ERC-721 Ethereum Standard – What is it for?

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Ethereum Improvement Proposals are important part of blockchain development standardisation on this platform. The number 721 describes standard for non-fungible tokens. Here’s a short introduction to it, with all the basics you should know.

What are non-fungible tokens?

The easiest way to image fungible and non-fungible tokens is comparing them to money and collectibles.

A single 1$ bill is worth 1$. They are all the same (well, at least in theory).

The same is for example Bitcoin. 1 Bitcoin equals 1 Bitcoin, no matter “which one” you take.

But imagine, that the Bitcoins would have ID numbers, and every one of them would be unique. Wouldn’t the first Bitcoin ever mined be more expensive than the others?

What is ERC-721 Ethereum standard?

ERC-721 is a free open standard for creating unique tokens on Ethereum.

The goal of creating a standard in not to limit the possibilities. It is created to have a common interface to communicate with the token – Similarly to the famous and wide spreaded ERC-20, it simply gives you an easy way to add your new token to a crypto exchange and introduce it to the market.

The standard is just a base for all the “uniqueness” of token. It describes the minimum interface that allows you to manage, own and trade token. You can add any unique function to it.

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ERC-721 Ethereum development in practice

The first example of ERC-721 standardized tokens are CryptoKitties. Each kitty is unique – that’s what gives them their value.

You can’t just say “I will transfer you 3 CryptoKitties.” You have to point at the specific Kittens. It’s more like “I will give you CryptoKitty #2345, #1253 and #7753.”

Each token and each Kitty is completely unique and non-interchangeable with other tokens.

That’s just a single example of 721 standard appliance. You can use it in various scenarios, for example a token can be express the land ownership, or any other non-tanglible asset.

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