Understanding cross-chain NFTs: the future of digital collectibles

Have you ever imagined having a stake in the digital space, similar to having possession of a physical artwork in an art gallery? This is made possible through the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These digital assets certify you as the owner of a singular item on a blockchain. Unlike cryptocurrencies, every NFT has a distinct code, making it irreplaceable and confirming its authenticity.

In 2021 and the early part of 2022, NFTs were a hot topic, with many projects including them as part of their offering under the promise of a valuable and meaningful purpose. Unfortunately, some of these projects didn't deliver and community members who bought them lost out.

Maybe project owners in the Web3 world should have referred to NFTs as digital collectibles instead of making the process more complicated for new Web3 adopters? With the crypto winter seemingly slowly melting away in late 2023, the chatter of NFTs has re-emerged. Creators are once again exploring how to monetize digital assets, from art to music, in ways that were previously elusive due to the ease of duplication.

But with this innovation comes limitations. How can we navigate the challenges of providing long-term value, interoperability between platforms, and the environmental impact of blockchain technology? And how might these limitations shape the future of NFTs and their role in the digital marketplace?

Cross-chain NFTs could provide the answers the industry is looking for.


  • NFTs are unique digital assets on a blockchain, providing ownership similar to physical art.

  • They gained popularity in 2021/2022, but some projects failed, leading to losses for buyers.

  • NFTs are currently tied to single blockchains like Ethereum, facing scalability, high gas fees, and network congestion issues.

  • Cross-chain NFTs offer solutions by allowing NFTs to operate across multiple blockchains, improving liquidity and market access.

  • It's important to stay informed about cross-chain developments for opportunities in the evolving NFT space, including those related to security and standardization.

The limitation of single blockchain NFTs

Navigating NFTs involves understanding their current operational framework, predominantly tied to single blockchains. The Ethereum network, known for its robust smart contract capabilities, is a popular choice for NFT creation and trading. Similarly, Binance Smart Chain and others offer their ecosystems for NFT transactions. However, this single-blockchain model presents a few notable challenges.

Exploring NFTs requires a deep knowledge of the current operational structure. Ethereum, a blockchain well known for its reliable smart contract capabilities, is a favored platform for producing and trading NFTs. Additionally, Binance Smart Chain and other blockchains are also making their systems available for NFT exchanges. Nevertheless, this single-blockchain system has various complications:

  • Scalability: At the height of NFTs' popularity, blockchains could process fewer transactions simultaneously. During peak times, blockchains can face congestion, which slows down transactions.

  • Gas fees: Every action taken on the blockchain, such as creating, buying, or trading NFTs, requires a fee called "gas". When the network is overloaded, this fee can become extremely high, making it pricey to do even the most basic of tasks.

  • Network congestion: The high level of demand for NFT transactions has caused the network to become congested, not only making transactions slower and more expensive but also hurting the user experience, which can put off potential buyers and sellers.

The connection of single blockchain NFT to one chain can be limiting, and issues like cost, speed, and efficiency must be addressed for the NFT market to continue progressing. For these digital assets to thrive, the NFT ecosystem must tackle the challenges outlined above.

Meanwhile, it's wise for the sector to consider what measures must be taken to make sure that digital resources remain accessible and cost-effective as their demand increases. This concerns developers, creators, and users, as they explore the ever-evolving world of digital products. With cross-chain NFTs, the developer and the user isn't tied down to a singular blockchain, which offers flexibility for your digital asset.

What are cross-chain NFTs?

Cross-chain NFTs are a cutting-edge augmentation to the blockchain space, crafted to extend the possibilities of digital asset possession. These tokens are unique in that they're not confined to the blockchain on which they were formed.

Rather than being limited to use on a single blockchain, cross-chain NFTs can be swapped and used on multiple blockchains. This is enabled by specialized protocols that allow various blockchains to understand the exclusive characteristics and title details of the NFTs.

Interoperability is an important factor which enables blockchain technology to support cross-chain NFTs. Put simply, different blockchain systems can communicate and cooperate without any problems. The interoperability of NFTs allows for digital assets created on one blockchain to be recognized and used on another, removing the restrictions that have confined these properties to a single chain previously.

This interconnectedness addresses the issue of isolated blockchains by allowing for the unrestricted exchange of information and assets. The move towards interoperable blockchain networks is essential for cross-chain NFTs. It not only enhances the liquidity and market reach of these digital assets but also allows users to take advantage of different blockchains' strengths.

An example of this is creating an NFT on a secure blockchain for its production and then shifting it to a blockchain that's more efficient and cost-effective for transactions. This adaptability provides a more functional and convenient digital asset space, revolutionizing how we interact with NFTs and providing new possibilities for its use and implementation.

Benefits of cross-chain NFTs

Cross-chain NFTs offer many advantages that help transform the digital asset space. Increasing the capabilities of NFTs across various blockchains opens up new opportunities in trading, liquidity, and market creativity. These advantages include the following.

Flexibility in trading and minting

One of the significant advantages of cross-chain NFTs is the flexibility they offer to users. People who make new art and who trade NFTs can pick the blockchain most suitable to their needs. There are many reasons to choose a blockchain, such as cost, speed, and features. For example, if you're looking for lower fees, select a blockchain with a more cost-effective structure.

Increased liquidity

Cross-chain NFTs can lead to a more liquid market, resulting in more active buyers and sellers. This can create a more dynamic environment and help maintain price stability, making it easier to trade assets when necessary.

Diversity and innovation

Creators have the advantage of being able to distribute and promote their NFTs across multiple blockchains, helping them reach a wider audience. This not only encourages imaginative artwork and technological development, but also allows NFTs to be enhanced with features like augmented reality or gaming capabilities, depending on the blockchain used.

Reduction in network congestion

Cross-chain NFTs can reduce the pressure on any single chain by spreading the amount of transactions across various networks. This is especially helpful in heavy traffic and can result in more reliable transaction speeds and cheaper fees because of the reduced demand for individual blockchains.

Cross-chain NFTs can lead the way toward a broader, more dynamic, and more reliable digital asset market. They offer users unparalleled versatility to support the growth of a more manageable and dependable market. They can also increase diversity and creativity in the creator economy, and help maximize the effectiveness of blockchain networks by sharing the load.

How do cross-chain NFTs work?

Exploring the mechanics of cross-chain NFTs, we discover a complicated but intriguing process based on some fundamental components. The purpose of these parts is to guarantee that NFTs aren't limited to one blockchain but can be traded on various networks.


Consider bridges as digital links that help to create a connection between two varying blockchains. They're essential for the cross-chain process, allowing for the transfer and validation of asset data, helping to make sure that an NFT existing on one chain can be identified and validated on another.

Wrapped NFTs

Wrapped NFTs are a way of transferring an NFT from one blockchain to another, where it's tokenized and can still maintain the same characteristics and ownership rights as the original. This tokenized version can function and interact on a different blockchain than the initial NFT.

Interoperable standards

For cross-chain operations to work smoothly, interoperable standards like ERC-1155 on the Ethereum blockchain are essential. This particular standard can represent both fungible and non-fungible tokens within a single smart contract. It's this flexibility and efficiency that make standards like ERC-1155 ideal for cross-chain interactions, as they can simplify the process of transferring diverse types of assets across blockchains.

Cross-chain NFTs are changing the blockchain space by combining bridges, wrapped NFTs, and interoperable protocols. This seamless technology enables a more interconnected and dynamic NFT environment, allowing assets to be transferred and recognized on various platforms. As the technology progresses, it's anticipated to be a key factor in the creation, trading, and management of digital assets on the blockchain.

Current projects and platforms adopting cross-chain NFTs

Cross-chain NFTs are gaining traction, with various projects and platforms working to better the NFT environment's interconnectivity and usability. Here's a look at some of the existing efforts and what they bring to the table:

Y00ts NFT project

Y00ts, a well-known NFT venture, adopted a cross-chain approach by shifting from Solana to Polygon. By the March 30, 2023, 77% of Y00ts' NFTs had been effectively connected to the new chain.


Cosmos has incorporated the ICS-721 system, enabling NFTs to be integrated into multiple blockchains within its environment without relying on bridging technology. This protocol allows for the use of NFTs in various sectors, such as gaming, social media, and Web3 identity protocols.

Enjin and Efinity

Enjin has been working to make it easier to use and trade NFTs. The entity created Efinity, a blockchain for NFTs that combines different platforms. This way, you don't have to go through various platforms to complete a single transaction. Efinity also has a decentralized solution with a robust economy, so the transaction costs are significantly reduced.

Enjin also contributed to new token standards, like ERC-1155. This standard lets one smart contract govern an infinite number of tokens. ERC-1155's flexibility is essential for cross-chain NFT functionality, which enables various use cases beyond simple asset transfers.

These projects highlight the growing success stories and breakthroughs in cross-chain NFTs. By creating more open, connected, and user-friendly platforms, these innovations are setting the stage for a more integrated and expansive digital asset ecosystem. As infrastructure evolves, we expect to witness more projects and platforms embracing cross-chain capabilities, leading to a more dynamic and versatile NFT market.

Challenges and considerations

Cross-chain NFTs are drastically transforming how we perceive digital possession and the transfer of resources. However, they bring with them distinctive difficulties and issues that must be considered.

Security concerns

Bridges are essential for transferring funds between different blockchains. However, they're difficult to secure and can be susceptible to attacks. It's critical to make sure that assets are protected in transit, as any security flaw could result in major losses.


Navigating the various blockchains, with their unique wallets, regulations, and transaction formats, can be overwhelming, especially for those new to the NFT space. This complexity could create a barrier to new entrants, slowing the speed of adoption for NFTs.


The implementation of interoperability standards is an ongoing process. Establishing consistent protocols for cross-chain NFT exchanges is necessary to make processes more efficient and improve the user experience. Not having such standards could lead to the ecosystem splitting up and a lack of adoption.

Many believe that it's essential for those in the Web3 space to tackle these difficulties to make the most of cross-chain NFTs and guarantee a secure, available, and unified marketplace.

The future of cross-chain NFTs

The future NFTs is heading towards an interconnected, cross-chain environment where digital collectibles will be accessible on multiple blockchains. This development promises a much more connected and seamless digital collectible market.

Cross-chain NFTs are attempting to solve the existing problems that limit the ability of digital assets to move freely throughout different blockchains. This interoperability could significantly enhance the availability and liquidity of digital collectibles, therefore enlarging the overall market.

The development of cross-chain NFTs is set to expand, creating an even more inclusive environment across various blockchain networks. This is expected to drive mainstream usage, making it easier for users to get started and reducing the obstacles that stand in their way. Collectors could have a unified experience in managing all their digital assets on different platforms, which leads to the creation of a single marketplace.

The promise of cross-chain functionality is a game-changer, projecting a future where NFTs become a part of the digital economy, accessible to all, and free from the constraints of single blockchain ecosystems.

The final word

Cross-chain interoperability is a foundational advancement in NFTs and is necessary for the development and growth of the sector. It holds the capacity to join various blockchain networks, creating a connected and dynamic environment for creators, collectors, and traders alike.

This interconnection isn't simply a technological achievement — it's a step towards a more comprehensive digital economy where the trading of digital assets can thrive without the restrictions of a single blockchain platform.

Keeping up to date and participating in advancements in cross-chain technology will be essential for those wishing to understand the evolving world of NFTs. As always, it's important to do your own research to keep yourself and your digital assets safe.

This article may cover content on products that are not available in your region. It is provided for general informational purposes only, no responsibility or liability is accepted for any errors of fact or omission expressed herein. It represents the personal views of the author(s) and it does not represent the views of OKX. It is not intended to provide advice of any kind, including but not limited to: (i) investment advice or an investment recommendation; (ii) an offer or solicitation to buy, sell, or hold digital assets, or (iii) financial, accounting, legal, or tax advice. Digital asset holdings, including stablecoins and NFTs, involve a high degree of risk, can fluctuate greatly, and can even become worthless. You should carefully consider whether trading or holding digital assets is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. Please consult your legal/tax/investment professional for questions about your specific circumstances. OKX Web3 features, including OKX Web3 Wallet and OKX NFT Marketplace, are subject to separate terms of service at
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