TRON 101 | The relationship between ERC-721, TRC-721, and NFT
Users new to the NFT sphere and see ERC-721 and TRC-721 quite often may wonder, what are they? Are they the same as NFTs? This is what we are going to talk about today.
Let’s start with their acronyms first. ERC stands for Ethereum Request for Comment, while TRC stands for TRON Request for Comment. They are the protocol standards for tokens and smart contracts on the Ethereum and the TRON networks, respectively. Following these API standards, smart contracts can be developed on-chain.
The numbers represent different token standards. For example, there are multiple ERC standards such as ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155, among which the ERC-20 standard is most widely used in creating fungible tokens. Due to the ERC-20 incapability in creating non-fungible tokens (NFT), Dieter Shirley, a GitHub contributor, proposed the ERC-721 standard specifically for NFT in September 2017.
We may regard ERC-20 as the tokenization standard of currencies and ERC-721 as that of non-currency items. However, this does not mean that NFT can only be created with ERC-721: the famous NFT CryptoPunks was built with ERC-20, for example.
But undoubtedly, ERC-721 has ushered in a new era for blockchain gaming. CryptoKitties was the first game to adopt ERC-721 in late 2017. The game’s success caused an NFT frenzy, and many NFT projects followed suit to adopt ERC-721.
But it was not long before people realized the problems of ERC-721: with its high transaction fees and low transaction efficiency, it was not very user-friendly, especially for games with many different items. Let’s consider, for example, a blade engraved with gems. Both the blade and the gems are independent NFTs requiring individual, complete smart contracts. As the code of these contracts is virtually the same, such an arrangement simply increases the development costs and gas fees.
As a result, a new NFT standard emerged on Ethereum: ERC-1155. This new standard supports bulk transfers of NFTs, allowing users to transfer NFTs in a more efficient and affordable way. Moreover, its unique programming method makes it more difficult to trace the ownership of an NFT and thus protects the holder’s privacy.
It should be noted that token standards are not compulsory in the decentralized network. In fact, everyone can create a new standard based on their own needs. Apart from Ethereum, multiple NFT standards and thriving NFT ecosystems have also been a reality on mainstream blockchains such as TRON, BNBChain, and Solana.
In conclusion, neither ERC-721 nor TRC-721 is equivalent to the NFT per se: they are just the prevailing token standards for most NFT projects. With the development of the NFT industry, there will surely emerge more, better token standards providing even stronger technical support for NFTs.