This is a quick and nontechnical look into the ERC721 and ERC1155 token standards. Both of these token standards are for creating Non-Fungible Tokens also known as NFTs.
What’s an NFT?
For those of you who don’t know, NFTs are simply a way in which we can show digital ownership of unique or rarer assets on a blockchain.
An ERC721 allows us to create assets that are totally unique and clearly show who has ownership of that asset. For example, If I was an artist I could turn one of my paintings into a digital asset and freely sell it on an open marketplace.
Then, thanks to the properties of the ERC721 and the ethereum blockchain we are able to clearly see when this asset was created, who created it, who owns it now and what price they paid for it.
This is a powerful standard because the information is immutable and can’t be tampered with which means that it is easy to verify who owns an asset and it is easy to determine if someone has made a fake copy of your asset.
An ERC1155 is similar to the ERC721 because they both have the ability to create digital assets that are totally unique. However, unlike the ER721 the ERC1155 also has the ability to create digital assets that are NOT unique as well.
For example, if we wanted to create a card trading game where we had 10 copies of a card and the goal was to collect all 10 copies, we can easily do this with an ERC1155. However, this is often the confusing part for a lot of people because now that we can have copies of an NFT it is technically no longer unique.
Non-unique assets are not actually a bad thing. ERC1155’s are gaining popularity when creating assets for virtual worlds or games because typically you might not want every sword in a game to be unique. You probably want 2 or 3 types of swords but then hundreds or even thousands of copies of those swords.
Although ERC721s are currently the more widely adopted standard I think that ERC1155s will eventually take over as gaming and virtual worlds grow in popularity.
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