ERC-721: The Non-Fungible Token Standard

What does ERC-721 mean for token transfers?

On Ethereum, the ERC-721 standard caters specifically to non-fungible tokens. What are they and how do these tokens impact smart contracts? NFTs for short, these are unique digital assets. Each is a one-of-a-kind creation that lives on the blockchain. Ownership of NFTs is easily traceable. Examples include art pieces, trading cards, and plane tickets. Due to their non-identical nature, no two such tokens are exactly the same. In terms of unique value, non-fungible tokens can’t be swapped on a like-for-like basis.

CryptoKitties: One of the first NFT projects.

Why is ERC-721 an important standard?

This protocol supports NFT deployment and smart contracts around ‘collectibles’ and special tokens. The ERC-721 is the accepted standard for NFTs which happen on Ethereum. The blockchain stores all transaction information. Non-fungible tokens are computerized representations of items and their information. Therefore, possession of these can be tracked using the contract address of a token.

Who will find the ERC-721 suitable for application?

The functions of the ERC-721 standard guide how tokens are managed, owned, and traded. Popular projects include OpenSea, Decentraland, Rarible, and Nifty Gateway. A key trait of NFTs is indivisibility; having ownership of the asset be impossible to replicate makes them desirable to collectors and artists alike. There is a transaction fee attached to ERC-721 tokens. Users pay for the gas that powers a transaction.

ERC-721 guides NFT creation and offers ownership of unique works. | Andrey Metelev

Which are the optional and core functions of ERC-721?

Unless you already have an Ethereum wallet that holds ETH, acquiring some ETH is required to deploy ERC-721 tokens. The acquisition of ETH be done through an exchange or a dApp wallet like MetaMask. The wallet address facilitates the receipt of your ETH. The ETH is needed as gas to power a transaction. ERC-721 shares some attributes with the ERC-20 token standard, with changes made for NFTs. Here’s a table explaining ERC-721 token creation:

An example of a non-fungible token. | Olieman-eth

Which are some main ERC-721 benefits for users?

The non-fungible token standard offers benefits for various groups of blockchain users. As an example, creatives now have a new platform to showcase their talent. In addition, whether for music, digital art, game features, or some other unique asset, NFT creators and artists can be recognised for their ability. Also, this is possible without involving a third party or hefty middleman fees. As such, everybody wins.

Who developed the ERC-721 standard and when?

An important ERC addition, this standard was first announced through an EIP drafted by Dieter Shirley in collaboration with three others, namely, William Entriken, Jacob Evans, and Nastassia Sachs in 2017.

Here is a list of ERC-721 tokens which are available on Etherscan.

  • Deborah Joy Peter