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In this Nami’s Nexus piece, we explore the ERC-6551 standard for NFTs and discuss some of its potential applications in gaming
As we continue to look at the evolution of smart contract standards that can benefit gaming, in this piece, we spotlight ERC-6551. This proposed standard enables NFTs to function as wallets for other NFTs and tokens. There have been previous attempts to create a standard that can accomplish this, including Game7 DAO's recent effort earlier this year. However, challenges such as compatibility issues with ERC-721 NFTs and “soul-binding” of assets within the NFT wallet have come up during implementation.
Iterating on standards for impact
The adoption of a contract standard is often driven by the success of prominent projects, be it a game, marketplace or another significant development. While the ERC-721 standard initially gained traction through Cryptokitties, its true breakthrough only came when major successes like Axie Infinity and BAYC NFTs proved their value. However, the true challenge with this standard may be in determining how it can create a substantial impact. Nevertheless, the repeated efforts to establish such a standard clearly reflect the growing interest in pushing the boundaries of what smart contracts can achieve.
Use case: Inventory content
In the realm of gaming, the most obvious application comes in the form of inventories for NPCs, which can be purchased and sold while keeping their inventory contents. This functionality holds great potential, particularly for recent RPGs like Stella Fantasy, where both characters and their gear are transformed into tradable NFTs, allowing for a more diverse offering on the market. If embraced by marketplaces, there could even be opportunities to enable the acquisition of individual assets owned by NPCs.
Enabling on-chain NPC activities
This can create situations where the NPC itself is not available for sale but instead functions as an on-chain sales vendor, akin to the mechanism used in the MMO Ultima Online. This opens up a myriad of possibilities for on-chain NPC activities, ranging from autonomous behavior using their assets to players trading these NPCs while retaining their assets and allowing them to continue to engage in activities. Notably, Mini Royale: Nations recently introduced a simplified version of this concept, enabling Gear NFTs to be owned by NFT character skins, thereby enabling the transfer of the entire kit as a single asset.
Building intricate structures
Looking past RPG systems, there are other interesting possibilities involving items owning other items. Imagine a 4x style game where cities themselves are represented as NFTs and own various elements such as factories, NPC residents, and treasury assets. This would enable the transfer of city ownership in a decentralized manner, surpassing the limitations of a more centralized "city deed" style NFT. While such capabilities have been somewhat feasible with existing technology (such as SFTs and other smart contract iterations), upgrading standards allows the construction of more complex infrastructure that ultimately paves the way for new opportunities.
Expanding the capabilities of decentralized technology
The internet serves as a prime example of this concept. Initially, web browsers relied on inefficient ****plugins and scripting to accomplish various tasks. However, as standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and WebGL evolved, we saw the emergence of a significantly more resilient web infrastructure. In the context of decentralized technology, the aim is to expand the technology’s capabilities beyond that of the global Ethereum network. In view of the recent surge in artificial intelligence, it seems to be the right moment to extend decentralization and enable NFTs to operate more autonomously.
Seeking a native web3 gaming platform
As it stands, much of this may seem like a solution seeking a problem until a game or application emerges that makes its value glaringly obvious. Achieving widespread adoption of on-chain games that are seamlessly efficient may take some time, however, as we gradually build different decentralized aspects within gaming, we inch closer to making it a viable reality. Many questioned the viability of mobile as a gaming platform, particularly after significant failures like the N-Gage. Yet, the quality of mobile games is now beginning to rival that of earlier consoles. Considering that web3 currently lacks a prominent native platform, hopefully, increasing decentralization of the backend will allow it to be a kind of its own.
Thank you for reading this piece of our weekly series “Nami’s Nexus”, where we look to decode web3 gaming and dive into the various intricacies of the industry and beyond. Don't forget to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter to receive more web3 gaming content.