The Big Interview

Enjin CTO: ‘Very early on we decided we needed something extra’

Coin Rivet recently sat down with Enjin co-founder and CTO Witek Radomski to discuss the increasing popularity of the ERC-1155 standard, which Witek himself authored

Coin Rivet recently sat down with Enjin co-founder and CTO Witek Radomski to discuss the creation and increasing popularity of the ERC-1155 standard.

The creation of ERC-1155 

Speaking on the origin of ERC-1155, Witek – who is the author of the standard – noted: “We developed ERC-1155 because we saw a need in token standards and Ethereum – what exists is ERC-20 and ERC-721.”

ERC-20 and ERC-721 are limited because they can only issue single transfers in a smart contract. ERC-1155 meanwhile has the function to issue unlimited mixed fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Witek stated: “There is no clear, easy way to create multiple types and classes of tokens. So when you think of a game you can have things like currencies, maybe credits or gold, and those are fungible tokens. You might have non-fungible unique items or characters inside that game as well.

“We needed a way to create all types of tokens and then manage them in the same contract, because when you have ERC-20, for example, if you deploy multiple contracts of that onto the blockchain, each contract is its own little island, and it has its own approvals and permissions.

“They can’t easily interoperate – you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to do things on multiple tokens at once.”

Roughly a year ago, the standard was first created on the Ethereum GitHub page. Over the past year, the community has been commenting and leaving feedback, and from there the standard has been revised to make it more applicable to different use cases.

“Now we have something like 350 comments on the page – everyone offering their reviews, their fixes, their new ideas – and we revise the standard over and over and now its really well refined. We’re actually putting it into final state form soon,” revealed Witek.

‘It acts like a vending machine’ 

Speaking on how well the Ethereum community has received the standard, Witek noted that previously there were only really fungible and non-fungible standards.

“You really need the ability to do things like batch transfers of multiple token types at the same time, and just the very ability to mint and define new types of tokens in that single contract.

“It acts like a vending machine. So you have a vending machine with a whole bunch of options, and I would go ‘give me this type of token’, and the contract will spit that out and mint a new type of token for you.

“That functionality has been really needed in a standard.”

Initially there had been some resistance to the concept because the community had become so acquainted with the ERC-20 and ERC-721 standards.

“We first started with batch transfers as the default, and people suggested we add single transfers instead of everything being a batch transfer, because people in the community are more comfortable doing single token transfers,” Witek recalled.

“So we had to add that and sort of add some legacy-type thinking in there as well. But in general and overall everyone’s really happy with it.”

There are a lot of companies currently in talks with Enjin about implementing ERC-1155, because if a business wants to tokenise its product, ERC-1155 “really makes it easy” since there isn’t a need to deploy a new contract when creating a token.

“All you do is add a mint function or create function and define the rules in your smart contract and now you can create infinite types of tokens.”

‘Very early on we decided we needed something extra’

One incredibly unique and exciting aspect about the ERC-1155 standard relates to the Enjin blockchain gaming Multiverse and the function to ‘melt’ tokens.

Witek revealed: “From very early on we decided we needed something extra, some sort of special mechanic we needed in our tokens.

“The problem that gamers have is that if you own some tokens and the game goes offline or you get banned, you can still have those tokens, but now you can’t use them inside of that game.

“One thing you can do is trade them to somebody, but if the game itself crashes or goes offline or just goes out of business, you need some mechanism to still have value in those tokens.”

The solution to this issue is to infuse the game items with Enjin Coin. Witek stated: “If a developer forges a gun in a game, they can infuse that gun with some Enjin Coin value, which could be something like a few cents of value or it could be a few dollars worth of value.”

“Any time in the future you can always melt that gun, and melting it releases that Enjin Coin. So, it gives you this material to work with, just as if something in the real world was made out of gold, you could melt it down into gold.

“The actual item made of gold is worth a lot more because it has some utility, but if you really want to extract some of that base value you can melt it down, so you can do the same thing with tokens.”

For aspiring game developers, Witek has a good piece of advice: “If you’re developing a game, you should really think about the game itself.

“Think about the core gameplay – make it a good game, and then now you have this new tool, blockchain, where you can actually give people value and ownership over their items.

“Think about how you can interoperate with games. There’s a lot of advantages to start talking with other developers and do something like the Multiverse.”

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