It is basic knowledge now that the cryptocurrency market consists of various kinds of digital tokens. Those tokens are developed on blockchain protocols. They also follow a set of rules referred to as ‘token standards’.
Contemporarily, there are several types of the Ethereum Request for Comment(ERC) standards for supporting various types of smart contracts. They include ERC-20, ERC-721, ERC-777, and ERC-1155.
Although ERC-20 is still the most widespread, the boom of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Metaverse(virtual reality) has brought to the limelight another token standard called ERC-721.
What is ERC-721?
ERC-721 is a token standard on Ethereum for NFTs. It is a template or format that other developers agree to follow.
Note: Following the same standards makes writing code easier, more predictable, and reusable.
These standards are completely voluntary, but following a widely used standard means compatibility with a wide variety of applications including exchanges, dapps, and wallets.
In simple terms, ERC-721 provides functionalities for tracking unique digital assets, like deeds for artwork or songs, and demonstrating individual ownership over them.
How ERC-721 came to being
ERC-721 has grown to become a pillar of the Ethereum ecosystem, underpinning billions of dollars worth of NFTs. So, let’s run a background check on the concept.
At the initial stage, the ERC-721 specification was proposed by Dieter Shirley as an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) – a process for introducing new standards to Ethereum. The official authors of the ERC-721 standard are William Entriken, Dieter Shirley, Jacob Evans, and Nastassia Sachs.
EIP721 was first introduced by Dieter Shirley in September 2017. And by June 2018, ERC-721 had been accepted among Ethereum developers as a standard.
To further boost its worldwide acceptance, in May 2019, Nike filed and was awarded a patent that utilizes ERC-721 standard.
Decentraland launched a virtual world built using ERC-721 NFTs to represent land and virtual objects in February 2020. This made it gain traction in the world of metaverse and since then, it has been on an upward spiral.
Unique qualities of ERC-721
One of the unique characteristics of ERC-721 tokens is its uniqueness. When an ERC-721 token is created, there is one and only one of those tokens in existence.
Those tokens, in the form of NFTs, are said to have spread the idea and application of unique assets on the Ethereum network.
Although the most common use case for ERC-721 NFTs is for digital art, the use cases extend beyond that. Spanning through virtual and physical property rights, ownership, real estate and so many others.