What are ERC20 and ERC20 tokens?

Modified on Sat, 18 Feb 2023 at 08:29 PM

ERC20 tokens exist in the Ethereum network which consists of a blockchain, capable of storing transactions, and a virtual machine, capable of running smart contracts. The native currency of Ethereum is called “Ether”. Ethereum can support not only Ether but also other “tokens” that can represent a currency, shares, or anything of value. 

Origin of the tokens

Tokens came into existence through a smart contract. Smart contracts can not only create the tokens but also handles their transactions. To create each token, it needs to be completely unique or different from each other. As a result, developers need to invent a completely new code for each exchange or wallet to host a new token. Hosting a token pertains to the ability of tokens to be available in exchange for buying, selling, and transferring functions. An increasing list of tokens then became problematic because hosting or creating customized codes can be complex and time-consuming. Additionally, if a smart contract is employed and a developer made a mistake, modifying the mistake or “updating” the contract can take a lot of time.

Why was ERC20 created?
The ERC20 protocol has brought in the much-needed standardization of the creation of Ethereum tokens. The ‘ERC’ in ‘ERC20’ stands for "Ethereum Request for Comments” and the number ‘20’ signifies the unique proposal ID. It provides a guideline for the creation of tokens and defines 6 mandatory functions that a smart contract should implement and 3 optional ones. So instead of reinventing the whole code for the smart contract to be created, developers now just need to follow the 6 mandatory functions.


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