Three minutes to understand the difference between ERC-20 and ERC-721

Cats and cats are not the same, without looking at the table like a protocol.

Three minutes to understand the difference between ERC-20 and ERC-721

We often see the term “ERC-20” in industry media reports, and it is a standard protocol on Ether. In addition to ERC-20, another protocol on Ether that most people have heard of is ERC-721.

Although they have heard of it, many people still do not understand what exactly these two protocols are and how they should be differentiated. Today, Vernacular Blockchain will sort it out for you.

What are ERC-20 and ERC-721?

First of all, let’s briefly introduce what ERC-20 and ERC-721 are.


ERC-20 is the most widely known standard. There is no difference in value in the ERC-20 standard, and Tokens are interchangeable with each other. This is equivalent to saying that under the ERC-20 standard, your 100 “dollars” and my 100 “dollars” are the same.

The ERC-20 standard requires a Token to have a name, a symbol, a total supply, and other functions such as transferring money and sending money. The benefit of this standard is that as long as the Token is ERC-20 compliant, it will be compatible with Ether wallets. That is, you can add this Token to your Ether wallet and also send it to others through the wallet.

Because of the ERC-20 standard, it makes issuing Tokens easy. At present, the number of ERC-20 Token on Ether is more than 180,000.


Since ERC-20 is so powerful, why do we need an additional ERC-721 standard? As mentioned earlier, there is no difference in value of Token in ERC-20 standard, so it is no longer applicable to some assets that need to have unique properties (such as crypto collectibles and game props).

The ERC-721 standard specifies that each Token that meets this standard has a unique Token ID, and in the ERC-721 standard, each Token is unique. In other words, under the ERC-721 standard, your $100 “money” is not the same as my $100 “money” because the numbers of the two $100 bills are not the same.

How do I distinguish between ER-20 and ERC-721?

Let’s use a straightforward example to illustrate. Suppose there is a virtual pet application on the blockchain with 100 cats and kittens. If the Token of this application is developed based on the ERC-20 standard, and we happen to have one cat each at the same time, then your cat is the same as this cat of mine, and the Token of cat is divisible, for example, if it is divided into 10 copies, then each copy is 0.1 Token.

If the Token of this application is developed based on the ERC-721 standard, then your cat and my cat are not the same anyway, because our cat IDs are different and the cat as a whole is not divisible and unique.

From this example, we can see two differences between ERC-20 Token and ERC-721 Token.

  1. ERC-20 standard Token has no value distinction and is interchangeable; ERC-721 standard Token is not interchangeable and each Token has a unique ID.
  2. The ERC-20 standard Token is divisible, while the ERC-721 standard Token is not divisible.

It is because of the difference between these two standards that they can be applied in different scenarios.


ERC-20 and ERC-721 are both a standard protocol for issuing Ether Tokens. Tokens issued based on the ERC-20 standard have no value difference, are interchangeable and can be split; Tokens issued based on the ERC-721 standard are not interchangeable, each Token is unique, one-of-a-kind, and is not split.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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