Can someone explain XEM/NIS1 vs XYM/Symbol?

Some time ago, I thought Catapult/Symbol would replace NIS1, like ETH 2.0 will replace ETH 1.0 or Syscoin 4 replaced Syscoin 3. Now they will exist alongside of each other and NIS1 nodes will be rewarded for at least 6 years. I would like to understand this better.

  • Is XEM going to be phased out, or will it exist and keep getting updated?
  • Is XYM/XEM like ETH/ETC? (different and separate)
  • Is XYM/XEM like CRO/MCO? (different but related)
  • Is XYM superior to XEM, or just different?
  • Will NEM Group focus on Symbol or both XEM/XYM?
  • Will XYM create value, or will value be transferred from XEM?
  • Why was chosen to create a separate token rather than an upgrade?

XEM and NEM (sometimes know as NIS1) will continue in parallel, very likely to be open sourced and there have been indications from some projects in the community they don’t wish to migrate, or certainly not immediately.

Also see answer below on the website links, nem project continues but has two platforms/products

Different and separate is the relevant model. But, it is different to ETH/ETC, that split was created due to a philosophical split in the community over refunding funds lost to the DAO smart contract.

XEM/XYM is occurring due to it being technically impossible upgrade the current chain to the new technology, which was a design decision early in development. Also, stopping NIS1 by force would require a centralised action/co-ordination that is not possible at a technical level. It is probably more like ETH1 and ETH2 or possibly NXT and Ardor.

My understanding of these two is XEM/XYM is quite different (both are native tokens for seperate chains) as I understand, MCO is for app utility and CRO is native chain payment, I havent done a lot of reading of the different in CRM/MCO though.

Different, they are both native utility tokens for a chain in their own right, they are equal in that sense, relative importance of the chain they are linked to compared to the rest of the industry may or may make them appear to superior but their root use case is the same.

Both, naturally short-mid term there is a lot of Symbol focus or launch doesn’t happen etc. NGL has already stood up sites for both for example though and both XEM and XYM will be support on NEMHUB:

XYM and XEM value in terms of market cap will be set by the market and separate. It is probably a reasonable assumption in the early stages some value will migrate but it is impossible to know or quantify, because there will be projects continuing use NEM/NIS1 it is also reasonable to assume that the chain’s native utility token will retain some value.

The utility of XYM is expected to increase with adoption and awareness as more projects become aware of Symbol via marketing, PR, listings etc etc

There will also be an opt in period during which anyone who holds XEM will be able to claim XYM at launch (they will continue to own XEM post launch as well as XYM), this has a potential to be interpreted as a reason to get in before the launch and people purchase XEM, but that is entirely individual choice and market related.

NEM NIS1 is written in Java, Symbol is written in C++, a straight upgrade is technically unfeasible, there are potential workarounds but they all involve quite high levels of risk and some require exertion of centralise control that are not possible.

The way the two chains are used/interacted with is different as well so that code which works against one will need altering to work against the other, not all projects intend to perform that work on day 1 (some don’t intend to perform it at all). That means even if the point above about risk is accepted that it would consciously make any code that works against NEM NIS1 stop working and lose the history (querying data is different as well) so things like Apostille for example.


Thank you for responding in detail @DaveH I appreciate it.

I assume you’ve heard about The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off? And the $25k price? This is a giant 400-million-user opportunity, and multiple teams are razor-focused on writing up a tech proposal or alternatives.

Now while as far as I know NEM doesn’t deal directly with ECR20 tokens, NIS1 and Symbol both do Mosaics, which could be the community tokens Reddit is experimenting with.

  • If NEM would have to make a Reddit Scaling Bake-Off proposal, what would vouch for either NIS1 or Symbol?
  • Considering Symbol is not superior and not replacing NEM1, what was the motivation to make Symbol? (I do not mean to be crass.)

Thanks @FoggyBeer, yep I’m aware of the Reddit bake off, not in intimate detail. Given it closes in July 2020 and Symbol won’t launch until November 2020, I guess it would be a NEM NIS1 proposal, if we ignore that fact - from a quick skim down the list of requirements it looks more appropriate for Symbol:

Free to use for end users (no gas fees, or fixed/minimal fees that Reddit can pay on their behalf)

NEM/NIS1 doesn’t have an easy way to pay fees on behalf of a user, where as symbol does via aggregate transactions. However, as you mention, its ERC20/Eth focussed so I haven’t spent a huge amount of time thinking about it so here may be other elements to consider.

The flip side is that there is no need to pick one or the other - both could be submitted with pros/cons for each, something along these lines (feature comparison) once both are running on public chain

To be clear from my earlier comment - Symbol is superior for several use cases, especially hybrid chains, security tokens and various enterprise type uses. The question was “is XYM superior to XEM” which i took as a question about the currency not the technology. NEM NIS1 is still a perfectly capable, robust and well proved public chain that is capable of supporting use cases that don’t require the additional capability of Symbol, or even as a stepping stone.


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