Interchain Standards for NFTs & Metadata

Dr Shaun Conway
5 min readSep 2, 2020


ixo is leading a collaboration with Persistence One, to develop Interchain Standards for NFTs and Metadata. This is relevant to further development of the ixo Protocol, for tokenising social, environmental and economic development outcomes. It will further enable the movement towards a tokenised Impact Economy. The work is funded through a grant from the Interchain Foundation.

This article has also been published by the Interchain Foundation reaching out to the Interchain community. Please pass on the news, as this is a call for open collaboration.

Technical working Group

We are excited to announce the formation of a new technical working group with a mission to develop Interchain Standards for Non-Fungible Tokens and Metadata.

We believe Interchain Standards can build on established Internet standards, to gain broad adoption and promote interoperability between blockchains, as well as with legacy Internet protocols. These developments should be a great complement to the Inter-blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC), enabling cross-network discovery, authentication, control and usage of NFTs and their Metadata resources.

This open collaboration was initiated by the Interchain Foundation and will be facilitated by ixo (The Internet of Impact) together with Persistence One (Protocol Powering Institutional DeFi).

You are invited to join the series of 6 NFT+Metadata working group calls, which will take place every 2 weeks, starting Friday 4th September at 08:00 UTC.

The first call will introduce this work and we will kick off with a discussion of use-cases.

Participation of the Cosmos community is encouraged in the “nft-and-metadata” channel in the Cosmos’ Discord. Work in progress and requests for comments (RFCs) will be posted in the Cosmos SDK Modules Github repo.

The first priorities for this group are to get collaborators onboard and to collect NFT and Metadata use-cases, against which the standards and reference implementations can be calibrated. Please spread the word to projects and people who are likely to be interested and have something to contribute. Also let us know of relevant past or current initiatives we should be aware of, so that we build on prior art and coordinate efforts across blockchain and internet communities.

Our working hypothesis

Tokenizing real-world resources is a critical enabler for the digital economy. This is also essential for transitioning the world to more accountable, sustainable means of producing and using resources.

It is now technically feasible for any uniquely identifiable physical world resource — whether tangible or intangible, to be represented in a non-fungible tokenized format. Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) have powerful features, such as embedded rights, provenance and verifiability. The range of canonical use-cases and lists of potential features of NFTs and Metadata are growing.

However, there is not yet a fully interoperable NFT standard for tokenized resources to be virtually addressed, described, authenticated, controlled or exchanged across blockchain networks and through the Internet.

This Interchain project will contribute a set of interoperable open standards and reference software implementations for NFTs and Metadata. We will demonstrate how resources can be tokenized and used across networks, for a set of canonical use cases, provided by the Cosmos community.

Our premise is that a standard for tokenizing resources must be based on well-established semantic Internet Standards, which can be upgraded using stateful data graphs.

The NFT standard will be a special class of Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI). Metadata standards will be based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF), for which various encodings (file formats) are possible. Ideally, the NFT and Metadata standards should be backward compatible with standard resources which are already available on the Internet.

Both the NFT URI and its Metadata RDF encoding will be defined as nodes in a stateful graph. This should help establish the provenance of linked real-world resources. Encoded resources can be dereferenced for information that expands the graphs of data linkages between related resources and resource schemas. Using this linked-data format could further enrich NFT Metadata through relationships with other resources, thereby increasing the utility and value of both the NFT and its metadata resource. There is strong potential that this will increase the value of related real-world resources.

Outputs of the project

  • We will produce technical standards for NFTs and Metadata, which have undergone peer review by community stakeholders and experts.
  • Reference implementations of these standards will be implemented in code as Cosmos SDK modules.
  • A basic UI will be built for exploring NFTs and to provide verifiable displays of NFT Metadata.
  • Client library support will be added.
  • Guidance will be provided on how to use NFTs with the Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol.
  • In early 2021 we will provide developer tutorials and invite you to demonstrate your own use-cases for NFTs and Metadata, built on these new Interchain standards and the open-source software components.

Please do get involved now, to help progress this exciting development. Your contributions will be welcomed and fully acknowledged!

About the project leads

This open collaboration will be spearheaded by Persistence One and ixo, working in partnership with funding and technical support from the Interchain Foundation. The ixo team will lead research and development of the technical standard for NFT Metadata, demonstrate a user interface for verifiable displays of NFT metadata and introduce a cross-chain decentralized identifier (DID) resolver. The Persistence One team will lead the development of an interface standard and reference Cosmos SDK modules for NFTs, with IBC and client library support.

The mission of Persistence One is to facilitate seamless exchange of value around the world to increase the speed and efficiency of cross-border trade and financing to close the $1.5 Trillion financing gap. The need for a solution like Persistence One has never been clearer. A sizable and increasing amount of institutional capital and emerging Stablecoins are looking to generate yield. There is an ever-increasing need for MSMEs traders and businesses to access financing.

Persistence One matches these needs by bridging the gap between Traditional Finance and DeFi.

ixo is building the Internet of Impact as an essential digital and data technology infrastructure for Sustainable Development and the new world Impact Economy. This will deliver powerful new tools for sensing and responding to verifiable changes in the state of the world. Capital can be programmed with incentives to achieve positive future-state outcomes. Webs of trust connect people, machines and software agents to share intelligence, coordinate local actions and deliver impacts with precision.

Join the working group discussion

  • Cosmos Discord: “nft-and-metadata” group under the “modules” channel



Dr Shaun Conway

Seeker of serendipity. Inventor of the ixo Protocol for The Internet of Impact.