Game development studio Immutable, the team behind Ethereum’s rising digital trading card game Gods Unchained, is teaming up with the scalability experts at StarkWare to build Immutable X, a next-gen exchange for gaming pieces and digital collectibles on Ethereum.
Announced on Friday, May 8th, Immutable X will be a non-custodial decentralized exchange powered by StarkWare’s StarkEx, a so-called “scalability engine” that relies on zk-starks cryptographic proof technology.
This powerful underpinning tech will allow Immutable X to offer “instant settlement and zero gas fees” around non-fungible tokens (NFTs) like Gods Unchained cards.
Toward Scaling the NFT Sector
In their Friday announcement, the Immutable team noted that around one-third of the Ethereum blockchain’s daily network usage right now comes from facilitating around 150,000 NFT transactions each day.
While Ethereum is still small relatively speaking, this throughput level has sufficed. But more scaling is needed for the NFT arena to be able to rise to the next level, as the StarkWare team explained in their own announcement:
“Ethereum’s native throughput ceiling of 4 trades/second limits any application that wishes to scale. For NFTs, the throughput bottleneck is even greater than for fungible tokens: with NFTs, a thousand tokens actually consume a thousandfold more of the blockchain’s resources than a single token. As Gods Unchained gained more traction, the lack of scalability became an impediment to growth.”
The idea with Immutable X, then, is to create a trustless decentralized exchange that can power more than 200 million trades every day while still accounting for less than one-third of Ethereum’s daily network usage. That’ll be great news for projects like Gods Unchained that push out lots of transactions.
“Trying to build a game which is meant for mainstream appeal, we’ve run into quite a lot of technical issues, which we’re happy we can now overcome,” Immutable CEO James Ferguson told Decrypt‘s Stephen Graves amid the Ethereal Virtual Summit 2020 this week.
How the Exchange Will Work
Immutable X, which is set to launch later this year, plans to take transactions off-chain in allowing assets to be “minted directly onto the platform.” This model will mean that Gods Unchained players — and later, users of other projects — can trade their items without needing to make Ethereum transactions all along the way.
Moreover, since the exchange will be totally non-custodial, users will be able to retain complete control over their assets the entire time they use Immutable X, too.
Two Rising Startups for Ethereum
Immutable’s new meld with StarkWare comes after both companies held Series A fundraises last fall.
In September 2019, Immutable announced it had raised $15 million in a round led by Naspers Ventures, the venture arm of global internet group Naspers. “We’re building foundational products and technology to make true ownership of digital objects a new normal,” Immutable CEO James Ferguson said at the time.
One month after that, StarkWare revealed that it had raised its own $30 million war chest in a round that was led by Paradigm.
Since then, both firms have respectively been on the up and up in the Ethereum ecosystem, and their funding windfalls have only help to accelerate their ascensions.
For its part, Gods Unchained has already become one of the biggest projects in Ethereum’s NFT space, and that’s impressively come ahead of the game’s alpha release.
StarkWare’s been seeing its clout rising lately, too. In January, the company noted that its StarkEx engine could process 9,000 transactions a second after the implementation of Ethereum’s Istanbul upgrade. The group hailed this record as a “2000X improvement over Ethereum Layer-1.”
And Immutable and StarkWare are but two promising projects around Ethereum right now. Surveying the field, things are really starting to heat up with regard to progress on decentralized infrastructure.