NEM Announces Its Seventh Hardfork, Harlock

Key Takeaways

  • NEM’s Harlock hard fork was announced today.
  • NEM nodes will vote on whether or not to merge into a subChain of Symbol.
  • NEM is known for pioneering the “proof-of-importance” consensus mechanism.

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NEM has announced its Harlock hard fork, which it says will “decide the future of #NEM.” The hard fork will enable voting on whether NEM will integrate into the Symbol blockchain. 

Hardfork x7

Harlock will allow nodes to vote on whether they support NEM becoming a dedicated subChain of Symbol, an enterprise blockchain launched by the NEM project in March 2021. NEM nodes will vote on whether or not the NEM blockchain will merge into Symbol as a “subChain,” or “a type of transaction-specific sidechain.”

Symbol was launched earlier this year, and the vision of its founders has grown since then: 

“…subChains will be a pinnacle of innovation: not just Symbol, but the broader blockchain space. We already have plans to collaborate with other chains on research and development, and we envision a future where other cryptocurrency projects are brought in as dedicated subChains of Symbol, supplying new logic and transaction types to the entire platform.”

The Harlock update represents NEM’s seventh hard forkhistorically, roughly one every few hundred thousand blocks. The last hard fork occurred at blockheight 1,250,000 and represented a fee modification to the network. Harlock is expected to execute at blockheight 3,464,800. 

NEM (New Economy Movement) was an early crypto project, launched in Q1 of 2015. Its native cryptocurrency is XEM.  It has been prominent in Japan since 2016, seeing enterprise adoption and acceptance as payment in restaurants and hotels. According to NEM, it has also “inspired art exhibits and community-run cafes and even donation drives.” 

The project maintains that its most important contribution is its proof-of-importance consensus mechanism (rather than, say, proof-of-stake or proof-of-work), which seeks to “deter the concentration of wealth commonly associated with proof-of-stake.” It does this by rewarding on-chain activities, such as transfers, in addition to giving rewards based simply on the amount vested. 

NEM’s XEM is responding to the news. At the time of writing, it is up roughly 7% on the day, with trading volume up approximately 330%. 

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author of this piece held BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies.

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After painful birth, NEM’s tokenization blockchain ‘Symbol’ is live

Veteran crypto team NEM Group has announced the successful launch of its Symbol mainnet.

According to a March 17 announcement, NEM now comprises a “two chain ecosystem,” with NEM’s existing NEM NIS1 chain continuing to operate alongside Symbol.

Symbol’s launch wasn’t entirely smooth sailing, with the mainnet going live two days late.

Despite the team announcing the launch would be delayed due to the need to investigate unexpected node behavior amid its pre-mainnet rollout, sponsored posts celebrating Symbol’s launch were prematurely published by a number of crypto media outlets.

The issue preventing Symbol’s launch was identified within 24 hours, with NEM announcing on March 16 that a “network config issue” had resulted in its pre-mainnet forking on startup.

NEM describes Symbol as an interoperable Proof-of-Stake blockchain designed to support asset tokenization, including financial, physical, and intellectual assets. Assets created on Symbol are given unique identifiers — allowing conditional programming for tokens to be enforced at a protocol level. Symbol also supports both public and private deployments.

Symbol’s native XYM token is being airdropped to holders of NEM’s native token, XEM, at a one-to-one ratio according to balance snapshots as of March 12 — with 7.3 billion tokens from its almost 9 billion max supply being allocated to XEM holders.

While the deadline for pre-snapshot opt-ins for the airdrop expired on Jan. 9, XEM holders will be able to claim their tokens for up to six years after Symbol’s mainnet launch.

Opportunistic investors looking to cash-in on the airdrop appear to have driven a violent pump and dump in the XEM markets, with the token gaining 250% from $0.23 at the start of February to $0.8 on March 4.

However, most of the gains were short-lived, with XEM having retraced back to $0.6 by March 12, before tanking back down to $0.33 over the next three days. As of this writing, XEM last changed hands for $0.37.

NEM/USD, 90-day chart: CoinGecko

XYM is currently trading for $0.4, a roughly 8% premium over NEM, suggesting that Symbol is the 31st-largest crypto asset by market cap, ranking above FTX Token and below IOTA, according to CoinGecko/

The NEM NIS1 blockchain first launched in 2014, and was the first chain to support on-chain multi-signature wallets. Symbol expands on this functionality by allowing the signatory of multi-sig accounts to also comprise multi-signature accounts with unique co-signers.

“This allows users to simplify the creation of complex signature requirements, which streamlines business processes such as payroll,” NEM said in an announcement.