Original title: “Computable NFT: Concepts, Meaning and Core Ideas”.
Written by Yan Meng, Wei Wang and Zhiqiang Zhou
The Solv team has started to formally write the documentation for a new cryptographic digital asset standard to be submitted through the EIP process in the near future. We are currently calling it vNFT internally, positioning it as a “Computational NFT standard”. As far as we know, if approved, this will be the first international standard for crypto digital assets proposed by a team with a Chinese background.
Solv created vNFT to add computability to non-homogenized pass-through NFTs, i.e., to make “quantity” a core property of their NFTs while retaining their powerful personalization capabilities, so that they can support mathematical operations. Computability NFT is a “super NFT” compatible with ERC721, which has the advantages of both ERC20 and ERC721, and is a universal non-currency digital asset description protocol that can be widely used for the description and representation of digital artworks, digital publications, digital tickets, and standardized virtual goods, and can also be an ideal protocol for mapping offline physical goods onto the chain.
Figure 1. Where Computable NFT, vNFT, and Solv Vouchers fit into the overall pass-through technology landscape
Computable NFT is the latest development in the token technology system and is a new area of significant research and application, and the Solv team has pioneered a reference implementation of computable NFT on Ethereum that has been validated in the Solv Vouchers product. Since Solv’s pioneering implementation of computable NFT is called Voucher, we will refer to this pass-through standard as vNFT until such time as the proposal is standardized.
vNFT is a platform-agnostic digital asset standard that is currently implemented on Ether and will soon be implemented on chains such as BSC and Polygon, with future implementations planned for various mainstream public chains such as Solana, NEAR, Polkadot, and Ether L2.
Readers who have studied digital assets will easily see that the combination of computability and NFT will inspire great innovation. We will not only make the full standards documentation publicly available as required by the EIP, but will also fully open source the code of the reference implementation when appropriate, welcoming digital asset innovators around the world to join us in driving the adoption of this technology.
This paper briefly introduces the basic idea, design scheme and application implications of computable NFT. For the sake of precision, the following terminology is agreed upon.
Computational Non-fungible Token (CNFT) refers to a computable NFT.
vNFT is a protocol proposed by the Solv team for implementing computable NFTs, and we will file a petition under the EIP to make vNFT the industry standard for computable NFTs. Without misunderstanding, vNFT is sometimes used in this document to refer to a specific token.
Anyone can create a voucher based on vNFT for a specific application, such as a voucher for a bill of lading, a voucher for a certificate of title, a voucher for a share of an investment, etc. Without misunderstanding, vouchers are sometimes used in this document to denote a specific token.
NFT is not uncountable
The main advantage of a homogeneous pass-through (FT) is that it is computable, so it is suitable for expressing purely numerical objects such as currency and points. The main advantage of non-homogeneous pass-throughs (NFTs) is their descriptive power, as each NFT can have different properties and contents. By descriptive power, another way to say it is to be efficient. If there are 100 different items to be described as tokens, using FT technology, such as the ERC20 standard, 100 different ERC20 contracts will be written and 100 different ERC20 tokens will be published.
To make an analogy, in ERC20, in order to produce 100 different products, to build 100 different factories, and then each factory to produce only one product, the efficiency is naturally very poor. In NFT, you only need to create one ERC721 contract, and then cast 100 different NFTs, and write different data content in each NFT. This is like building only one factory to produce 100 different products, which is naturally more efficient.
Current NFTs are mainly created based on the ERC721 protocol. Each NFT created by this protocol is unique, neither similar nor detachable. It is as if the factory has a strange temperament, each product can only be produced one, not more than one, so ERC721 has a huge flaw, is not computable.
Why is it not computable? Any two NFTs in the ERC721 cannot be added together, not even addition, so naturally no other calculations can be performed.
Due to preconceived notions, many people take the non-computability of NFT for granted when talking about it, and even take it as the essential property and source of value of NFT. Many people think that since an apple plus a pear is meaningless, then one NFT and another NFT certainly can not add up, let alone the number of multiplication and other more advanced calculations.
But in fact, if you think about it a little deeper, you will realize that NFT is not necessarily uncomputable.
In the case of art and collectibles, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Yan Zhenqing’s Nephew’s Manuscript are naturally unique, but prints, posters, stamps, star cards, inscriptions and topiaries can be issued in limited quantities rather than unique. An edition of stamps, for example, is limited to a thousand sets, and in any two of them, although they are indeed technically different, the differences between them are so slight that we can ignore their differences and abstractly regard them as exactly the same.
In other words, this neglect and abstraction is essentially a process of re-homogenization, in which we take an otherwise non-homogeneous set of items that are different from each other and make them conceptually the same homogeneous items. Since they are homogeneous, there are many scenarios in which computation can be performed. One of the most prominent scenarios is price computation. For example, if the price of a set of stamps is $200, then another set of stamps of the same edition will cost $200. Almost no one would ask for a different price because the two sets of stamps differ by a few pixels. Similarly, if a three-year $100 Treasury bill is now priced at $90, then 10 Treasury bills of the same denomination would be priced at $900, and no one would give a different valuation because one of the bills has a folded corner.
This shows that the uncomputability of NFTs is by no means natural. For a large class of NFTs, computability would be a great convenience for their practical application.
Which NFTs are computable? The main ones are these.
Digital representation of standard products
Various documents and certificates
Digital financial instruments and standardized contracts
Limited-edition digital content
Limited-edition virtual commodities
Shareable rights certificates
Abstraction and categorization as the basis for NFT computability
No two leaves in the world are exactly the same, and no two apples are exactly the same. As long as one does not enter the microcosm, then there is only one distinctly different thing in the world after another. We can never add one apple to another apple, nor can we get the concept of “two apples”. Therefore, when Lu Xun said that the two trees outside the wall, one is a date palm and the other is also a date palm, he was not talking about any literature.
Fortunately, human beings have a remarkable cognitive ability, which is abstraction and categorization. Abstraction is the ability to purposefully ignore the special features of an item and emphasize the commonality between it and certain other items, and to place these items under a certain concept based on this commonality. It is due to this ability that one can develop such concepts as “apple”, “leaf”, “tiger”, “date palm”, and under certain scenarios, it is now allowed to add and calculate between similar items. When we say “two apples”, we are actually abstracting two items classified as the same, eliminating the differences between them and performing a “re-homogenization”, and then doing a one plus one equals two operation to create a concept like “two apples”.
The same logic applies to NFTs, which are of course different, but if we apply abstraction and categorization, ignoring their differences, we can eliminate their differences, “re-homogenize” them, and thus perform a variety of computations including addition and quantitative multiplication.
However, ERC721, the current mainstream NFT standard, places a one-sided emphasis on the uniqueness of each NFT and does not provide a standard way to abstract and categorize NFTs. This is the fundamental reason why ERC721 NFTs are not computable, and the starting point for computable NFT innovation.
The basic idea of vNFT
vNFT is a concrete standard for computable NFTs, and its purpose is to add computability to NFTs, specifically by allowing the creation of a large number of similar NFTs in vNFT in bulk. vNFT is like a factory that can produce unique products or mass-produce one product on demand, with optimal flexibility and efficiency. The flexibility and efficiency are optimized.
vNFT is designed based on three basic ideas.
Making “quantity” the core attribute of vNFT.
Providing a standard mechanism for abstraction and categorization, i.e., the SLOT mechanism.
Compatibility with ERC721.
Quantity as a core attribute of vNFT
ERC721 considers each NFT to be unique, so its default number is 1. Since it is all 1s, there is no need to explicitly represent it.
Computable NFTs are different. A computable NFT must contain a quantity property, which is the basic reason why it can support mathematical computations. For this reason, we put quantity as a core property in vNFTs. For example, if a vNFT represents your digital business card, and its quantity is 100, this means that it is not a business card, but a collection of 100 business cards. Of course, the quantity could also be 1.
Figure 2. vNFTs use quantity as a core property
As can be seen, a vNFT can be either a single, unique NFT or the sum of several similar vNFTs. For example, a bond with a face value of $100 can be considered as the sum of 100 bonds with a face value of $1. A bill of lading containing 30 items of a particular model can be considered the sum of 30 bills of lading for a single item. solv makes this addition possible by setting “quantity” as the head attribute in the vNFT, alongside the ID information of that vNFT. In other words, the addition of two vNFTs is in fact a merge, an operation that adds the number attributes of both while keeping other attributes unchanged. This is the fundamental starting point of computability.
The inverse of addition is subtraction, so a direct consequence of having the quantity property is the possibility of splitting the vNFT into zeroes. A vNFT can be split into two, as long as the sum of the quantity properties of the two vNFTs equals the original vNFT quantity property. For example, in a vNFT, a $100 bond pass can be split into two bonds with face values of $20 and $80, respectively. In fact, in the Solv Vouchers platform, users can not only do splitting, but also partial transfers. Currently, NFT demutualization and splitting is a hot topic, and there are some feasible technical solutions, but they are cumbersome. In vNFT, it is very natural and simple to support NFT portioning, splitting and partial transfers.
The quantity property in vNFT is very flexible in practice, and can express share quantities as well as various metrics such as area, length, weight, price, etc. The vNFT standard allows developers to impose various constraints on these quantities, such as maximum quantity, minimum quantity, whether splitting is possible, minimum unit of splitting, etc., to meet the needs of various application scenarios.
SLOT is the core innovation of vNFT, so it must be explained in a little bit of detail.
The English word SLOT means “slot”. In modern electronic devices, a slot is a standardized adaptation interface. For example, on the motherboard of a computer, there are a number of standard slots, and no matter which manufacturer produces the board, as long as it follows the relevant standards and can be inserted into the slot, it can work properly. Different models of boards from different manufacturers are of course different from each other, but with the abstraction and unification of the slots, their differences are ignored and are instead abstracted into identical, homogeneous standard parts.
The term vNFT was chosen to represent the abstraction and categorization mechanism of computable NFTs precisely because its working mechanism is quite similar to the slots in computers. In vNFT, a SLOT represents a category, and in implementation is circled a specific set of properties. Any two vNFTs, as long as they both have this set of properties, and they both have exactly the same set of properties, can be “inserted” into this slot, that is, they can both be classified into the category represented by this SLOT. All vNFTs that can be categorized into the same SLOT are considered to be of the same kind, because they can also be summed.
As an example. Suppose we create a vNFT category for a book warehouse to represent book pickup orders, for example with a single order representing the pickup rights for 100 books. The representation of this order in vNFT is shown as follows.
Figure 3. vNFT representing a book bill of lading
What role can SLOT play? A SLOT is a subset of attributes in a vNFT. Assuming that a SLOT has three attributes circled (book number, warehouse number, book title), the implication is that two vNFTs can be grouped together if they are identical in these three attributes.
Figure 4. subset of SLOT attributes in the book bill of lading
Let’s say we see two vNFTs, which both contain these three attributes, and both are (“ISBN 978-7-5217-2263-5″, ” Beijing Haidian 3 Warehouse”, ” Blockchain and Asset Securitization”), then regardless of what other attributes each of these two vNFTs has, and regardless of whether their other attributes are the same, we can consider that both vNFTs belong to the same SLOT, i.e., they belong to the same class. Thus they can be summed. When they are summed, the two vNFTs are merged into one, and the new vNFT keeps the values of both attributes and sums the values of their number attributes.
Figure 5. Two book bills of lading vNFT summed
Thus, SLOT is an abstract classification mechanism that allows us to deliberately ignore certain aspects of things and assign different things to the same category based only on some commonalities. Once categorized, it can be “re-homogenized” to perform numerical calculations.
It is worth pointing out that the SLOT mechanism in fact allows individual vNFTs to personalize themselves, i.e. to declare that they do not belong to a certain category. In practice, the designer of a voucher can put some special properties in SLOT to make it easier for a specific vNFT to “distinguish” itself by assigning values to these special properties. In other words, if SLOT is a “re-homogenization” mechanism, then these special attributes in SLOT are a “counter re-homogenization” mechanism. This shows the flexibility of the SLOT mechanism. This is a more advanced use of the SLOT mechanism, so I will not go into details here.
Compatible with ERC721
Computable NFTs can be implemented in a number of ways; for example, ERC1155 is in a sense a standard implementation of computable NFTs, but vNFT is designed to differ from it in a number of ways, one important difference being that vNFTs are compatible with ERC721, and each vNFT is also an ERC721. Readers familiar with object-oriented programming can easily understand that vNFT can be considered a derived class of ERC721, so if an application supports ERC721, then it already supports vNFT. In contrast, ERC1155 creates a completely new pass-through standard, and applications need to write code specifically to support ERC1155. vNFT’s backward compatibility undoubtedly lowers the threshold for its use in the field. In practice, the various vouchers created by Solv can be managed directly in various NFT wallets and can also be streamed into NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, demonstrating the advantages of this design choice.
Another advantage of choosing to be compatible with ERC721 is the dynamism and flexibility. This stands out when compared to the ERC20 and ERC1155. The ERC20 is a factory that can only mass-produce the same product, so if you want to create a new product, you have to create a new factory. The ERC721 is a good character factory that can produce a wide variety of products, but only one of each, never duplicates, and never mass-produces the same product. ERC1155 is a factory with multiple production lines, each of which can manufacture the same product in batch, but to add a new class of product, a new line must be added and all distribution, sales channels, and application scenarios must be upgraded to support the new product.
vNFT, on the other hand, is the equivalent of a smart factory that can produce both unique products and similar products in volume, and allows channels and users to customize these products individually and add new products without requiring others to make structural adjustments. Clearly, vNFT offers the greatest flexibility and dynamism compared to ERC20, ERC721 and ERC1155.
Application Scenarios for vNFT
Computable NFT is actually a re-homogenization of non-homogeneous passwords, so it has the abstraction and computability of homogeneous passwords, but also the flexibility and descriptive power of NFT, reaching an optimal balance in applications. In the field of overseas digital asset research, some people refer to such passwords as “semi-homogenized passwords”, which are attracting more and more attention.
Some possible applications are explored below, using vNFT as an example.
Using vNFT to create digital business cards, star cards, admission tickets, stamps, and other limited-edition items.
using vNFT to represent shareable and shareable asset titles, such as certificates of title to land or houses.
using vNFT to represent proofs that naturally have quantitative characteristics, such as bills of lading, redemption coupons, coupons, loyalty cards, etc.
using vNFT to represent proof of ownership of virtual real estate with area attributes.
using vNFT to represent virtual objects in games.
use vNFT to create beautiful functional tickets that not only have specific functions in the system, but are also artistic and collectible in their own right.
use vNFT to create limited-edition, cryptographic artwork that collectors can sign and comment on.
Use vNFT to create financial contracts and financial instruments.
The above list is far from exhaustive in terms of the application scenarios of vNFT. There is no doubt that computable NFT can play a key role in almost every area of the digital economy in the future, and vNFT, as the native standard for computable NFT, will be widely used.
Progress of vNFT
The Solv team started to research computable NFT in October 2020, formalized the technical idea in December, completed the design and reference implementation of vNFT in the first quarter of 2021, and officially launched the Solv Vouchers ethernet mainnet on June 17, 2021. The Solv Vouchers themselves represent token shares with a release time lock, are ERC721 compatible, and can be split, merged, partially transferred, and can perform linear operations such as addition and number multiplication, and each voucher has a carefully designed appearance, making it a distinctive digital asset.
Solv Vouchers’ innovation has been recognized by a number of outstanding international DeFi projects and protocols, and more than 20 DeFi projects have already established strategies with Solv, including DODO, Parsiq, Bounce, NAOS Finance, Ankr, Saffron Finance, Impossible Finance, and more. The recognition from peers is a testament to the value and effectiveness of vNFT and Solv Vouchers innovations.
However, research on computable NFT is still in its early stages, and the Solv team is committed to continually enhancing the vNFT standard and Vouchers products. Our upcoming new release of Vouchers will feature customizable release conditions, post-asset replenishment, and much more, with future capabilities such as packaging and layering of multiple heterogeneous vNFTs in some way.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/nft-is-not-uncomputable-read-about-the-basic-ideas-and-design-solutions-for-computable-nft/
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