From ERC-721 to ERC-1155: The Revolutionary Leap in NFT Token Standards

August 22, 2023
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As we delve into the dynamic world of NFTs, it’s essential to understand the technological infrastructure that underpins this phenomenon. Initially, the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) landscape was largely defined by the ERC-721 token standard, a protocol specifically designed for creating unique digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain. While ERC-721 has undeniably been instrumental in the growth of the NFT space, it also has its limitations, primarily its inability to manage multiple tokens within a single contract.

Enter ERC-998 and ERC-1155 – the new kids on the block. These advanced token standards promise to tackle the limitations of their predecessor and introduce more sophisticated functionalities. ERC-998 allows for the creation of ‘composable’ NFTs that can own other NFTs, while ERC-1155 blurs the line between fungible and non-fungible tokens, enabling both to be managed within a single contract. Meanwhile, the emergence of cross-chain compatibility promises to break down blockchain barriers, opening up a world of interchain interactions for NFTs.

ERC-998: Next-Level NFTs

The ERC-998 standard, hailed as the next evolution in the world of NFTs, introduces an entirely new level of complexity and utility in the blockchain ecosystem. ERC-998, or the “Composable Standard,” is built on the foundation laid by ERC-721, the pioneer NFT standard, but adds a transformative feature: it allows an NFT to own other tokens.

Let’s unpack this. ERC-721 introduced the world to NFTs, digital tokens that are uniquely identifiable and hence non-fungible, perfect for representing ownership of one-of-a-kind items like digital art or rare collectibles. While ERC-721 tokens made strides in creating digital scarcity and unique ownership, each token stood isolated, unable to interact with other tokens in a meaningful way. This is where ERC-998 comes in.

Imagine a digital art piece represented by an ERC-721 NFT. This piece of art is unique, and the NFT attests to its originality and your ownership. Now, let’s imagine you could attach other items to this art piece. Perhaps a certificate of authenticity, also an NFT, and a host of other tokens that add context, value, and depth to the artwork. Maybe even a bouquet of ERC-20 tokens (the standard for fungible tokens on Ethereum) to represent royalties from resales of the artwork. This is the capability that ERC-998 brings to the table. It allows an NFT to “own” other NFTs and ERC-20 tokens, creating a composite, multi-faceted asset.

ERC-998 effectively allows for the creation of a “bundle” or “container” that holds various tokens together under a single NFT. These composable NFTs bring a level of depth and flexibility that was previously impossible in the digital assets realm. Each ERC-998 token can have its own unique composition of assets, adding multiple layers of value and utility to a single token.

In essence, ERC-998 takes the individuality and uniqueness of ERC-721 NFTs and layers it with the ability to create intricate, multi-faceted digital assets. The applications for such tokens are vast, opening up a world of possibilities in the NFT space. However, the road to widespread adoption of ERC-998 is filled with challenges, both technical and conceptual, that the blockchain community continues to navigate.

Examples of ERC-998 Applications

  • Cryptokitties: One of the most popular and earliest uses of ERC-998 tokens was in the digital pet universe of Cryptokitties. Each Cryptokitty is an ERC-721 NFT that is uniquely identifiable. With the integration of the ERC-998 standard, these digital pets can now own other tokens. This could include accessories for the pets, like digital toys or outfits, or even other Cryptokitties, allowing for the creation of complex, multi-tiered digital assets.
  • Virtual Real Estate: In the world of virtual real estate, such as on platforms like Decentraland, ERC-998 could allow a parcel of land (an NFT) to own other tokens, like a house or other structures built on the land (also NFTs), and any rent generated from the property (in the form of ERC-20 tokens).
  • Digital Art: In virtual worlds like Decentraland or Cryptovoxels, parcels of land are represented as NFTs. ERC-998 could allow for a virtual land parcel (an NFT) to own the structures built on it (other NFTs) and any income generated from the property, such as rent (ERC-20 tokens).

Potential Impact of ERC-998 on the NFT Marketplace

As ERC-998 continues to gain momentum, the impact on the NFT marketplace could be profound. This new standard has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we interact with NFTs, expanding their use cases and enhancing their utility. Here’s a more detailed look at how ERC-998 could shape the future of the NFT marketplace:

  • Enhanced Asset Complexity: ERC-998 allows an NFT to own other tokens, be they fungible or non-fungible. This brings a level of complexity to NFTs unseen before. With this capability, NFTs can become containers for a collection of assets, representing something far more intricate than a single digital item. A digital artwork, for instance, could also carry with it a collection of other pieces, royalties from re-sales, or even other related NFTs, adding new layers to the meaning and value of the asset.
  • New Business Models: The flexibility offered by ERC-998 could give rise to innovative business models. In virtual real estate, for example, landowners could earn passive income through the NFT land parcel owning any ERC-20 token income generated on the property. This opens the door to new forms of digital asset ownership, leasing, and revenue generation that could revolutionise the NFT marketplace.
  • Broadened Collectibility: In the world of collectible NFTs, ERC-998 brings an exciting element to the table. Digital collectibles could not only be unique in themselves but could also own a set of other collectibles or related items. This opens up the possibility for even richer and more engaging collector’s items that come pre-packaged with a set of additional assets or accessories, taking the concept of digital collectibles to a new level.
  • More Dynamic Pricing: The fact that an NFT can now encapsulate a collection of assets means that its value can be far more dynamic. An NFT could see its value increase not only because of its inherent properties but also due to the value of the tokens it owns. This might add another dimension to pricing strategies in the NFT marketplace.
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The integration of ERC-998 into the NFT landscape offers exciting possibilities for the evolution of the market. As the standard matures and more use-cases are discovered, it could play a pivotal role in driving the next phase of growth and innovation in the NFT space. However, like any emerging technology, it will not be without its challenges and will require continued development and industry adoption to fully realise its potential.

ERC-1155: The Multi-Token Standard

The world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) is a fast-paced one, with constant innovation driving the sector. One such advancement is the ERC-1155 standard, a new Ethereum token standard that has emerged as a game-changer in the digital assets space.

So, what exactly is ERC-1155?

To understand ERC-1155, we first need to take a brief look at its predecessors: ERC-20 and ERC-721. ERC-20 is a technical standard used for smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain for implementing fungible tokens. Fungible tokens are interchangeable with each other — like currency, where one unit is equal in value to another.

ERC-721, on the other hand, is used for non-fungible tokens, meaning each token is unique and not interchangeable — similar to collectibles where each item has its distinct value. The rise of ERC-721 led to an explosion of NFTs in the digital world, with digital art, virtual real estate, and other unique assets changing hands for hefty prices.

However, the downside of these two standards is their lack of efficiency. Each new token requires the creation of a new smart contract, which consumes gas and adds to the congestion on the Ethereum network.

Enter ERC-1155, also known as the Multi-Token Standard. Proposed by Enjin CTO Witek Radomski, ERC-1155 was designed to optimise efficiency and enable a single contract to produce an almost infinite number of tokens. The beauty of ERC-1155 is that it can handle both fungible and non-fungible tokens. This means you can create and manage a multitude of token types — both fungible and non-fungible — within a single smart contract, dramatically improving efficiency and interoperability.

This feature unlocks a host of new possibilities in the digital asset space. For example, in a gaming ecosystem, a single ERC-1155 contract could govern a variety of tokens representing everything from currency, characters, weapons, to special items. This not only streamlines the process of creating and managing digital assets but also enables more complex and interconnected digital ecosystems.

ERC-1155 doesn’t stop at interoperability and efficiency. It also introduces the concept of ‘batch transfers,’ which allows for the transfer of multiple different types of tokens simultaneously, reducing the cost and complexity of multiple individual transactions.

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ERC-1155 is an innovative token standard that has the potential to vastly increase efficiency in the digital asset space. By bridging the gap between fungible and non-fungible tokens and enabling complex, interconnected digital ecosystems, ERC-1155 could be a significant catalyst for the next wave of innovation in the blockchain world.

How can ERC-1155 be used in different contexts?

As the blockchain industry continues to evolve, ERC-1155, known as the multi-token standard, has opened up a world of possibilities due to its ability to handle both fungible and non-fungible tokens. Let’s explore some examples of how ERC-1155 can be leveraged in different contexts, and the potential advantages and challenges that come with its implementation:

  • Gaming: Perhaps the most immediate application of the ERC-1155 standard can be found within the gaming industry. Consider a game universe where you have a multitude of items — swords, shields, power-ups, skins, in-game currency — each could be represented by an ERC-1155 token. Each player could possess a unique combination of fungible (in-game currency) and non-fungible (unique artefacts or collectibles) tokens, all governed by a single smart contract, thereby enhancing the gaming experience.
  • Digital Art: Similar to gaming, digital art platforms could also benefit from the versatility of ERC-1155. Artists could create unique artworks (non-fungible tokens) as well as a limited series of prints (fungible tokens), all under the same umbrella.
  • Digital Art: Similar to gaming, digital art platforms could also benefit from the versatility of ERC-1155. Artists could create unique artworks (non-fungible tokens) as well as a limited series of prints (fungible tokens), all under the same umbrella.
  • Real Estate: In the realm of virtual real estate, properties could be tokenized using ERC-1155, creating a blend of fungible tokens (representing shares in a property) and non-fungible tokens (representing ownership of a unique property).

Benefits and Drawbacks 

The ERC-1155 token standard is a new, sophisticated Ethereum token standard that seeks to optimise both fungible and non-fungible tokens under a single smart contract, thus offering tremendous potential for a wide range of applications. However, as with any revolutionary technology, implementing ERC-1155 presents both intriguing advantages and noteworthy challenges.

Potential Advantages of Implementing ERC-1155

  • Operational Efficiency: A significant advantage of the ERC-1155 standard is its operational efficiency. Unlike ERC-20 and ERC-721, which require a separate contract for each token type, ERC-1155 allows multiple token types to exist within a single contract. This consolidated approach drastically reduces the complexity and gas cost associated with managing separate contracts for each token type.
  • Versatility and Flexibility: With the capacity to generate both fungible and non-fungible tokens, ERC-1155 offers unprecedented versatility and flexibility. This unique feature facilitates a wide array of use-cases, enabling developers to craft more intricate and interconnected token economies.
  • Batch Transfers: The ERC-1155 standard includes a built-in functionality for batch transfers, allowing users to send multiple tokens types simultaneously. This feature further enhances the user experience and bolsters the standard’s efficiency.

Potential Challenges of Implementing ERC-1155

  • Complexity: Despite its enticing advantages, the inherent complexity of the ERC-1155 standard can pose challenges. Developers need a comprehensive understanding of the standard to fully leverage its capabilities and ensure its secure implementation. This complexity might deter some developers, particularly those who are new to the blockchain space.
  • Adoption and Integration: To harness the full potential of the ERC-1155 standard, broad adoption is required. Existing platforms might need significant overhauls or upgrades to their current systems to accommodate the ERC-1155 standard, a process that can be resource-intensive and time-consuming.
  • Regulatory Environment: As with any nascent technology, navigating the regulatory landscape can be a challenge. Regulatory guidelines for tokenized assets are continually evolving, making compliance a complex process. The unique nature of ERC-1155, straddling fungible and non-fungible assets, may also introduce unique regulatory considerations.

The ERC-1155 token standard presents a paradigm shift in how digital assets can be created, managed, and transferred on the Ethereum blockchain. While the road to broad adoption may be paved with challenges, the significant advantages and innovative potential of this technology make it a noteworthy development in the blockchain space. As with any technology, its successful implementation will rely heavily on understanding its intricacies, navigating the regulatory environment, and effectively addressing the challenges along the way.

Crossing Chains: The Future of Interoperability

The world of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is vast, diverse, and continually evolving. Different blockchains offer various advantages and trade-offs, creating ecosystems of digital assets that are as diverse as they are numerous. One concept that is increasingly crucial in this growing digital universe is cross-chain compatibility or interoperability.

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Interoperability refers to the ability of different blockchain systems to interact and communicate with each other seamlessly. This ability allows assets to be transferred across different chains, unlocking new levels of flexibility and functionality. This is where the cross-chain compatibility comes into the picture, promising a future where NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and other digital assets can flow freely between different blockchain networks.

Cross-chain compatibility is critical for the future growth of the NFT market for several reasons:

  • Increased Liquidity: Cross-chain compatibility can increase the liquidity of NFTs. It allows these unique digital assets to be traded on any compatible blockchain, broadening the potential market and enhancing their tradeability.
  • Greater Accessibility: By allowing NFTs to exist and function on various blockchains, cross-chain compatibility makes them more accessible. This increased accessibility can attract more participants to the market, increasing both demand and value.
  • Enhanced Functionality: Cross-chain compatibility can enable NFTs to interact with a wider range of decentralised applications (dApps) and smart contracts across various blockchains. This interaction can unlock new functionalities, potentially adding more utility and value to NFTs.

Cross-chain compatibility works through several mechanisms, including bridges, atomic swaps, and multichain platforms.

Bridges are protocols that enable the transfer of tokens between two different blockchains. For example, the “Rainbow Bridge” allows for the seamless transfer of assets between Ethereum and NEAR Protocol.

Atomic swaps are smart contracts that enable the exchange of one cryptocurrency for another without the need for a centralised intermediary, facilitating cross-chain trades.

Multichain platforms like Polkadot and Cosmos aim to create a network of interoperable blockchains, allowing assets, including NFTs, to move and interact across different chains.

While the development of cross-chain compatibility is still underway, it holds enormous potential. The promise of a future where NFTs can navigate the multichain universe freely is an exciting prospect, likely to shape the next stage of growth and innovation in the NFT marketplace.

Maincard: Facilitating Future Standards

In the rapidly evolving world of NFTs and digital collectibles, platforms that adapt and grow with emerging technologies are the ones that will thrive. Maincard is one such platform, positioned to embrace and facilitate the exciting future of token standards and cross-chain compatibility.

Maincard’s blockchain technology already serves as a robust foundation for trading NFTs, offering users an intuitive and secure environment to buy, sell, and explore digital collectibles. As the NFT space ventures beyond the familiar ERC-721 standard, Maincard’s adaptable infrastructure is primed to accommodate newer standards such as ERC-998 and ERC-1155. This adaptability allows Maincard users to capitalise on the benefits of these multi-token standards, including composability and more efficient transactions.

Moreover, Maincard recognizes the importance of cross-chain compatibility in propelling the NFT market forward. By facilitating interoperability, Maincard can position itself as a comprehensive gateway to the multichain universe of NFTs. Users can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of navigating digital assets across different blockchain networks, while benefiting from Maincard’s user-friendly platform and reliable security measures.

The support for new token standards and cross-chain NFTs is not just about keeping up with the trends. It’s about future-proofing the Maincard platform and its community, ensuring that users have access to the cutting-edge of blockchain technology and the ever-expanding universe of digital collectibles. With Maincard, the future of NFT token standards and cross-chain compatibility is already here.


The adoption of advanced token standards and the exploration of cross-chain compatibility could be game-changers for the NFT marketplace. By addressing the limitations of ERC-721, these developments have the potential to redefine the creation, ownership, and trading of digital assets.

ERC-998 could fuel innovative forms of digital art and virtual real estate, where individual NFTs are part of a larger, interconnected whole. ERC-1155, on the other hand, could streamline gaming and decentralised finance applications by enabling a more efficient and versatile token management system.

Moreover, cross-chain compatibility could eliminate the existing silos in the NFT space, enabling a more integrated and expansive digital asset ecosystem. This interoperability could potentially attract a broader audience, facilitate diverse collaborations, and spur innovative use cases for NFTs.

While these are still early days for these new token standards and cross-chain interactions, one thing is clear: they represent an exciting frontier for NFT creators, collectors, and investors. As we navigate the future of NFTs, the journey promises to be as thrilling as the destination.


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