ERC 721 and ERC 155 – Setting the standards for NFTs in Blockchains

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What is ERC-721?

Like the ERC-20 which is a protocol used in Ethereum, the ERC-721 is a protocol introduced as a standard used for NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Since all NFTs are unique, a proper standard must be available so that they are better controlled and moderated. This means that the tokens would carry different values from the same Smart Contract which could be due to elements like rarity and author.

What does ERC-721 entail?

All NFTs use tokenId. This is a unit256 variable that is unique together with the pair contract address. With the ERC-721, a minimum interface must be used by the smart contract so that the unique tokens can be officially traded or used. This was the first standardized interface and most widely used for NFTs. The ERC-721 is ideal for tracking NFTs because it is transparent in terms of security and ownership while being immutable. However, it can sometimes be slow and not very efficient especially when transferring an entire collection.

Where is ERC-721 supported?

Some of the major names in the blockchain and NFT platforms are supporting ERC-721. Among them include:

  • 0x Protocol
  • OpenSea
  • OpenZeppelin
  • RareBits
  • Toshi
  • Axiom Zen
  • Decentraland
  • Su Squares
  • Cipher Browser
  • KnownOrigin Marketplace
  • NonFungible.com
  • MyCollectibles.io

It must also be noted that renowned projects like Crytokitties and CryptoCelebrities were built during the beta stage of the ERC=721.

What is the ERC-1155?

The ERC-1155 was designed to overcome some of the challenges faced in the ERC-721. Besides transfer time (which can sometimes be slow), the gas fees can be quite high in certain cases. The ERC-1155 supports both NFTs and fungible tokens and is ideal for batch token transfers. Called the ‘next generation multi-token standard), this could make various types of NFTs using a single contract. The ERC-1155 is a newer type of token in Ethereum with multi-token capabilities and new functions for developers. This has since changed the DApps outlook in the blockchain.

What benefits do ERC-1155 have over ERC0721?

Speed is the most notable advantage that the ERC-1155 brings. Meanwhile, it can also reduce gas fees by up to 90% which can be very substantial and becomes a more affordable option for minting NFTs.

What are the basic features of the ERC-1155?

The ERC-1155 basically could:

  • Handle tokens with multiple functions – It could store tokens that where it creates a smart contract interface where you can manage both types of non-fungible and fungible tokens. This means an ERC-1155 token has the capabilities of the ERC-20, ERC-721 or both simultaneously.
  • Transferring of tokens – It has better control on transfers, unlike the ERC-20 where your token could be trapped and lost if you transfer to the wrong ERC-20 address.
  • Compatibility – Previous standards like ERC-20 and ERC-721 were not compatible with each other and it would need additional features to do so. In the ERC-1155, one smart contract is used to handle all NFT tokens. Hence, it becomes simpler, more secured and much easier to program and design.
  • Cheaper cost – Since mass transfer is possible with the ERC-1155, more tokens can be transferred in a single transaction, minimizing the impact on the network and subsequently saving on transaction costs.

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