The non-homogeneous digital asset is a type of asset compared with traditional currency homogeneous assets. It applied to distributed ledger network with unique assets instance, which have different data items and contents except for the unique identifiers, and those of the same type cannot be directly combined and cannot be compartmentalized.
Taking a more realistic asset, Bitcoin, as an example, this typical homogeneous digital asset has no difference and can be replaced with each other. If an account receives a Bitcoin while transferring another one, the balance, as well as the value, will remain the same, which shows other characteristics of homogeneous assets, divisible and combinable.
In contrast, the non-homogeneous digital asset is a type of asset compared with traditional currency homogeneous assets. It applied to distributed ledger network with unique assets instance, which have different data items and contents except for the unique identifiers, and those of the same type cannot be directly combined and cannot be compartmentalized.
In contrast, with the specific attributes at the beginning of production,non-homogeneous digital assets are unique and cannot be split or simply merged, especially for those under 1808 standard, for having more complex designs like asset nesting, cross-world traveling and scalable data (see the description on the characteristics of 1808 standard assets).
Making an analogy between "World of Warcraft" and the blockchain, all the props of the former one can be set as non-homogeneous digital assets. When players completing the task, they shall get the legendary equipment "Blessed Blade of the Windseeker", which contains many skills and effects besides the basic values of attack, speed, weight, etc. all can be expressed in the scalable data of non-homogeneous digital assets. If obtained again, the weapons will not be merged but exist as independent asset data despite their same attributes, skills and even descriptions. In addition, the equipment can be sold, exchanged, or destroyed, while its information will always exist independently in a traceable form on the chain.
That is to say, non-homogeneous assets are a form of digital description applicable for unique items such as game props and real objects, playing a key role in the development of the blockchain game industry.
As shown in the COCO-BCX whitepaper, there are four stages of blockchain gaming:
- Fungible Token as a Settlement Measure of In-Game Economy;
- Free Exchange of Game Coins and Assets;
- Key Game Algorithms Running on Blockchain;
- The Game as a whole Running on the Blockchain.
The "props" in the second stage go beyond the props to various unique digital assets in the game. It covers items, equipment, character information, level data, etc. and can even be extended to game resources, map scenes, plot data, DLC, etc. in the third and fourth stage.
It can be argued that a well-defined standardized non-homogeneous digital asset will be the cornerstone of the phased leap for the blockchain gaming.
Standardizing digital assets is a basic work, as well as the key part to the sustainable, scalable, and scientific operation of the chain network. The significance of designing standardized non-homogeneous assets includes:
- Non-homogeneous asset standardization guarantees the standardization of definition, format, and structure in an asset’s life cycle. The high compatibility and interpretability between standardized digital assets enable them to provide a foundation for the exchange in the third-party non-homogeneous digital asset;
- Standardized non-homogeneous assets can eliminate the redundant custom structure analysis, and improves the efficiency and capacity of chain network operation;
- Standardized assets are more conducive to the design of initialization, retrieval, analysis, and other operations, saving developers the need to consuming the workload on interacting with different assets so that they can just follow the standard definitions and focus more on the design of the asset content itself.
Taking ERC-721 standard as an example, any non-homogeneous digital asset defined by it can be analyzed, retrieved and modified using the same mode of contract/service. When the operating different ERC-721 assets object, the developer does not even need to modify the contract/service code but to change the identification information of the incoming asset instance in the interface call to complete the full compatibility of the new asset.