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What is Immutable X? Demystifying the Layer 2 solution for NFTs and Web3 gaming

Entering the list of advanced new blockchain solutions, Immutable X is considered by many a revolutionary Layer 2 solution on the Ethereum blockchain. This new player in non-fungible token (NFT) minting and GameFi stands out for its unparalleled features. It offers gas-free NFT minting and seamless integration into the vast landscape of mainstream gaming.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore Immutable X, uncovering its nuances, technological foundations, and influence in the world of blockchain gaming.

What is Immutable X?

Immutable X is a Layer 2 scaling solution within the Immutable ecosystem designed for Ethereum (ETH). Its primary focus is on NFT minting and Web3 gaming. Launched by James Ferguson, Robbie Ferguson, and Alex Connolly in Australia in 2018, Immutable X aims to democratize Web3 game development, providing a gateway for millions of gamers globally to seamlessly navigate the complexities of blockchain technology.

Immutable X was a response to the challenges faced by gamers engaging with "Gods Unchained," the world's first NFT trading-card game. The platform set out to address the high trading costs of NFTs within the game, setting the stage for its transformative trajectory. Immutable X has since evolved into a versatile gaming-specific blockchain, prioritizing cost-efficiency, scalability, and rapid transaction processing.

How does Immutable X work?

The technology behind Immutable X

At the heart of Immutable X's functionality lies the groundbreaking Zero-Knowledge Rollup (ZK-rollup) technology, a Layer 2 scaling solution powered by StarkWare. ZK-rollup technology combines multiple transactions into a single zero-knowledge proof, also known as the zk-STARK proof, on the Immutable network. The transactions are then securely moved as a single unit onto the Ethereum blockchain. Smart contracts then validate the proof, maintaining transaction details at this layer. This process guarantees near-instant confirmation, all while keeping gas fees minimal.

Empowering developers with REST APIs and SDKs

Immutable X's REST APIs and software development kits (SDKs) are powerful tools empowering developers within its ecosystem. The REST APIs, or application programming interfaces, provide a streamlined approach to complex blockchain interactions. Through API calls, users can easily create and transfer NFTs without the need for direct interaction with smart contracts. This simplifies the development process, allowing for efficient integration into various platforms, spanning from gaming applications to broader decentralized ecosystems.

Alongside this, SDKs support the seamless incorporation of APIs and crypto wallets into diverse applications. This not only accelerates the development timeline but also enables developers to construct NFT projects, including innovative play-to-earn games, in a matter of hours rather than weeks.

Extending functionality with Immutable zkEVM

Immutable boasts another Layer 2 solution, Immutable zkEVM, incorporating Ethereum's Virtual Machine (EVM) functionality. Powered by Polygon, Immutable zkEVM allows developers to launch smart contracts on Ethereum's Layer 1 chain and subsequently register them on Immutable. Immutable zkEVM supports effective interoperability, allowing game developers to create experiences that seamlessly interact with other games or platforms within the Ethereum ecosystem. This can broaden access and promote economies of scale.

While Immutable X boasts zero gas fees, applying Immutable zkEVM generates minimal gas fees for using Ethereum smart contracts. These fees, although small, are notably negligible compared to the Ethereum main chain.

Offsetting the carbon footprint

Immutable has taken a step towards sustainability through its carbon-neutral approach. Addressing concerns related to the environmental impact of blockchain technology, the platform actively counters the carbon footprint associated with minting and trading NFTs.

Immutable's approach begins by significantly reducing gas usage per NFT trade or mint, diminishing its carbon footprint. Using zero-knowledge proofs, Immutable compresses the information required for NFT transactions, making them more energy-efficient.

Going a step further, Immutable commits to offsetting the carbon footprint of all NFT transactions on its platform to zero by purchasing carbon credits. This initiative extends to NFT marketplaces and games built on Immutable, making sure the entire ecosystem is carbon-neutral.

Immutable's dedication to sustainability not only aligns with the growing demand for eco-conscious initiatives but also establishes a responsible and ethical standard within the blockchain industry.

What are the benefits of using Immutable X?

Immutable X stands out as a top choice for NFT enthusiasts, offering a multitude of compelling benefits. With features like instant trade execution, zero gas fees, a remarkable capacity of up to 9,000 transactions per second (TPS), and a commitment to environmentally friendly practices, the platform delivers a seamless and cost-effective trading experience.

Security takes precedence on Immutable X, as it leverages ZK-rollups to establish a secure and tamper-proof environment for NFT ownership and transactions. The platform's integration with the Ethereum ecosystem also enables users to effortlessly engage with various Ethereum-based platforms, services, and tools, fostering a smooth and interconnected experience within the broader Ethereum network.

Meanwhile, the inclusion of extensive APIs and SDKs enriches the overall user experience, empowering developers with robust tools to innovate and create within the Immutable ecosystem.

Who created Immutable?

Immutable, the company behind Immutable X, is steered by a visionary team led by James Ferguson, recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, and supported by his brother Robbie Ferguson. The project boasts investments from prominent crypto VC funds, including Coinbase, Naspers, Nirvana Capital, Apex Capital Partners, Continue Capital, and Galaxy Digital.

With the Ethereum Merge completed, Immutable may continue its development within the scaling Ethereum ecosystem. Partnerships with Param Labs and Ambrus Studios, along with the launch of a wallet SDK, underline Immutable's commitment to enhancing the developer experience and fostering growth.

Immutable's native utility and governance token: IMX

Immutable's native utility and governance token, IMX, is an ERC-20 token central to the platform. It serves as a cornerstone for transactions, governance, and active participation. With multifaceted functions, IMX is integral to the smooth operation and expansion of the Immutable ecosystem.

Tokenomics and distribution

IMX employs a robust tokenomics model designed to align incentives and foster a thriving community. A departure from traditional Proof of Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), utility tokens are pre-mined and thoughtfully distributed by the project's team.

As outlined in the white paper, the maximum total supply of 2 billion IMX tokens is strategically allocated to ecosystem development (51.74%), project development (25%), public sale (5%), private sale (14.26%), and foundation reserve (4%).

Use cases

The IMX token is intricately woven into the fabric of Immutable, creating an economic system where participants are rewarded for contributing to the network's growth and stability. The community uses IMX to pay transaction fees and access exclusive features or services. Moreover, IMX token holders wield governance power, enabling them to vote on crucial proposals, including reserve token allocation, developer grants, and changes in token supply.

Staking IMX tokens is another rewarding endeavor within the Immutable ecosystem. Participants who choose to stake their IMX holdings receive staking rewards in the form of additional tokens or governance privileges. This mechanism not only encourages long-term commitment but also contributes to the overall security and stability of the network.

The Immutable ecosystem: Gods Unchained and beyond

As a dedicated blockchain for NFT trading and gaming experiences, Immutable has strategically positioned itself as a go-to platform for game developers seeking to leverage the potential of blockchain technology. Within the expansive umbrella of games and collectibles, Immutable's ecosystem hosts a rich tapestry of decentralized applications (DApps), creating a fertile ground for innovation and exploration.

While "Gods Unchained" is considered by many to be the inaugural masterpiece, Immutable's platform is behind numerous other titles.

  • Guild of Guardians: A roguelite mobile RPG where players build their team of Guardians to battle against the threat of the Dread while earning rewards.

  • Ember Sword: A social sandbox MMORPG that offers a PVP and PVE player experience while allowing players to have true ownership of their in-game assets.

  • Momoguro: A captivating storytelling RPG created by 9x Emmy-winning Baobab Studios.

  • Metalcore: A multiplayer FPS that features mechs, tanks, infantry, and planes.

  • Illuvium: An open-world RPG adventure game where players hunt and catch creatures to fight in arenas or trade them.

The support provided by Immutable extends beyond gaming giants, with an open invitation to developers worldwide to explore and contribute to the ecosystem. This inclusive approach fosters a diverse and thriving community, resulting in an ever-expanding collection of games.

What's new with Immutable?

In March 2024, Immutable began dropping teasers on its X account about "The Main Quest". After you log into the platform's passport, you'll find a new rewards area. IMX holders have shown much excitement over X, with Immutable gearing up to open its rewards area up for more opportunities.

In another update, Immutable's Minting API marks a major advancement in the gaming and blockchain sectors. This update effectively tackles key issues that game developers commonly encounter, including complicated technical processes, challenges when managing wallets, and expensive gas fees. The Minting API streamlines and lowers the expense of creating in-game assets on a large scale.

Implementing the Minting API can help support the creation of a new digital economy in games by offering batch processing, cost-effective transactions, and seamless integration with blockchain technology. Additionally, Immutable's promise to cover gas fees until September 2024 underlines its commitment to promoting a more inclusive and financially sustainable gaming ecosystem.

The final word

As Immutable solidifies its position in blockchain gaming, many expect the entity to continue to expand and innovate. Immutable is positioned as a transformative force in the gaming industry with a desire to lower barriers for both developers and gamers. The platform's continuous partnerships, technological advancements, and commitment to sustainability underscore its dedication to evolving alongside the ever-changing blockchain landscape.

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