Non-fungible tokens or NFTs have never been more popular, thanks largely to the interest and exposure of the last couple of years, particularly in the art and collectible scene. It has also enjoyed great success in the same period within the blockchain gaming sector.
While the technology itself has been around since at least 2016, NFT art and especially more recently, NFT gaming, have emerged as solid evidence that utility in the crypto space transcends the buying and selling of digital assets to something a bit more tangible and relatable.
In fairness, the market for NFTs that has expanded to one of billions of dollars continues to be predominantly in the digital art sector – collectible GIFs and JPEGs that prove ownership of unique pieces of art celebrating the internet and crypto meme culture.
However, there is already a shift happening in what makes an NFT, and blockchain MMORPG Cradles is driving this change with a novel innovation that goes beyond a simple representation of unique artwork.
This isn’t to say that static images (or really, coordinates that point to an immortalized stamp of the original image) haven’t had their role in how successful NFTs have been. Indeed, without the breathlessness of how Bored Apes Yacht Club swept the world, or how CryptoPunks broke the ground for pop crypto, NFTs might have remained deep within the confines of technospeak and internet geekery.
Yet the widely adopted ERC-721 protocol (among other protocols), which set forth the token standards for NFTs as we know them, was never designed to do more than represent unique representations of physical items in the digital or Web3 space.
Thus, NFTs in their current form are stuck with their own set of limitations, restricted in the form to the minuscule amount of data their protocols allow on each token.
Though NFT gaming has also taken decentralized applications and Web3 over some remarkable milestones – gaming Dapps are still the most popularly used applications in the decentralized space – the most successful aspect of an NFT (non-fungibility) is holding it back from reaching higher achievements.
For an NFT to be solely reliant on its perceived rarity aspect (again, a highly subjective matter) simply isn’t enough to sustain interest and further technology – and in gaming, where inventiveness and creativity are the only markers of progress, NFTs on their current limits are at the end of the innovation road. The dwindling speculative markets for NFTs now is proof of that.
This is where the EIP-3664 proposal – developed by DRepublic, the makers of blockchain MMORPG Cradles – enters the picture to provide a new standard for NFTs and how they are defined.
Like each EIP before it, EIP-3664 comes with advancements for tokens on the Ethereum blockchain (and essentially most of the major alternative blockchains compatible with the Ethereum environment).
Instead of mere static NFTs in games representing unique entities whose characteristics cannot be changed, EIP-3664 allows NFTs to be used, manipulated and interacted with by the players.
Players would be able to create “component” NFTs, crafting them from basic raw materials (themselves malleable NFTs), and changing the traits of an NFT within a game simply by adding and removing other components. This way, the NFTs become dynamic in a way that can aid in continuously evolving gameplay while also retaining their original capabilities and be sold or transferred to other players.
DRepublic’s work on the EIP-3664 proposal is intended to be the technological core of its upcoming game, Cradles: Origin of Species. In their virtual world, gamers would finally be able to create and interact with every single element, assembling and disassembling items, materials, and even characters. Every single one of these elements would be tokens that would be customizable and combinable in unlimited ways.
Under the hood, NFTs with fungible and non-fungible capabilities will be used to represent all of these buildings, items, clothing, equipment, gear, and characters, allowing all of them to continuously evolve and change.
Instead of a centralized server determining phases of time, these NFTs will attempt a metaverse fundamental yet to be achieved in a game. Cradles’ unique “entropy-increasing” world will see players, their items, and their environment constantly evolving as (block) time passes.
Cradles founder T.Y. explains how EIP-3664 creates this possibility by allowing “NFTs to carry significantly more information, resulting in various new types of NFTs that can be assembled and combined freely, giving them variable properties that would enable almost any functions one might desire in an NFT.”
An important fact about NFTs created as EIP-3664 tokens is that they do not lose their collectibility value. Instead, they expand the possibilities for these NFTs, especially when it comes to gaming. They basically take these NFTs, which would otherwise have little to no real utility beyond speculation, and place them in a world where they can provide actual utility as easily customizable in-game items and as building blocks for a constantly evolving metaverse.
Players in games using EIP-3664 NFTs can forge items within the games as NFTs by using other tokens. They can strip and add attributes from other items or materials into an NFT, take apart an NFT itself to redistribute its attributes to other NFTs, or sell these attributes to other players. It preserves the collectible ideology that made NFTs as popular as they are now but adds a new layer to ensure that the NFTs remain valuable over time.
The Dragontar NFTs are the very first implementation of the EIP-3664 tokens, not the Ethereum blockchain. It was launched via a portal called the Dragontar Club, which is now referred to as the world’s first combinable NFTs.
Dragontar NFTs are a direct representation of the growth that the Cradles community has enjoyed and the desire from community members to own their NFTs. The NFT collection, which is listed on the TofuNFT marketplace, is an introduction to the world that NFTs do not have to be limited to the traits assigned to them at creation, but rather, they can be improved on as the players see fit.
“Unlike other NFTs that can only be traded once bought, players can perform operations on EIP-3664 NFTs,” said Y.T. “Since they’ll need a workplace for this, we published our all-in-one platform: Metacore, a brand new marketplace, and workplace for 3664 NFTs. Anyone with a Dragontar can visit, click on the workplace, and perform operations on their NFTs.”
With the fast-approaching Ethereum Merge, new innovations like the EIP-3664 are expected to be highlighted for their unique offerings. An example is the modular NFTs being used by DRepublic in the Cradles: Origin of Species game that already looks to lead and usher in the next generation of blockchain gaming.
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