Immutable positions itself as the first layer-two scaling solution for NFTs on Ethereum. According to Immutable, its blockchain does away with Ethereum’s limitations like low scalability, a poor user experience, illiquidity, and a slow developer experience. Instead, users benefit from instant trading and massive scalability while enjoying zero gas fees for minting and trading NFTs without compromising user or asset security. To achieve that, Immutable is built with STARK zk-rollups, a technology that Vitalik Buterin considers Ethereum to be “all-in on.”
Thanks to this technology, users will be able to create and distribute assets like ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens on a massive scale. Chris Clay, the game Director of Gods Unchained, a project already building on Immutable, stated that Immutable allows Gods Unchained to implement a new meta-system that was previously impossible. In this fashion, Immutable aims to create a world-class experience for users and developers alike.
Who Are the Founders of Immutable?
Immutable was founded by James Ferguson, a Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur that previously led a software development team at a billion-dollar eCommerce company, and his brother Robbie Ferguson, a Thiel fellow and Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur as well.
The team consists of more than 100 members from different backgrounds like blockchain, FAANG, finance, fintech, and management consulting. It raised a seed round in 2018 and a $15 million Series A in September 2019. Investors included some of the “who is who” in blockchain investing, such as Coinbase, Naspers, Nirvana Capital, Apex Capital Partners, Continue Capital and Galaxy Digital.
What Makes Immutable X Unique?
Immutable X benefits from being one of the first layer-two solutions that utilize zk-rollups and focus exclusively on NFTs. With zk-rollups growing in importance as a scaling solution, the project finds itself at the cutting edge of development in the Ethereum ecosystem. Immutable X has a good chance of becoming the default “NFT blockchain” in the future, provided its promised transaction speed of more than 9,000 tps can be achieved.
A crucial component to fulfilling this promise is the API abstraction layer. Thanks to REST APIs, every NFT-related interaction like minting, trading, and transferring is a simple API call on Immutable X. The company anticipates this to be a key component to attracting new entrants like established gaming and content companies in the space.
Moreover, users will not have to switch networks when connecting their wallets. The protocol also provides an intermediate layer called the “Link,” which enables an NFT-specific wallet experience and allows Immutable X to support a third-party marketplace ecosystem without security risks.
With its shared global order book facilitating protocol liquidity, NFT marketplaces can be built on Immutable X without a backend. In consequence, third-party marketplace solutions can co-exist with the protocol’s native marketplace. The protocol also expects to lower the barriers of entry for content creators and smaller developers with this solution.
How Many Immutable (IMX) Coins Are There in Circulation?
IMX is the protocol’s native ERC-20 utility token. The token’s three core use cases are fees, staking and governance. 20% of the protocol’s fees must be paid in IMX, and users can stake IMX to receive a proportional share of the network’s fees. Token holders can also vote on governance proposals by holding IMX. The total supply of IMX is two billion, according to the following token distribution:
- Ecosystem development – 51.74%: user rewards, developer grants, liquidity provision, marketing purposes.
- Project development – 25%
- Private sale – 14.26%: one year cliff, monthly unlock over two years.
- Public sale – 5%: six-months unlock.
- Foundation – 4%: ecosystem development-related initiatives like liquidity provision, one-year cliff, monthly unlock over four years.
How Is the Immutable Network Secured?
Immutable is a layer-two blockchain with zero gas fees, where operators can set their own trading fees. In contrast to other scaling solutions to Ethereum, a 51% attack on Immutable is unfeasible, as it is not a centralized side chain but benefits from inheriting the native security of the Ethereum blockchain. Immutable uses zk-rollups, meaning assets are traded on the second-layer blockchain, but the validity proof of a transaction is stored on the layer-one blockchain, in this case Ethereum. Immutable uses STARK proofs because, unlike SNARKs, they are post-quantum-secure and provide greater user security despite the greater cost.
Immutable chose to stay on Ethereum as a first-layer solution because the team considers Ethereum best to represent the philosophy of trustless, decentralized asset ownership. In the team’s words, Ethereum has always prioritized centralization over short-term scalability upgrades, even though it has suffered from problematic gas fee spikes and network congestion, thus still remaining the main blockchain for NFT projects to build on.