• On Polkadot & Kusama, Gavin Wood made multi-chain NFTs a reality

  • Following a major modification to its consensus algorithm, Polkadot and Kusama have become the first blockchains to support multi-chain NFTs.

    The update, which adds support for non-fungible tokens on the Cross-Consensus Message Format (XCM), will let them to be “teleported” from one chain to another and then monitored between chains.

    Polkadot announced the change on Twitter and detailed the technical details in a Github post.

    With https://t.co/PEkmF5SvzZ @Polkadot & @kusamanetwork will have support for NFTs in XCMv3, including the ability to teleport them and even have chains which can be permissionlessly used host NFTs native to chain in the XCM universe as reserve-backed assets.— Gavin Wood (@gavofyork) February 23, 2022

    Because its entire premise is to tackle the problem of blockchain interoperability, the Polkadot blockchain is best equipped to implement such a functionality. Polkadot is a large network that includes not just its main blockchain but many “parachains,” which will number in the hundreds. The parachains all serve distinct use cases and protocols, and they all run in parallel with the main Polkadot chain, with the main benefit being that any asset, token, or data may be transferred between them.

    Meanwhile, Kusama is a public pre-production environment for Polkadot that allows developers to test and experiment with new blockchains and applications before releasing them to the network. Kusama, like Polkadot, has a lot of parachains.

    XCM is a message format that specifies how messages should be sent between chains. It’s intended to serve as a common language for communication between multiple consensus methods, with all data on a message transfer passing through the Polkadot or Kusama relay chains. This enables XCM to accelerate trusted communications between any two parachains by allowing any parachain on those networks to verify those messages.

    Polkadot and Kusama have effectively introduced the notion of multi-chain NFTs by introducing support for NFTs on XCM. NFTs can now exist on any blockchain inside their own networks. It might pave the way for NFTs to play a bigger part in business transactions, with tokens being used as payment, as well as to represent orders and other things. It will also allow NFT holders to better leverage their tokens, for as by borrowing funds from a DeFi platform on a different chain and using their tokens as collateral.

    Others argue that interoperable NFTs would help expedite adoption. The NFT landscape is currently extremely fragmented. While the most of them are built on the Ethereum blockchain, there are a few that aren’t. As a result, there are now many NFT marketplaces for each type of token, which can be confusing for newcomers. Polkadot and Kusama will assist to alleviate much of the complexity around NFTs and expedite adoption by allowing them to “teleport” onto other chains.

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