Kusama introduces 'art legos': Complex programmable NFTs

Now that NFTs are well known and desirable in the digital art world, Kusama wants to add complex functionality to make them even more valuable.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

People are going crazy to own NFTs -- digital Non Fungible Tokens -- stored on the blockchain, which represents digital assets stored on-chain.

They record things like proof of ownership or collateral against a trade, collectable, or a loan. The NFT market has exploded in 2021, with over $2B spent on NFTs during the first quarter of this year.

Now the Kusama relay chain network has introduced complexity into NFT's by introducing what it calls 'art legos' on its RMRK (pronounced remark) NFT system.

Data on the relay chain is simple in structure -- so the RMRK network does not use complex smart contracts. Instead, it writes notes representing each NFT onto blocks on the chain using a concept called "art legos".

Similar to the coloured bricks, these art legos act as building blocks for NFTs to connect to each other, nest, and add to the complexity of the initial primitive NFT. These new art legos are programmable and potentially more valuable to the owner.

RMRK will also have a smart-contract-only version of its deployment, which will be suitable for non-modifiable blockchains like EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) -- based chains that can only work using smart contracts and not complexities such as runtime upgrades.

The concept of "money legos" is already familiar across the Ethereum network. There, different alt-finance primitive items connect to make larger, more complex structures in the "Decentralized Finance" or DeFi movement.

The Kusama relay chain connects other blockchains, including Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC). This relay -- similar to the central chain used by the Polkadot network -- adds features of each connected chain to its feature set.

This means that companies could develop an application-specific blockchain using their private data and share this with other chains by using the relay chain. This enables enterprises to keep their data sovereignty and logical isolation intact.

Gamers could own a card listing their avatar's characteristics as an NFT -- characteristics that can vary in desirability and rarity.

Their avatar can also carry equipment -- another NFT. So the NFT avatar can 'own' other NFT's -- essentially nesting parent/child NFTs and making these more complex with rendering or having the ability to perform actions.

Games such as Kanaria recently launched as an Initial Collectible Offering on the Kusama network show how nested NFT's can work. The Kanaria offering is a set of limited-edition NFTs that aims to fund the RMRK Team and its projects.

Kusama introduces 'art legos' - complex programmable NFTs

NFTs can own other NFTs, so an in-game character (itself an NFT) can own a backpack (NFT) that contains items (NFTs). Each bit of digital ownership can link together.

They can have conditional rendering -- dependent on the platform hosted or the value of the NFT, and they can be emoted on on-chain.

Whilst this seems advantageous for gamification, it can also be used for businesses to test the price of an item. Businesses can discover the potential value of an NFT before putting it on the market by gauging the reaction to the NFT through emojis.

Bruno Skvorc, the Founder of RMRK, said: "The age of useful, reactionary, customizable, nested NFTs is upon us, and only the NFT makers' creativity is the limit."

The RMRK NFTs are compatible with Ethereum or other EVM chains if they're used via a bridge that limits their functionality and turns them into static assets like those encountered on Ethereum. RMRK recommends using the blockchains offered by the Substrate framework in the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems.

NFTs certainly have the ability to become useful in a wider range of use cases than just being a single-use token. Nested and complex NFT's are certainly going to transform gamification as more and more complexity is added to the feature set.

Rather than your NFT being an expensive dust-gathering digital image, your programmable NFT could become so much more.

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