Immutable X has made media headlines as the first Layer 2 protocol for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Ethereum. The project offers an NFT marketplace through the Immutable X Exchange and has implemented a novel NFT scaling solution to facilitate mass adoption of the platform. Immutable X offers zero-fee, instant trading which can be implemented for scalability in decentralized gaming, exchanges, marketplaces, and more!
Alongside creating a layer 2 solution for NFTs, Immutable X also claims to be the first 100% carbon neutral NFT marketplace. This means no excess energy was wasted during the creation and transaction of the NFTs.
In this article, we’re going to discuss non-fungible token (NFT) scaling solutions and explore the Immutable X ecosystem. Also, we’ll explore the Immutable X Exchange (NFT marketplace) and the ability to mint and trade your own NFTs. Furthermore, we’ll look at why scaling solutions are needed for NFTs and what this could mean for the NFT industry.
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What is Immutable X?
Immutable X is a layer 2 protocol built on Ethereum to facilitate scaling solutions for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The protocol boasts many advantages for both users of the NFT marketplace (Immutable X Exchange), plus artists selling their NFTs. Moreover, as the project doesn’t use any tokens, the protocol cannot be subject to a 51% attack or ransom attack.
Immutable X is an open-source protocol that allows anyone to develop their own decentralized marketplace, blockchain-based games, and various other decentralized applications facilitating instant trades with zero gas fees. We will dive deeper into how this works further in the article. However, first, we will recap what non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are and their various use cases.
What are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) come in all shapes and sizes, representing a piece of individual unique data. As opposed to a fungible currency that can be interchanged as a medium of exchange, NFTs hold unique value. Also, NFTs cannot be broken down into smaller units, replicated, or exchanged for another identical token of equal value.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have use cases across a broad array of industries. For example, tokenizing blood donations and samples, using blockchain in the healthcare industry, allows all parties involved in the transfer to transparently view the real-time location of the sample, potentially including data points such as temperature and weight. This would be able to indicate whether a sample has been spilled or spoilt en route. Tokenizing items by creating them as NFTs can revolutionize the supply chain industry. Also, items such as certificates, diplomas, or insurance, or financial bonds, can all be tokenized on the blockchain as NFTs.
However, the most predominant use case for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at present, is the gaming and digital art industries. Additionally, NFTs in the music industry have recently been hitting the headlines. But, the majority of NFTs available through popular NFT marketplaces are tokenized artwork and digital in-game items that can be used and transferred across different decentralized games. Some of these include Decentraland, The Sandbox, and SuperFarm. It has been argued that blockchain-based gaming is helping to bring mass adoption to the crypto industry, in an exciting, engaging, and non-intrusive manner.
Why Do We Need NFT Scaling Solutions?
NFT marketplaces are platforms where artists can sell their work and investors or gamers can purchase non-fungible token (NFT) items. NFTs can cause quite a lot of attraction. In 2017, the first NFT collectibles game CryptoKitties drew a significant amount of congestion to the Ethereum Network during a popular period. When the demand on the network goes up, so too does the gas fees.
Gas fees are used to cover the cost of the computational power required to facilitate a transaction on the Ethereum Network. As such, when network activity is high, the cost of transacting for a non-fungible token (NFT) can be worth more than the NFT itself!
Several other NFT marketplaces offer a vast choice of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), however, suffer Ethereum’s high gas fees with network congestion when executing transactions. Immutable X has implemented novel ways to create a layer 2 NFT scaling solution. This offers drastically lower gas fees and facilitates scaling without jeopardizing security, privacy, or user experience.
Immutable X: Layer 2 for NFTs
Immutable X was focused on creating a non-fungible token (NFT) platform that could scale without compromise. After considering other blockchains, the team decided Ethereum is the best blockchain to build on. This is due to it being the largest smart contract-enabled blockchain in the world, and with this, comes network security. Layer 2 solutions are protocols that are built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Layer 2 solutions can be achieved through various development protocols or chains. These include sidechains, Plasma chains, State Channels, Rollups, Optimistic Rollups, and ZK-Rollups. After carefully considering all of the aforementioned options, Immutable X chose to implement ZK-Rollups.
ZK-Rollups is a layer 2 option that bundles together hundreds of transactions into one single transaction. This single transaction can then be deconstructed by smart contracts to verify each transaction individually. Using a “zero-knowledge proof” method for publicly recording transactions on the Ethereum blockchain, ZK-Rollups reduces the amount of storage and computational power required to validate blocks, as zero knowledge of the complete transaction data is required for a transaction to be verified. Moreover, ZK-Rollups allows for limitless scalability and instant transaction confirmations without compromising the security of assets.
The Immutable X engine facilitates 600x more transactions per second (TPS) than other Ethereum-based NFT marketplaces. Also, transactions on Immutable X are instant. This means no interruptions to gameplay or interference with the user experience. Users of Immutable X maintain custody of their assets and can place buy orders for NFTs based on specific criteria and functionality.
Immutable X Exchange
Immutable X Exchange aims to be the leading peer-to-peer non-fungible token (NFT) exchange offering zero gas fees. Although technically an NFT marketplace, the project refers to this protocol as its ‘Exchange’. Moreover, with throughput exceeding 9,000 transactions per second (TPS), transactions are finalized near instantly. For gamers, the timing of transactions can be crucial to achieving time-sensitive quests and challenges within games. Immutable X Exchange means gamers can purchase valuable in-game items swiftly, paying no fees, creating new opportunities for decentralized gaming.
For traders or artists, users can set their own trading fees. This falls in line with Immutable X’s decentralized ethos and approach. The exchange doesn’t use a centralized sidechain and can facilitate exchange trades as non-custodial transactions. This means users have ownership of the private keys of their non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Immutable X Exchange offers the security of the Ethereum mainnet with added scalability features. Moreover, the Exchange protocol supports both the ERC-721 and the ERC-1155 Ethereum NFT token standards. This means that items can be sold through Immutable X as one unit (ERC-721, e.g. a sword) or as multiple units together (ERC-1155, e.g. a suit of armor featuring a helmet, body plate, and defense weapon).
Immutable X Minting NFTs
The Immutable X Mint function allows anyone to create and distribute their tokenized artwork on a large scale. Most non-fungible token (NFT) minting platforms require gas fees for creating the non-fungible token. However, with Immutable X, artists don’t need to pay for gas! Whether you’re an artist minting single or bulk items, Immutable X can facilitate these requests with zero gas costs. This includes support for both ERC-721 and ERC-115 token standards. Referred to as “high-performance minting”, Immutable X is in place to get NFTs to market as quickly as possible.
Immutable X offers a super simple and easy way for anyone to design and sell their non-fungible token (NFT) artwork. Digital assets that have been minted through Immutable X are available to trade on the open market immediately. Moreover, this is achieved with the underlying security of the Ethereum Network.
Immutable X Games Developer Grant Application
Calling all blockchain developers! Immutable X is currently accepting applications for its ‘Immutable X Developer Grants’ scheme. The project is looking for individuals and teams alike interested in building decentralized games, exchanges, and applications on Ethereum. At the time of writing, Immutable X is accepting applications through a Google Form accessible through the Immutable X website. The application process will involve listing your project’s name, website, the company behind the project, contact details including email, Telegram, or Discord, and reasons why you feel Immutable X would be a good host for your application. Further details are to be announced.
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Immutable X Roadmap
The Immutable X Alpha version was launched on April 9th, 2021. As the team behind Immutable X are also the developers behind the popular Gods Unchained collectibles game, it was only natural the first non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to be available through the NFT marketplace were the Gods Unchained collectibles, selling a new series of ‘Trail of the Gods’ cards. This is as per the Deus phase 1 milestone on the Immutable X roadmap.
In the Cosmos phase 2 stage, Immutable X will integrate with other applications and exchanges on Ethereum. During Metaverse phase 3, the team will focus on scalability, expansion, and optimization. The Immutable X blog suggests this phase will introduce wallet management and a mobile application. Moreover, as we move from the Metaverse phase 3, to Multiverse phase 4, the team will be working on improving the trading user experience. This phase will include updates to the graphical user interface (GUI) alongside introducing an automated market maker (AMM) for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Utopia phase 5 is some distance away yet, determined when “the world is a more tradable place”. Immutable X is using this phase to continue planning for the future of the project, accounting for new unforeseen innovative features along the way. Vertical NFT scaling solutions could be potential new features of the Utopia phase 5 upgrade, with a vision for trading physical NFT assets such as real estate.
There is no set time frame for these developments. Rather, once the project – or crypto industry as a whole – has reached certain milestones of adoption, will each new phase come into play.
Immutable X Summary
Immutable X is the first layer 2 non-fungible token (NFT) scaling solution based on Ethereum. The project uses innovative protocols to allow artists and traders alike to use the NFT marketplace with zero gas fees. Moreover, this is achieved with near-instant finality, supporting over 9,000 transactions per second (TPS).
Immutable X has an active, engaging community, with a frequently updated blog for the latest features and updates to the project. The project aims to become integrated with every application and exchange on Ethereum, offering scalability without compromise. Also, Immutable X boasts its 100% carbon neutral NFT marketplace. This means every other application, marketplace, or exchange building on the project also being 100% carbon neutral. As non-fungible tokens become more heavily featured throughout our daily lives, Immutable X will certainly be a top NFT marketplace contender on Ethereum!
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