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Ask CryptoVantage: What Are ERC20, BEP20, FA1.2 Tokens?

The growth of the cryptocurrency sector has led to a variety of blockchain projects and networks, each of them with their own token standard and abbreviation.

But what network has what token standard and what does that standard mean in terms of utility and compatibility?

We will answer both of those questions in this edition of Ask CryptoVantage.

Ethereum's ERC20 is the most popular token format in the world.

Ethereum (ERC20)

The original token standard, ERC20 tokens are all compatible with any project that uses the Ethereum network and are compatible with any Ethereum-based wallet as well.

This means you can send any ERC20 token to an Ethereum wallet and it will not get lost, if you cannot see it in there you likely just have to add the token contract address to the wallet so it can recognize the asset. ERC20 rules include how the tokens can be transferred, how transactions are approved, how users can access data about a token, and the total supply of tokens.

All transactions of ERC20 tokens require a gas fee paid in Ethereum (ETH). ERC20 is the most popular token format in crypto and some examples of ERC20 assets are Uniswap (UNI), Chainlink (LINK), and Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Binance Smart Chain (BEP20)

Binance Smart Chain has a BEP20 token standard that works similarly to Ethereum’s ERC20 standard.

BEP20 is a developer-friendly token standard that allows anyone to deploy fungible digital currencies or tokens on Binance Smart Chain in the same way you can on Ethereum. In addition, digital assets on other chains can be ported onto Binance Smart Chain in the form of pegged BEP20 tokens. For example, you could use Binance Bridge to swap Bitcoin (BTC) for BTCB (BEP20) tokens backed by BTC. BTCB (BEP20) tokens can then be used on decentralized finance products in order to earn a return. The same goes for ETH, ADA, USDT, and many more.

All transactions of BEP20 tokens require a gas fee paid in Binance Coin (BNB). Some examples of BEP20 assets are PancakeSwap, BakerySwap, and Venus. ERC20 tokens are easily transferred to Binance Smart Chain as well.

Tezos (FA1.2 and FA2)

Tezos blockchain uses a FA1.2 token standard that again operates like ERC20 tokens on Ethereum, but then furthered the standard with the release of FA2.

FA1.2 provides the same operability for Tezos tokens on their network as ERC20s do on Ethereum, but FA2 is independent of the token type and supports both single- and multi-token contracts via a single standard. All entry points work with batch operations, allowing multiple transfers of different tokens and/or token types to be executed in a single atomic transaction. This standard requires developers to handle common considerations, such as defining the contract’s token type (e.g., non-fungible vs. fungible vs. semi-fungible), administration and whitelisting, contract upgradability, and supply operations (e.g., mint/burn). FA2 supports multiple standards, such as ERC-20, ERC-721, ERC-1155, meaning you can bring Ethereum based assets onto Tezos much like with Binance Smart Chain.

All transactions of either FA1.2 or FA2 tokens require Tezos (XTZ) for gas fees. Projects are being built on Tezos but there are no top 100 assets as of yet, apart from Tezos itself.

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About the Author

Evan Jones

Evan Jones was introduced to cryptocurrency by fellow CryptoVantage contributor Keegan Francis in 2017 and was immediately intrigued by the use cases of many Ethereum-based cryptos. He bought his first hardware wallet shortly thereafter. He has a keen and vested interest in cryptos involving decentralized backend exchanges, payment processing, and power-sharing.

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