SymbolThe NEM Group has launched Symbol. This, it claims, is a next-generation Proof-of-Stake+ (PoS+) public blockchain with enterprise-grade programmability and security. As described by NEM, Symbol has technical features which innovative projects can leverage when building fintech, healthcare and supply chain solutions. With the launch comes XYM, the native currency of the Symbol platform, for transactions on the network.

Commenting on the launch, David Shaw, CEO of NEM Group: “We believe we are at the start of an entirely new economic and digital system that is more inclusive and accessible. Symbol is uniquely positioned at the forefront of the movement towards decentralization, digitization and tokenization. Symbol’s feature-rich platform makes it suitable for a number of industries and use cases, spanning the enterprise, financial services, regulated asset and wider blockchain spaces. NEM has a vital role to play, alongside and operating with other platforms, in creating this new value paradigm.”

NEM’s Symbol

NEM created Symbol to be interoperable. It supports:

  • public/private hybrid models
  • trustless cross-chain swaps.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which integrate with existing systems and processes.

The atomic cross-chain swaps enable trustless data and value flow across multiple different blockchains. This eliminates the need for intermediaries. It also permits the creation of specialised digital assets, going beyond tokens, to represent:

  • shares of stock
  • signatures
  • votes
  • non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
  • other currencies.

Within Symbol, each asset has:

  • configurable properties
  • a unique identifier
  • logic-based account enforcement
  • asset-based restrictions operated at a protocol level.

According to NEM, these features hold significant potential for the new economic environment, in particular for Decentralised Finance (DeFi), regulated assets and Security Token Offerings (STOs). It helps that Symbol already integrates with Propine, a regulated issuance and custody platform for Security Tokens.

A ‘best of both worlds’ solution, it offers more flexibility as to how businesses store and share data. Kristy-Leigh Minehan, CTO of NEM Software, commented: “As a flexible platform, Symbol’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) can be seamlessly integrated by existing enterprise systems and processes, as well as other blockchains. Its multi-layer technology stack allows for trustless, peer-to-peer, multi-party asset swaps, escrows or trades. The platform has been developed with customizability as a key focus with over 120 different configuration settings, allowing for the customization of both public and private networks. Its feature sets enable the rapid development and deployment of secure solutions and expansion of features and services by development teams.

Two chains and a hybrid architecture

With the launch of Symbol, the NEM project now comprises two chains – with the 6-year old project, NEM NIS1 (V1), continuing to run in parallel with no downtime, security breaches or lost assets in its history. Symbol builds on the security features of its first Proof-of-Importance (PoI) blockchain, which also introduced on-chain multi-signature accounts.

Expanding on this V1 functionality, Symbol offers a public blockchain that adds on-chain, multi-layer, multi-signature accounts. Sometimes referred to as ‘delegated financial authority’ this allows:

  • the co-signatory of a multi-signature account to be a multi-signature account with its own set of co-signers
  • users to simplify the creation of complex signature requirements, which streamlines business processes such as payroll.

With hardware wallet and offline signing support from day one, and coupled with the advanced on-chain multi-signature support, the new capabilities present enhanced operational security options.

A different feature of Symbol lies in its hybrid chain architecture which:

  • permits deployments of both public and private chain use cases
  • supports trustless data flow between private-private and private-public deployments bidirectionally.

The attraction of this is that it allows developers to choose their preferred setup for particular needs. Enterprise users can:

  • establish a permissioned ecosystem on a private chain to store confidential information
  • enable communication with public chains or other permissioned chains.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

NEM developed Symbol over four years. It aims is to advance decentralisation, digitisation and tokenisation. These are big objectives. Yet the involvement of NEM, and Symbol with Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), is evidence of its seriousness.

To this end, NEM already offers Central Bank digital collector token on its platform with LBCOIN. This is a blockchain-based digital collector coin issued by the Bank of Lithuania. Initially on the NEM NIS1 public chain in July 2020, The Bank of Lithuania issued 4,000 LBCOIN, equivalent to 24,000 digital tokens and 4,000 physical collector coins. LBCOIN will now transfer to Symbol chains (private and public), to take advantage of the increased functionality.

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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