs, EPUBs, HTML, GLB, and more. This opens up new possibilities for creators to deliver premium content and unlock innovative web3-native business models.

Long-term Viability and Interoperability

As the NFT ecosystem continues to evolve, ensuring the longevity and compatibility of your content is crucial. OpenSea’s unlockable content is tied to the platform itself, meaning the content’s availability and accessibility relies on the platform’s existence.

Centralized approaches will always be susceptible to single-points of failure, which is why Darkblock is progressively decentralizing every step in the content journey from creator to consumer: encryption, storage, and access.

When you use Darkblock, you’re future-proofing your content.

Darkblock stores the encrypted content on Arweave, a decentralized storage network that’s designed to be self-sustaining and permissionless. The encrypted files are bound to the NFT via immutable metadata, providing long-term viability and interoperability across various platforms and marketplaces, safeguarding the value of the content for both creators and collectors. Darkblock has also open-sourced its Viewer, which means anyone (not just Darkblock) can embed a Viewer on their website and give owners a portal to unlock and access their token-bound content.


While OpenSea’s unlockable content feature has its merits, Darkblock emerges as the clear frontrunner for creators seeking enhanced security, decentralization, expanded content possibilities, and long-term viability. By adopting Darkblock’s token-bound content approach, creators can leverage the power of web3-native solutions, reaching new audiences, fostering fan engagement, and forging their path in the decentralized creator economy.