This post is a follow-up to the official Zenon medium post on Steganography NFTs. In this post, I would like to open a discussion on the possible applications that Steganography enables in an NFT ecosystem.
It is important to understand the difference between Steganography and Cryptography from a use-case standpoint. Then you can argue that some of the use-cases for Steganography are actually possible to do with Cryptography.
Steganography is basically a higher level of security compared to Cryptography. When two parties are using cryptography, a third party can be aware of communication happening but they cannot reveal the actual messages being communicated. But Stegonagraphy is used when parties what to conceal the fact that communication is taking place and no third party can have a clue that some messages had been exchanged.
Steganography is expected to be a more resource-intensive process compared to cryptographic methods as it’s working with multimedia objects. So it is not logical to do an application using Steganography if it’s possible to be done by cryptography.
Treasure hunt: An artist claims that in his next collection, only one of the NFTs contains a secret steganography text which is a 12 word phrase of a wallet with 1 BTC in it.
The fact that everyone knows that one NFT contains a message, makes it convenient to do this use-case by cryptography rather than Steganography.
For this case, we know that NFTs have metadata and the artist can add a
reward attribute to the metadata of the NFT in a form of a cryptographic text and that
reward is only unlockable by the owner’s private key. This attribute is
empty for all the NFTs in the collection except for the one that is a treasure.
Some other examples of lottery, access to secret communities, discount codes, in-game items, and easter eggs, can similarly be done with cryptographic metadata.
The following is another example that also can be done with cryptography but I thought it’s cooler to do it with Steganography:
Multi Image NFT: An artist can list an NFT and claims it contains 5 arts in one file. If you buy it, you can unlock the file but you’ll only see 1 art out of 5. Depending on how many times this NFT had been passed on from one owner to another, the art content changes.
So in this forum, I wanted to ask the community to brainstorm on this matter and suggest use-cases for Steganography. I understand that sometimes we make doing things possible and we will be surprised by how creatively people will use it. But I think it’s worth raising the question at this stage.
What can we do with Steganography?