An Interoperable NFT Standard Has Landed on Cosmos

This new NFT standard (ICS-721) will enable users to transfer their NFTs across blockchains

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Swiss-based non-profit organization the Interchain Foundation (ICF) has partnered with Bianjie, a blockchain development company, to launch a new NFT standard. Users utilizing the new standard, dubbed ICS-721, will now be able to track and transfer their NFTs across different blockchains.

ICS-721 — an homage to the ERC 721 NFT standard on Ethereum — is an application layer inter-blockchain communication (IBC) protocol, which means that it enables blockchains to communicate with one another without the need for a bridge.

This new standard can enable NFTs to be integrated into various sectors in Web3. These include gaming, socializing, identity management and many others, Maria Gomez, managing director at the Interchain Foundation told Blockworks. 

“The surge in profile picture (PFP) projects highlighted an earlier trend in NFT technology, but this also led to questions about their long-term value and sustainability. As the industry evolves, the focus is expected to shift toward utility and real-world applications,” Gomez said. 

Here, Interchain NFTs are expected to hold a distinct advantage, as the standard offers enhanced functionality and possibilities through cross-chain interoperability, she notes.

Harriet Cao, the founder of Bianjie and a prominent technical contributor to Cosmos, told Blockworks that ICS-721 will be initially accessible on all IBC-enabled Ethereum, Substrate, CosmWasm and Cosmos SDK chains. There are plans to expand its availability to additional ecosystems in the future.

The Game of NFTs

A two-phase competition for developers called the Game of NFTs, designed to test out ICS-721, launched earlier in March this year. The name is a continuation of prior Cosmos feature testing efforts, Game of Stakes and Game of Zones.

The first phase of the competition drew the attention of 198 teams worldwide, Cao said. Each team had to go through different tasks and challenges with the ultimate goal of testing the protocol’s capabilities before its mainnet deployment. 

The competition was proposed by Bianjie in partnership with multiple validator and developer teams including those from IRISnet, Stargaze, Juno, Uptick and OmniFlix. 

“The Cosmos ecosystem benefits from enhanced growth as it attracts a more diverse range of creators, users, and developers,” Cao said. “This, in turn, fuels creativity and drives innovation, positioning the Cosmos ecosystem as the Interchain of Blockchain for cutting-edge developments in the world of NFTs.”

After completion of Phase 1 of the Game of NFTs, Phase 2 — an interchain hackathon, is now underway.

Teams will have until June 19 to submit their projects for the hackathon and over $300,000 worth of tokens and credits will be awarded to winners.


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