Token Standards: ERC-20 vs. ERC-721 vs. ERC-1155

Aug 21, 2021

Token Standards: ERC-20 vs. ERC-721 vs. ERC-1155

ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155 are three major protocols or token standards approved by the Ethereum blockchain network to run within the ecosystem. Since Ethereum is that the hottest and dominating blockchain within the market, these are the foremost popular token standards currently in effect. Each of those token standards has particular features that separate them from one another. Before we delve deeper into an in-depth discussion, allow us to offer you a quick idea.

The three tokens are supported the degree of fungibility and therefore the evolution of NFT. ERC-20 was the primary token introduced within the Ethereum blockchain. it had been wont to (and still is) mint fungible tokens. Then the system brought a replacement token standard: ERC-721, which is employed to mint non-fungible tokens. In 2019, ERC-1155 came into play. its the hybrid between these two tokens. In fact, creating non-fungible, fungible, and semi-fungible tokens in one smart contract is that the USP of ERC-1155. 

Let’s have a better check out all of them.

Evolution of Ethereum token standards


Proposed in 2015, ERC-20 was finally integrated with the Ethereum blockchain in 2017. The script token standard is widely utilized in the decentralized ecosystem for several purposes. Since ERC-20 may be a set of guidelines to manage certain actions within the blockchain, most of its users are organizations and governing bodies. As you already know, ERC-20 may be a fungible token used for identical entities. that creates it useful for stablecoin creation, ICO (Initial Coin Offerings), Crowdfunding, and similar events.

The crypto Bull Run of 2017 may need been a big factor behind the increase of ERC-20 tokens. Tether, Chainlink, USDC, DAI -- are all prime samples of cryptocurrencies built on the inspiration of ERC-20 tokens. Despite being the favoured token standard, it cant be the jack of all trades. As a result, the new Ethereum token standard was later introduced.

So, what exactly do ERC20 Tokens represent?

ERC20 tokens are basically what well call “Fungible Tokens”. Fungibility is that the ability of an honest or asset to be readily interchanged for an additional of like kind. consider two 1 dollar notes. Both the notes are different, but their value is strictly equivalent. an equivalent is that the case is an ERC20 token. Each token is well worth the very same because the other tokens are in value.

This consequently resulted in several applications of ERC20 tokens like stablecoins, governance tokens, but lets not get into that during this post.


Unlike its predecessor, ERC-721 is specialized in non-fungible tokens. Meaning, digital entities that are unique and can’t get replaced by anything are minted supported by the rules of this token. So basically, youll put it like this: If ERC-20 was invaluable for bringing new cryptocurrencies to the market, ERC-721 is critical for digital assets that don’t necessarily exist within the sort of a digital currency.

Dieter Shirley, founder, and CTO of CryptoKitties, initially presented the thought of the new token as an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) in 2017, which was finally approved by the blockchain administration in 2018.

The recent boom of NFT that you’re experiencing is often credited to the emergence of ERC-721. The new protocol allowed creating a marketplace for artists, gamers, and everybody who has something unique to sell. The sale of a $69 million digital artwork by the artist named Beeple wouldn’t are possible had there not been this token standard.

So, what exactly does ERC721 represents?

Simple, an entity. It is often anything, which has its own value. An artwork, a music album, an agreement contract, etc. No two ERC721 tokens are equivalent when it involves value.

ERC721 are what are called “Non-Fungible tokens”. consider two ERC721 representing 2 soccer players:

First represents a high school student and one representing some popular figure like Cristiano Ronaldo. So now its clear that the cardboard board representing Cristiano would be worth far more than the card of the Highschool student.

But the large question, which stops tons of individuals from stepping into NFT is why even bother to shop for a “digital entity” in the first place. the solution is pretty simple, consider it like this: Why does Mona Lisa cost such a lot and is taken into account such a lot valuable ?. the solution is as simple as that, people consider it to be a valuable piece of art that adds value to its existence.

The same is that the case with NFTs. An NFT acts as proof of ownership over a bit of digital content or a digital asset.NFT’s are unique digital tokens that represent specific digital assets that will be bought, sold, and traded. The digital artists can make sure that the worth of the art that they produce is maintained during its sale and also any future royalties that theyll be owed.

“CryptoPunks” and “CryptoKitties” are two of the very first projects during this space. Some NFT art sites now allow the choice of shopping for carbon offsets when making NFT purchases or contributing a percentage of revenue to offset programs


Created by Enjin CTO Witek Radomski in 2018, ERC-1155 opened a replacement window within the Ethereum blockchain. It allowed users to mint both fungible and non-fungible tokens in one smart contract. What it essentially did was fill a vacuum within the industry. Now, anything you would like regarding NFT might be solved in one place, which makes ERC-1155 a game-changer.

Not only that, the easy-to-use interface proved to be a way more efficient place for newcomers. In their own words, “the core concept behind ERC-1155 is that one, a smart contract can govern an infinite number of tokens.” The new token reduces gas costs by 80%-90%, which is another relief for artists and gamers. 

So why ERC-1155?

Take, for instance, Mona Lisa again. theres one Mona Lisa artwork, which is worth many dollars and may be represented by Non-Fungible ERC-1155. Now there also can be several other copies of the artwork, which may be sold as Fungible ERC1155. The ERC1155 gives accessibility, simplicity, and efficiency on the customer side.

Another example use case is often games. You earn points and buy items using these points during a game. At an equivalent time, youll exchange items too. The “items” are often represented by Non-Fungible ERC-1155 and “points” are often represented as Fungible ERC-1155.

Closing Thoughts

If you recognize anything about NFT, you recognize that fungibility is that the primary concern. But that’s only one feature of this technique. Because you can’t always affect a singular, most original identity. Sometimes you’re handling replicas, copies, identical materials with no difference whatsoever. And it’s not almost NFTs; organizing crowdfunding, ICOs, bringing more cryptocurrencies to the market are a number of the main applications. All of those applications require a degree of features and strict guidelines.

These three token standards are just the start of a highly efficient and inclusive digital ecosystem. The evolution of token standards is occurring at a way higher speed, so it won’t be surprising to ascertain a drastic advancement of blockchain within the next few years. 

Articles authored by  brugu softwaresolutions

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