ERC-1155: The Multi Token Standard

Created by Enjin CTO Witek Radomski, ERC-1155 is an Ethereum standard (a format of standardized coding rules and data structures) that allows for infinite amounts of both fungible (identical) and non-fungible (unique) tokens in a single deployed smart contract.

ERC-1155 is also referred to as the “Multi Token Standard.”

It was adopted by Ethereum as an official token standard in June 2019.

Features

  • Multiple Tokens: Developers can define and configure both fungible and non-fungible tokens within a single smart contract.
  • Advanced Capabilities: Users can trade, destroy, use, upgrade, combine, rent, loan, and lose their assets.
  • Gas Saving: Using the Multi Token Standard can cut gas fees by up to 90% when minting new tokens.
  • Atomic Swaps: Enables swaps of any number of tokens in two simple steps.
  • Multi-Transfers: Allows users to send tokens to multiple recipients in a single transaction.


Background

Typically, video games have two distinct types of assets: fungible and non-fungible.

Gold coins, mana gems, and resources like iron, stone, wood, and wheat are fungible — they are mutually interchangeable. One gold coin is equal to another gold coin; one piece of iron is the same as another piece of iron. These assets are identical.

A sword that you crafted and used, a spaceship you named “Rocinante,” and a level 57 are non-fungible — they are unique. These assets can’t be interchanged; you can’t trade a Mona Lisa for a Mona Lisa.

Token standards like ERC-20 and ERC-721 require a separate contract to be deployed for each fungible or non-fungible token/collection, making it extremely expensive and inefficient to deploy large databases of items used in mainstream video games.

Using ERC-20 or ERC-721 for even the simplest multiplayer games is impractical. It would result in placing insane amounts of redundant bytecode on the Ethereum blockchain and would limit functionality due to the nature of separating each token contract into its own permissioned address.

Our solution to this problem is ERC-1155, which allows for inclusion of both unique and identical tokens in a single deployed smart contract.

The gaming industry alone will require tens of millions of new items — but the application of this standard is by no means limited to the games market. ERC-1155 tokens can be used to certify all forms of ownership, both physical and digital.

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