In an article a few months ago we talked about the most important standards of Ethereum: ERC-20 and ERC-721. With the first you can create fungible tokens (coin for example), with the second non-fungible tokens (ideal to create unique digital assets in the world). These standards have the merit for providing a structure of simple and immediate implementation even for less experienced programmers.
The presence of some critical issues in terms of security or scalability has led to a series of new ERC (Ethereum Request for Comments) that increasingly extend the possibilities offered by the network.
Among these, the ERC-1155 standard has quickly climbed to the podium of the most important and revolutionary. Why?
Tokens are fungible, they do not have a specific individuality and are interchangeable, in exchange and use; they are also used in most cases as coin or utility. These tokens are the most widely used. Many ICO-funded projects have tokens created to this standard.
In this case the interface is useful to create non-fungible tokens (NFT), which are unique and not interchangeable with each other. With this standard you can easily create tokens belonging to the security class (and utilities with specific functions) or unique digital assets. The structure is very similar to the previous standard, however a fundamental parameter is inserted to provide the uniqueness of the token: _tokenId . One of the first uses of this standard is to be attributed to the dapp Cryptokitties, one of the most popular applications running on Ethereum, where each token is associated with a crypto-cat that can be bred (providing unique features) and resold on the network. Sales have reached over thirty million dollars. Since no other tokens are the same, each one of them becomes a rare object to own; we can talk about a sort of “digital collecting” that is involving more and more subjects.
One of the issues mentioned daily for Blockchain applications or smart contracts is scalability. In the case of the mentioned Ethereum standards the main limitations are:
- The impossibility of exchanging different standards (a fungible token with a non-fungible token) in the most efficient way possible.
- The impossibility to manage in the same dapp both fungible and non-fungible tokens.
- The impossibility to create a very high number of nfts, as in the case of digital objects of crypto-games. For each object should be created a specific contract and is a serious problem in terms of costs and time for the overall work to be done.
This revolutionary standard allows you to manage multiple types of tokens in the same smart contract. Only a single smart contract has to be uploaded on the network instead of multiple ones, a clear simplification in terms of time and costs.
We can define it a “multi token standard” because it allows for each token ID to represent a new type of token, with its metadata, supply and other attributes.
The revolutionary character for scalability is therefore determined by two possibilities offered by this standard:
- Creating, exchanging and transferring multiple tokens more quickly
- Simplified Atomic swap between different classes of tokens in the same contract
The ERC-1155 was born to solve a criticality in the scalability of crypto-games (where obviously the number of fungible and not to be created and exchanged tokens is much higher than the other sectors) but it can be used, if necessary, also in other areas.
In the case of Ethereum, in spite of the many obstacles, it seems that there are daily steps towards a definitive “mass adoption” of both its network and tokens. The latters in the coming years will have a disruptive impact on several sectors including finance and gaming.