Following the listing of EFI on OKEx, Enjin Co-founder & CTO Witek Radomski joined the OKEx community to discuss Efinity, our upcoming blockchain for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Here's what he had to say.
What is Efinity? Please explain it for 2 levels of difficulty: Beginner and Expert.
Efinity is a blockchain built specifically for unique digital assets—which we know as NFTs—but it also supports fungible tokens.
Efinity is fast, environmentally-friendly, scalable, and will bridge to multiple blockchains. Our goal with designing Efinity is to make using NFTs as simple and prominent as using smartphones today is.
Efinity is being developed as a parachain on Polkadot, which enables a variety of powerful new NFT features, flexibility, scalability, and cross-chain interoperability that aren’t possible on general-purpose networks like Ethereum.
An incredibly powerful aspect of Efinity is that its NFT mechanics run on the core blockchain as native tokens. For example, the Ethereum blockchain uses smart contracts for NFTs which is not as flexible or scalable as it could be.
Developers won't need to write, deploy, and audit smart contracts to create secure and powerful NFTs and assets, and they will cost far less for end-users.
We’re building a new standard for Polkadot called Paratokens. Paratokens will enable inter-chain NFTs and large batch transactions and minting with some astounding figures. We’ve been testing Efinity alpha internally, with 10s of millions of NFT mints or transfers possible per block.
Here's some more info from our latest Dev Update blog post.
Mind sharing some actual Efinity use cases with our members of the group?
Efinity will support NFTs from external blockchains, so no matter which project or network your items come from, they can be moved to Efinity and benefit from its speed and features.
With this in mind, Efinity will enable NFTs to be utilized by virtually any industry, unlocking billions of dollars in currently illiquid and unique real-world and digital assets.
In the Enjin ecosystem alone, more than 1.14 billion blockchain assets have been created—all of which can benefit from Efinity’s features.
As an example, a Silicon Valley startup called Health Hero has been minting NFT Apps that track personal wellness, these will even be integrated into fitness devices like Google Fit, Apple Health, and Fitbit.
Uniqly will use Efinity to bridge digital NFTs with physical goods, enabling seamless materialization of NFTs into real-world items like t-shirts. We have something really exciting we’re working on with Uniqly which will incorporate this tech.
A company called MyMetaverse has been using NFTs to allow users to create their own cross-game identities which have recently been integrated into Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto. (servers for those games, to be precise)
GameTalkTalk, which is South Korea's largest social gaming app, is using Enjin Platform to mint digital fashion and real estate as NFTs.
There are over 60 official partners using the Enjin Platform to mint NFTs and integrate them into their games and apps, these NFTs will be some of the first to flow over to Efinity.
We believe NFTs will become the ubiquitous form of digitized product. Any kind of content, service, or benefit can be minted into an NFT. Even physical items can have digital ownership certified in NFT form. I'm sure a lot of use-cases we haven't even dreamed of will become popular in the coming years as well.
So what are some well-known projects that Enjin/Efinity has collaborated with so far?
Our NFT ecosystem supports a wide range of businesses, creators, and developers...
We’ve been working with Microsoft since 2019. Their “Azure Heroes” NFT program rewards members of the Azure developer community for their contributions and accomplishments. The program uses limited-supply NFTs to honor achievements in areas like mentorship, open-source software, D&I, and more.
Azure Heroes started as a regional pilot program, and quickly expanded globally. Paired with our Beam QR technology, it’s been used to distribute over 15,000 NFTs at various Microsoft events.
The Azure Heroes program uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to recognize and reward the inclusive behavior and contributions of the Microsoft technical community.
Our tech stack has also been used by BMW for their Vantage App, and Samsung for their Blockchain Keystore integration.
This week, we collaborated with White Snake, a Japanese film produced by Warner Brothers, to launch an NFT giveaway in celebration of the movie launch.
In the crypto space, projects like CoinMarketCap, SwissBorg, and Binance have worked with us on NFTs to engage and grow their communities. We’ve also given away a few NFTs in collaboration with OKEx!
On the developer side, there are games and apps using NFTs in some really unique ways, from blockchain-based recipes and governance NFTs, to digital fashion tokens that can be worn in augmented reality; player-owned spaceship servers that can be modified and health-and-fitness NFTs that evolve based on your progress.
You can view more Enjin-powered projects here.
$ENJ and $EFI both play important roles in your ecosystem, individually and together. What is the difference between them?
Good question, let's start with ENJ.
Enjin Coin (ENJ) powers the Enjin ecosystem. It’s a minting resource used to infuse blockchain assets like NFTs. Every asset minted with our platform contains ENJ. At any time, the owner of that item can “melt” it (aka destroy it) at any time to collect the ENJ backing.
Efinity Token (EFI) is the native token of the Efinity blockchain.
It’s used for governance of the network (users can submit and vote on proposals) and transaction fees (minting, transfers, bridge fees, smart contracts, etc.).
It's also used to incentivize/encourage offers on NFTs, community and development rewards, and a concept called Fuel Tanks which allows developers to subsidize transaction fees for their users
Unlike networks that reward miners, Efinity compensates network participants like collator nodes, NFT traders, developers, creators, etc.
You can read more about EFI utility in the whitepaper.
With Efinity, ENJ will continue to play a key role in our ecosystem.
It will be used for infusing NFTs on Efinity, and can also be used to nominate Efinity collator nodes—ENJ holders can nominate the most efficient and stable nodes that run the blockchain and earn EFI rewards for participating in collator selection.
What are the current limitations of NFTs?
NFTs of today have a ton of potential, but are incredibly limited. Generally speaking, there are no blockchains purpose-built for NFT users, and legacy networks fall short due to:
The brilliant design of Polkadot allows us to create an economy that's geared toward NFTs and brings value to that audience specifically.
We are building Efinity to resolve every friction-point that users and developers are hitting, and provide the infrastructure the NFT space needs to grow at scale.
NFTs are often criticized for just being 1's and 0's loosely connected to .jpegs. What utility do EFI NFTs offer other than proof of ownership?
NFTs have a lot more potential than just trading art or gifs.
We think that a lot of the criticism today's NFTs attract is because of their high price and limited utility.
However, as I mentioned earlier, there are many NFT projects that are treating NFTs like products instead of just vehicles of value.
If this trend continues, soon we will have NFTs that allow you to listen to exclusive albums and watch rare videos, NFT gaming characters that move with you through all of your favorite games, NFTs that enable you to unlock your car and drive to work.
Back in the 90's, the internet was criticized for just being 1's and 0's loosely connected to your letterbox. We've come a long way since then, and we are certain that NFTs will go a long way over the next decade.
What does the future of NFTs look like? And what role Efinity will be playing in the future?
For some people, it might seem like NFTs have reached their peak, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of what NFTs can do.
In the future, NFTs will permeate and connect every aspect of our lives, representing digital and physical ownership. They will become normalized and ubiquitous, much like our mobile devices are today.
Imagine a future where you can tell Alexa or Siri to mint an NFT on demand when your kid completes a chore or finishes their homework—and that NFT unlocks a set amount of playtime in their favorite video game as a reward. Or, the NFTs could be combined and redeemed for a greater reward (like a new game altogether) at the end of the month.
Or a future where you can complete the automated, verified sale of a racing drone with a stranger from across the world, and guarantee that you will receive payment before their new drone can be unlocked with an NFT key.
The metaverse is inevitable, and NFTs will blur the lines between physical and digital, creating persistent identities that cross virtual and physical spaces.
Imagine speaking with a GPT-3 NPC controlled by an AI, that owns its own NFTs, and convincing it to trade with you in a virtual world..
Efinity’s features and interoperability will play a key role in this future, transforming the ways we interact with NFTs.
Example: The ability to place offers on NFTs on any network could change the way we buy things like cars and houses. You might be in search of an antique car; you find the NFT on an automobile showcase website, but the owner isn’t actively selling. Regardless, you can place a bid on the car NFT and see if the owner bites. If he doesn’t, you’ll still get rewarded for being the highest offer.
Here’s an article I wrote earlier this week on the subject.
Efinity’s collator nodes: What are they, and how can a user participate as a collator node or get involved?
Collator nodes run the Efinity network and while hundreds of nodes can exist, the top 10 will be selected to be active at any time.
Anyone can run a node, and if they provide good hardware, networking, and uptime, as well as an efficient cut of fees for their nominators, they can be selected as an active collator.
If you’re an ENJ holder, you’ll be able to vote on and select the best performing collator nodes. The collators with the most votes will be allowed to process network transactions and be compensated with EFI from the collator pool.
Regarding token distribution, 35% goes to the ecosystem, 20% goes to the company, 10% goes to the team. What are the differences between ecosystem, company, and team?
The ecosystem fund is intended for strategic growth of the Efinity ecosystem, and powering the Polkadot parachain. This fund will be used for key partnerships and growth opportunities to expand the Efinity ecosystem.
The team fund will be vested for 3 years with a 1 year cliff, and we're using this to find the best rockstar developers to build the blockchain and all tooling around it. It's a massive project, and we've been growing and scaling up quite a bit this year.
The company fund will be used to fund the perpetual growth of Enjin and Efinity for many years to come.
What are the main features of the project and how was it developed? Where does its core competitiveness lie? What advantages does it have that allow it to stand out in the market?
Our reward mechanisms for placing offers on NFTs directly on-chain, combined with cross-chain tokens will be a world-first. Efinity may create the ability to have liquidity for any NFT in the world. This will be a grand experiment on a blockchain, but if it succeeds, it could bring real world prices to NFTs without needing oracles.
Furthermore, Enjin’s ecosystem has already proven to be incredibly easy for mainstream developers to adopt. Game and app developers who are used to working traditional APIs and databases can pick up Enjin’s tools within days. Some have completed their integrations within 48 hours. Even more powerful tools on the Efinity blockchain will allow any developer to quickly develop a blockchain-based app without needing a blockchain infrastructure team in-house.
As I understood now you only have your token. Do you plan to have any other products like wallet or platform? What are you currently working on?
At Enjin, we’ve actually built an entire, end-to-end NFT product ecosystem around our ENJ token. Our goal is to provide every product and solution a business, developer, or individual needs to take advantage of NFTs in an easy way:
As I’ve already mentioned, we’re currently laser-focused on building Efinity, a blockchain specifically built for NFTs, which will be fueled by the EFI token.
Ethereum congestion and high gas fees are restricting the further development of NFTs. What is the solutions of Efinity? Have you considered Layer2 or other public chains such as BSC, Polkadot?
The amazing thing about building Efinity on Polkadot is that the Polkadot Relay Chain is responsible for security, while the parachain can focus on building a tight, scalable network and economy. We are working on multiple methods of optimizing transactions on Efinity, like the batch/chunk extensions to the Paratoken standard which allow you to mint and transfer millions of NFTs for a few bytes of storage.
Each project has interesting stories before it is created. So can you tell people about the story that gave you the motivation to build and develop a great project like yours?
I’ve been a gamer my whole life, and gaming is very close to my heart. At some point I realized that all my achievements in games were being lost as the games became old or servers shut down.
After building the Enjin CMS (social network for gamers) and watching it grow to 20m+ users, and also being part of the early days of Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc, I realized we could harness blockchain to represent game items and any item as a Non-Fungible token (or fungible, in many cases).
When Ethereum launched and 2017 saw it explode, the opportunity was there, and we wrote the Enjin whitepaper and started building. The rest is history!
What are the competitive advantages of your project? What advantages do you have over competitors?
One of Efinity’s competitive advantages is our open philosophy; we are building an open highway for NFTs along with a next-generation token standard that is compatible on any parachain and will bridge to other blockchains.
Secondly, we are closely collaborating with Parity Technologies and the Web3 Foundation to achieve a unified vision.
Third, we have a suite of SDKs and tools to make development easy, and a long history in the gaming space.
Fourth, Efinity is designed to attract users and liquidity with economics that promote value-creation and NFT usage - this is not the case with other competitors or platforms.
Finally, we have an enterprise division that is focused on building meaningful solutions for gamifying enterprises with NFTs like the Microsoft Azure Heroes program I mentioned earlier, and we expect this to be an area of significant growth for our company.
What is your most ambitious goal of your project? How can you invite people who doesn't know about crypto/Defi to use your platform?
Since 2017, fostering mainstream adoption of blockchain has been Enjin’s overarching goal. That’s why we have built such user-friendly apps and developer-friendly tools. The developers that mint NFTs with us and integrate them into their apps are able to create experiences that are intuitive to people outside of the crypto space.
We aim to bring NFTs to everybody everywhere and enable a future where nearly every type of digital or physical product can be traded on the blockchain.