XEM And The Symbol Launch: What You Need To Know



Although less famous than several of its peers, the NEM blockchain has been a common source of expectations and advancement for the blockchain community over the last several years. The reason you might hear about it less is simply its relatively niche focus (the blockchain is geared towards the use and trade of smart assets) rather than because of a lack of relevance.

Most recently, an announcement of a second upcoming blockchain, called the Symbol blockchain, was made by the NEM group. The plan is for this new blockchain to replace the original NEM blockchain, and for all data in the old blockchain to migrate to the new one.

Naturally, this has raised many questions both among already existing users and people looking into these projects for the first time.

 Also Read: Project Cosmos And Its Future Outlook

Why is the NEM blockchain migrating into a new one?


This is a common, and expected question. We’re used to iterative software development. Even in the blockchain world, many of the biggest names (Ethereum being the largest example of this) iterate on their own blockchains, updating what’s already there rather than creating something new. That way, the Ethereum blockchain is essentially the same today as it was several years ago, as long as you don’t try to apply the logic behind the Ship of Theseus to it.

The NEM blockchain has instead decided to migrate to a new one. The reason behind this is that Symbol is more than just an update and more of a fully-fledged upgrade on the NEM blockchain. It was created with the intention of righting some of NEM’s wrongs and aiming towards offering a faster, more reliable, more economical experience for business working in the blockchain.

As it turned out, the best way to attain this was to fully rewrite the blockchain, making sweeping protocol and design changes keeping in mind everything the coders had learned since the release of NEM, along with how the market had changed.


What happens during this migration? Is the NEM blockchain suddenly disappearing?


It would be a terrible idea to go for a sudden, mandatory migration, particularly knowing how these things tend to always have bugs or issues that need to be ironed out.

Thus, as is common for this kind of moves, the NEM>Symbol migration won’t happen all at once, and won’t be mandatory at first. It will come as a series of rollouts, where users can opt-in for migration or choose to stay with NEM.

To allow for the proper migration to happen, all cryptocurrency on the NEM blockchain, specifically the XEM tokens, can now be converted into Symbol-based tokens, known as XYM tokens. The migration process for users, then, consists on converting their existing holdings in XEM into XYM tokens.


How is this conversion done? Will all tokens of a type become the other?


Yes, and no.

Right now, the conversion is optional and happens through the user’s own balance on the official XEM blockchain and its wallets. The NEM wallet, specifically, received an update a couple months ago to allow people to opt-in to the migration. Tokens held anywhere outside the main blockchain and its wallets (for example, tokens held in crypto exchanges) won’t migrate, except for a few exchanges (like Binance) that have pledged to support the migration.

The process to migrate, then, begins by moving your tokens to a NEM wallet. Once you have them there, opting into the migration is as simple as using the opt-in module in your crypto wallet.

Once you’re opted-in, you just have to wait. A snapshot will be taken on January 14th 2021, where a record of all the XEM tokens in wallets that have opted in will be made. The users who have opted in will receive that exact amount of XYM tokens on the Symbol blockchain via an airdrop once the blockchain launches. Users who don’t opt-in won’t receive XYM tokens.

All users will retain their existing XEM tokens, and they can keep using the XEM blockchain for the foreseeable future. The migration is, therefore, optional.


Why should I migrate?


First, there’s the obvious one: While the NEM blockchain will keep working, the developers intend for the Symbol blockchain to eventually take its place.

This little fact brings several more reasons to opt in, the biggest one among them being that the value of XEM tokens could drop after the snapshot and subsequent airdrop happens - particularly if a large chunk of the NEM users decide to move to Symbol.

There’s another, practical reason: You don’t lose your XEM tokens during migration. Opting in for migration, thus, simply gives you XYM tokens without taking anything from you.


Do I need anything else to migrate, or is it only opting in?


You’ll need to have a balance of at least 100 XEM to be eligible for the opt-in and subsequent airdrop. Accounts with lower balances will not receive any XYM tokens.

Other than that, the process is just that simple. As long as you have 100 XEM in your wallet by January 14th and you have opted in by January 9th, when the opt-in cutoff happens, you should receive XYM tokens for free once the blockchain launches.

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