ERC-1155: the new Multi-Token Standard is now officially recognised by Ethereum

by Cristina Cannata
Jul. 1, 2019
2 minutes

Last week the new ERC-1155 Multi-Token Standard was officially adopted by Ethereum and recognised as a token standard, exactly one year after its introduction to the Ethereum community.

ERC-1155 is considered as one of the most innovative token standards, it allows to mint fungible and not fungible tokens in a more efficient way.

The idea was promoted by Enjin, an IT company focused mainly on gaming, founded in 2009, with a network of more than 20 million users.

The first version was proposed to Ethereum’s Github repository as EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal) on June 17, 2018. It received a large support from the community, with more than 400 comments and 50 revisions.

According to Enjin, “existing tokens ERC-20 and ERC-721 were not flexible enough for some kinds of game items“; in fact, “the biggest problem with existing token designs is that they require deploying a separate contract to the blockchain for each and every item type”.

As Enjin stated, existing token stardards require a separate smart contract to be deployed for each token type (ERC-20) or collection (ERC-721). Basically, it results in some limited functionalities because of the nature of separating each token contract into its own permissioned address.

The core concept behind ERC-1155, as Witek Radomki said, is that “a single smart contract can govern an infinite number of tokens“. This way, a single smart contract should be able to produce and manage an infinite number of tokens simultaneously.

This way, ERC-1155 can send multiple tokens in a single transaction. This means a significant saving on gas costs, avoiding the congestion of the Ethereum network and the need to wait for each block in single transfers. ERC-1155 standard is a valuable solution for fees issue on Ethereum Blockchain.

When a new token type with ERC-20 or ERC-721 is created it requires editing code and deploying a new contract to an address on the Ethereum blockchain. This action requires an important amount of gas that means high costs.

As Radomki explained, the way existing token are designed would require a multi-step process to achieve an atomic swap offers -exchanging one kind of token for another without an intermediary.

Essential steps for the exchange between ERC-20 tokens

This shows how the 4 transactions required to swap 2 tokens. Every additional token type added would need an additional approval step.

The ERC-1155 design permits for a swap of any amount of tokens in only 2 steps:

Essential steps for the exchange between ERC-1155 tokens

ERC-1155 is backward-compatible with ERC-721 and developers can now add adapter to make ERC-1155 act like ERC-20 and ERC-721. The ERC-1155 standard has also been future-proofed.

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