Exploring the Future of Cross-Chain NFTs with Polkadot SDK

Exploring the future of cross-chain NFTs with experts from Unique Network, Zeitgeist, and Acala at the Sub0 Think Tank.
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In blockchain technology, interoperability remains a crucial frontier. This was the focus of a compelling talk at the Sub0 conference, featuring Charu Sethi and Daniel Shiposha from Unique Network, Nikhil Saboo from Zeitgeist, and Brian Chen from Acala. They gathered to discuss the potential and challenges of cross-chain NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and introduced the concept of a cross-chain NFT Think Tank.

Introduction to Cross-Chain NFTs Think Tank

The session kicked off with an introduction to the cross-chain NFTs Think Tank. This initiative aims to foster collaboration across different blockchain ecosystems to explore and implement cross-chain NFT use cases. Charu Sethi emphasized the need for participation from various ecosystem stakeholders to drive innovation and overcome the technical challenges associated with cross-chain NFT transfers.

The Challenges and Solutions

Until December last year, transferring NFTs across different chains was not feasible. Unique Network led the way by delivering a proof of concept (POC) in collaboration with Acala, showcasing NFT transfers between Karura and Quartz. This POC was a significant milestone, but several challenges remain.

One primary issue is the fungibility parameter in the XCM (Cross-Consensus Messaging) framework, which easily handles fungible assets but not non-fungible assets like NFTs. Another challenge is ensuring seamless fee estimation and handling for NFTs to avoid scenarios where assets could get trapped due to insufficient fees. The Think Tank aims to address these and other technical hurdles through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions.

Unique Network’s Leadership and Vision

Unique Network has taken a leadership role in this space by submitting a proposal to enable cross-chain NFT transfers for the entire ecosystem. The goal is to make Polkadot the premier ecosystem for NFTs, leveraging its capabilities for interchain communication and asset transfer. The Think Tank will focus on creating and researching use cases, designing implementation plans, and promoting these solutions to the broader community.

Cross-Chain NFTs Potential Use Cases and Technical Details

Daniel Shiposha delved into the technical details and potential use cases for cross-chain NFTs. One key use case involves transferring ownership rights without moving the actual NFT object, using a reserve-based module. This approach simplifies the process and opens up various functionalities like nesting, fractionalizing, and using NFTs as collateral.

Another exciting area is metadata communication, which can transform NFTs into shared on-chain variables, akin to files in Unix systems. This functionality, while still in the proposal stage, promises to unlock a myriad of use cases and enhance cross-chain interactions.

Perspectives from Acala and Zeitgeist

Brian Chen of Acala highlighted some practical use cases for cross-chain NFTs within their ecosystem. He discussed how users could transfer NFTs to leverage different functionalities offered by various chains, enhancing the overall user experience. Acala’s work on developing a router to facilitate seamless transfers across multiple chains was also noted.

Nikhil Saboo from Zeitgeist shared insights on their exploratory discussions for integrating cross-chain NFT functionality within their prediction market protocol. Zeitgeist is considering migrating their existing NFT rewards system to Unique Network, which offers the necessary feature set and seamless transfer capabilities.


The session concluded with a call to action for other parachain teams to participate in the Think Tank and contribute to developing cross-chain NFT solutions. By working together, the blockchain community can overcome existing challenges and unlock new opportunities for NFTs.

The cross-chain NFTs Think Tank represents a significant step towards achieving seamless interoperability in the blockchain world. With the combined efforts of Unique Network, Acala, Zeitgeist, and other ecosystem players, the future of cross-chain NFTs looks promising and full of potential.

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