If you find yourself on this article chances are you feel as though an NFT is ‘missing’ or lost forever. Though - rest your mind as that is almost NEVER the case. Chances are you just aren’t looking in all the places it could be hiding!
Firstly, let’s cover some ground about where NFTs live. NFTs always live inside a blockchain address. In this example we will use an NFT on the Cardano blockchain. There are many different types of Cardano addresses but the two primary types that concern locating an NFT are either a regular wallet address like the one inside your Nami, Eternl, or Flint chrome extension wallet etc. Or inside a marketplace contract address. Sometimes referred to as a “smart contract” address as this is a familiar term with the Ethereum audience.
Two fantastic tools for quickly checking to see if an NFT is in a particular address are firstly - pool.pm. A more graphical interface where you can also see more visual data such as images and artwork attached to the image. A second option would be cardanoscan where data is less visual and perhaps more friendly towards a more technical user or developers. But both can help us find that ‘missing’ NFT.
If you happen to know the policyId and the exact name of the asset we can use cardanoscan.com to find our elusive NFT.
The assetId can be crafted by concatenating the policyId + the hex encoded asset name. This may seem extremely technical but even just entering the exact asset name (as it is on the Cardano blockchain) into an online hex encoding tool will do the trick here.
Then, assuming your original asset name was correct, entering our new assetId in to the search on cardanoscan should reveal all the transaction history about our NFT that was previous missing.
Transaction Tracing an NFT.
Copy the wallet address where you last remember the NFT was. This is likely your own wallet address.
At this point you will see all the Fungible and Non-Fungible Tokens in this wallet. Maybe you have found it already? If the asset is in your wallet it is still in your possession and under your control.
If you don’t see it here then we should look into the transaction history of the wallet to see when it left. For this we will need cardanoscan.com. But before we head there click on the address at the top of the page on pool. Then also at the top you should see a unique stake key at the top. Click this and copy the stake key from the url.
The last step is to then paste this stake key into the search bar on cardanoscan.com and click ‘View All Addresses’. If an address has any ADA in the wallet it is a good wallet to look inside for the NFT. By checking the transaction history of each wallet that has been used it will help you find where the NFT was sent and when.