Swiss-based non-profit Interchain Foundation, also known as ICF, has partnered with Bianjie, a blockchain development company, to introduce a new NFT standard called ICS-721 into its Cosmos network.
This standard aims to enable users to seamlessly track and transfer their NFTs across different blockchains, enhancing the interoperability of the NFT ecosystem.
ICS-721, named in homage to the ERC-721 NFT standard on Ethereum, operates as an application layer inter-blockchain communication (IBC) protocol. It allows various blockchains to communicate directly with each other without the need for a bridge, streamlining the process of transferring NFTs across disparate networks.
With the implementation of ICS-721, NFTs can be seamlessly integrated into a wide range of sectors within Web3, including gaming, socializing and identity management.
The newfound ability to transfer NFTs across blockchains presents significant advantages for Interchain NFTs, as it offers expanded functionality and opportunities through cross-chain interoperability, as explained by Interchain Foundation managing director Maria Gomez.
Bianjie founder and prominent Cosmos technical contributor Harriet Cao revealed that ICS-721 would initially be accessible on IBC-enabled Ethereum, Substrate, CosmWasm and Cosmos SDK chains. However, plans are underway to extend its availability to additional ecosystems, further broadening its reach.
To put ICS-721 to the test, a two-phase developer competition called the Game of NFTs was launched in March of this year.
Similar to previous Cosmos feature testing initiatives such as Game of Stakes and Game of Zones, the competition was held to gauge the capabilities of the ICS-721 protocol before its mainnet deployment.
During the first phase of the competition, 198 teams from around the world participated in various tasks and challenges designed to test the protocol’s functionality.
The competition, initiated by Bianjie in collaboration with multiple validator and developer teams, including IRISnet, Stargaze, Juno, Uptick and OmniFlix, garnered substantial attention and engagement.
Cao explained that the Cosmos ecosystem benefits from enhanced growth by attracting a more diverse range of creators, users, and developers.
“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,” he said.
Having completed Phase 1 of the Game of NFTs, Phase 2, an interchain hackathon, is currently underway. Participating teams have until June 19 to submit their projects for the hackathon, with over $300,000 worth of tokens and credits available as awards for the winners.
Striving toward secure ecosystem
Earlier this month, a group of Cosmos contributors joined forces to fund an initiative called Mesh Security to enhance the economic security of the network.
Mesh Security, distinct from Interchain Security (ICS), is designed to bolster the overall security of the Cosmos network while allowing individual blockchains to maintain their sovereignty.
In an interview, Sunny Aggarwal, co-founder of Osmosis Labs, compared Mesh Security to the NATO alliance, explaining that just as NATO countries defend each other in case of an attack, Mesh Security would provide collective security to all Cosmos ecosystem tokens.
Under the Mesh Security model, validators will not be required to run additional nodes. Instead, delegators can stake their tokens on their primary chain and restake them with validators on a partner chain.
If any misconduct occurs, staked tokens will be slashed on both the primary and partner chains, while delegators will receive additional staking rewards as compensation for taking on more risk.
While Mesh Security and ICS may seem like competing models, Aggarwal clarified that they serve different use cases. ICS is more suitable for new chains that want to launch quickly without establishing their own staking token and validator set. In contrast, Mesh Security targets larger Cosmos chains with their proof-of-stake systems.
The development of Mesh Security will occur in multiple phases. Phase 1 involves creating the architecture and deploying it on testnets. In Phase 2, the system will be tested and implemented on low-capital Cosmos consumer chains. Finally, Phase 3 will witness the deployment of an open-source mainnet.