The ERC1155: The Multi-Token Standard

The standard that transformed Ethereum. Learn what you need to know about ERC1155, it’s use cases, methods, examples.
Written by
Shivam Srivastava
October 16, 2023
min. read

Ethereum has emerged as a robust platform for creating and managing digital assets through various token standards. Initially, ERC20 became the standard for creating fungible tokens, facilitating a wide range of decentralized applications (dApps). Subsequently, the advent of ERC721 enabled the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), each possessing unique attributes. These advancements paved the way for the inception of a more versatile standard.

Introduction to ERC1155

Aiming to encapsulate the best of both worlds, ERC1155 was introduced by Enjin, designed to be both fungibility-agnostic and gas-efficient. Unlike its predecessors, ERC1155 enables the management of both fungible and non-fungible tokens under a single smart contract. This not only economizes on-chain data but significantly reduces gas fees, a major “hoorah” for developers and users alike. 

ERC1155's unique architecture lends itself to a myriad of use cases, bringing a new era of digital asset management on the Ethereum blockchain.

The Technical Anatomy of ERC1155

Single Contract, Multiple Tokens

ERC1155 embodies a revolutionary approach by housing multiple tokens within a single contract. This is starkly different from previous standards like ERC20 and ERC721, which require separate contracts for each token type. For instance, in a gaming scenario, one could have different assets like gold, silver, and unique items like swords or shields all managed within a single ERC1155 contract. This significantly reduces the complexity and cost usually associated with deploying and managing multiple contracts.

Batch Operations

The ingenuity of ERC1155 is further showcased in its batch operations. Functions like balanceOfBatch and safeBatchTransferFrom enable querying and transferring multiple tokens in a single transaction, respectively. This is a significant upgrade in terms of efficiency and gas savings. Here are code snippets illustrating these functions:

Token Minting

Token minting in ERC1155 is facilitated through the mint and _mintBatch functions, allowing for the creation of new tokens either on-demand or in batches. This flexibility is crucial for various use cases, including gaming, where different types of assets need to be minted at different times or in different quantities. Below are examples of how these functions can be utilized:

List of ERC1155 functions

The ERC1155 token standard introduces several functions that enhance its usability and flexibility compared to earlier Ethereum token standards like ERC20 and ERC721. Here is a list of functions associated with ERC1155:

Basic Token Functions:

  1. balanceOf (account, id): Retrieves the balance of a specific token held by an account.
  2. balanceOfBatch(accounts, ids): Retrieves the balances of multiple tokens held by multiple accounts in a single call.
  3. setApprovalForAll(operator, approved): Approves or disapproves an operator to manage all of the caller's tokens.
  4. isApprovedForAll(account, operator): Checks if an operator is approved to manage all of an account's tokens​1​.

Batch Operations:

  1. balanceOfBatch(accounts, ids): This function allows querying the balance of multiple tokens for multiple accounts in a single call.
  2. safeBatchTransferFrom(sender, recipient, ids, values, data): Facilitates the transfer of multiple tokens in a single transaction​2​.

Transfer and Approval:

  1. ERC1155 Batch Transfer: This function allows the transfer of multiple assets in a single call.
  2. Batch Approval: Approves all tokens to a specified address.
  3. Safe Transfer Rules: Sets a group of rules for secure transfer​3​.

Metadata Management:

  1. uri(id): Retrieves the erc 1155 metadata URI of a specific token, which can be utilized to obtain additional information about the token, like its name, description, image, and other attributes​2​.

Minting Functions:

  1. _mint(account, id, amount, data): A function used to mint new tokens.
  2. _mintBatch(account, ids, amounts, data): A function used to mint multiple tokens in a single call​2​.


  1. Erc1155Balance: A function to get the balance of an ERC1155 token, requiring the contract address, account address, and token ID as inputs​4​.

These functions collectively contribute to the flexibility and efficiency of the ERC1155 token standard, enabling both fungible and non-fungible tokens to co-exist within a single contract, and facilitating batch operations for better gas efficiency.

Comparative Analysis: ERC1155 vs ERC721

Token Uniqueness

ERC721 exclusively handles non-fungible tokens (NFTs), ensuring each token's uniqueness. In contrast, ERC1155 can manage both fungible and non-fungible tokens within the same contract, providing a more flexible framework for token management.

Batch Operations via Multitokens

Batch operations are a hallmark of ERC1155, enabling efficient querying and transferring of multiple tokens in a single transaction. On the other hand, ERC721 lacks native batch operation capabilities, making ERC1155 a more gas-efficient choice especially when dealing with multiple tokens or assets. This contrast underscores the technical advancements embedded within ERC1155, making it a potent choice for a broader spectrum of decentralized applications and that ERC 721 vs ERC1155.

Harnessing OpenZeppelin for ERC1155 Deployment

OpenZeppelin's ERC1155 Implementation

OpenZeppelin facilitates the deployment of ERC1155 contracts through its well-structured libraries. It provides an implementation of ERC1155 which can be used as a solid foundation for your contract. For instance, the OpenZeppelin ERC1155 contract provides a detailed structure on how to deploy an ERC1155 contract.

Constructing an ERC1155 Token Contract

Using OpenZeppelin, the creation of an ERC1155 contract becomes a straightforward process:

  1. Importing the ERC1155 Library: Import the OpenZeppelin ERC1155 library into your contract.
  2. Defining Your Contract: Define your contract and inherit from the OpenZeppelin ERC1155 contract.
  3. Initializing Your Contract: Specify the metadata URI in the constructor.
  4. Minting Tokens: Use the _mint function to create new tokens.

ERC1155 in the NFT Marketplace Ecosystem

Integration with OpenSea

OpenSea, one of the prominent NFT marketplaces, supports ERC1155, allowing users to trade and manage their ERC1155 tokens seamlessly. This integration underscores the growing acceptance and utility of ERC1155 NFT in the NFT ecosystem.

Metadata Management

The metadata URI function in ERC1155 provides a standardized way to link tokens to metadata, enhancing the informational richness and uniqueness of each token on marketplaces like OpenSea.

FAQ : 

Where can I find some sample ERC!155 contracts?

ERC1155 example contracts on github.

Is there a total supply function in ERC1155 ?

The totalSupply(id) function isn't a standard function within the ERC-1155 token standard as per the standard's specification. However, it's possible to implement a totalSupply function in a custom ERC-1155 contract to keep track of the total supply of each token ID.

Do I need a specific ERC1155 wallet?

No, you don’t need any specific wallet for ERC1155 as most of the standard wallets support this standard.

Do I need ERC1155 json abi to build any web3 apps?

Yes and No, so if you are building a web3 app from scratch you may need the standard ERC1155 json abi to decode many application contracts to do custom operations for example finding all transactions etc,

But as discussed in our Blockchain Frameworks Article, a better way of building web3 apps is using smart frameworks like Tatum SDK.

Are there any good ERC1155 API or SDk to build on with?

Well yes, Tatum SDK supports Creating 1155 Collections, Fetching all data around it like ERC1155 Metadata and Notifications as well, which can help you get started building apps that use ERC1155 token standard.

Is there a specific ERC1155 Address?

No ERC1155 is a token standard that does not require you to have any new ERC1155 address to interact with ERC1155 standard tokens.

Concluding Insights: The Future Landscape of ERC1155

Potential Impact on Digital Asset Management

ERC1155’s hybrid nature and batch operation capabilities signify a substantial leap towards efficient digital asset management on the Ethereum blockchain, making it a promising standard for future blockchain projects.

Ongoing Adoption

The adoption of ERC1155 across various platforms and projects exemplifies its potential to become a cornerstone for digital asset management, heralding an exciting future for both developers and users in the blockchain space.