What Is ERC-404? Pandora’s New Hybrid Token

The Pandora project introduced a new Ethereum-based token, called an ERC-404 token, that fuses ERC-20 with NFT features. Here’s how it works.

Apr 19, 2024
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What Is Erc 404 F

Key Takeaways:

  • ERC-404 tokens merge the fungibility of ERC-20 tokens with the uniqueness of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), enabling for divisible NFTs and fractional ownership.
  • Pandora, launched in February 2024, is the pioneering project in this domain.
  • Pandora’s ERC-404 tokens allow for the creation of ‘Replicants’, which link fungible tokens with one-of-a-kind digital assets, allowing for fractional buying and selling, thus unlocking new possibilities in digital ownership and trading.
  • The versatility of ERC-404 tokens extends beyond digital art and collectibles to potential applications in gaming, DeFi, and tokenising real-world assets like real estate or commodities. However, these opportunities are yet to be explored.
  • While ERC-404 holds promise for innovation, it is not recognised as an Ethereum token standard. 

‍Introduction to ERC-404 Tokens

ERC-404 tokens are a new Ethereum-based hybrid token standard that combines features of ERC-20 tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Unlike traditional ERC-20 tokens, which are fungible and interchangeable, ERC-404 tokens have both fungible and non-fungible properties. 

This hybrid nature allows ERC-404 tokens to be used in a wide range of applications, from digital art and collectibles in the current realm to potentially decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms and gaming in the future.

Pandora (PANDORA) is the first project to issue ERC-404 tokens, trading as high as $32,000 soon after its launch. It has a max supply of only 10,000 tokens, and several other projects have latched on to the ERC-404 hype and issued their own versions of the tokens.

ERC-404: A Hybrid of ERC-20 Tokens and NFTs

To better understand ERC-404 tokens, let’s take a closer look at how they combine the features of ERC-20 tokens and NFTs. Like ERC-20 tokens, ERC-404 tokens can be divided into smaller units, making them fungible and interchangeable. However, unlike ERC-20 tokens, each unit of an ERC-404 token can also possess unique properties, similar to NFTs. This means that, while ERC-404 tokens are tradeable on exchanges, each token can have its own distinct value and characteristics.

In other words, ERC-404 tokens combine the fungibility and interchangeability of ERC-20 tokens, making them easy to trade on exchanges and integrate into existing DeFi platforms. At the same time, they also offer the unique properties and provable ownership of ERC-721 (NFT) tokens, allowing for the creation of tokenised assets with individual characteristics.

The hybrid nature of ERC-404 tokens opens up exciting possibilities for developers and users alike, allowing for the creation of tokenised assets that have both a common value and unique attributes.

How ERC-404 Tokens Are Used

Art and Collectibles

The versatility of ERC-404 tokens makes them suitable for a wide range of use cases. One of the primary applications of ERC-404 tokens is in the field of digital art and collectibles like Pandora. Artists can tokenise their artwork as ERC-404 tokens, providing buyers with the opportunity to own a unique piece of art while still being able to trade it on secondary markets. 

Gaming and Real-World Assets

While still in exploration, ERC-404 has potential use cases in gaming and DeFi. Game developers can create in-game assets as ERC-404 tokens, giving players the ability to own and trade virtual items with unique attributes.  

Furthermore, ERC-404 tokens can be utilised to tokenise real-world assets (RWAs), such as real estate or commodities. As ERC-404 tokens, these assets can be easily traded in divisible units and accessed by a wider audience, potentially opening up new opportunities for liquidity provision and financial innovation.

The Pandora Project

After popularising the ERC-404 concept in February 2024 when it launched the new token standard, Pandora currently contains a collection of 10,000 NFTs linked to 10,000 PANDORA tokens created on Ethereum’s ERC-20 standard.

PANDORA tokens can be purchased from liquidity pools, and a unique NFT, known as a ‘Replicant’, is then created for the user. This process links the fungible token with a one-of-a-kind digital asset. If the owner decides to sell the PANDORA token, the associated NFT is burned and permanently removed from circulation.

In addition to burning, the ERC-404 framework also allows for minting of NFTs, enabling fractional buying and selling. In other words, users can engage in transactions involving fractions of a PANDORA token — and by extension, fractions of the underlying NFT.

Challenges and Limitations of ERC-404 Tokens

Currently, the biggest limitation for ERC-404 is that it’s not an officially recognised Ethereum token standard, which is a set of rules and protocols that define how digital tokens should behave and interact within a specific blockchain ecosystem.

The Pandora team behind ERC-404 tokens is working on an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) for the token standard. EIP is the process of introducing a new feature or functionality to Ethereum. However, the process can take a while.

Additionally, integrating ERC-404 tokens into existing platforms and infrastructure can be technically challenging. Furthermore, the hybrid nature of ERC-404 tokens can lead to potential interoperability issues since ERC-404 tokens have both fungible and non-fungible properties; their compatibility with other token standards and platforms may require additional development and standardisation efforts. This can slow down the adoption and widespread use of ERC-404 tokens.

The Future of ERC-404 Tokens

Despite the challenges, the future of ERC-404 tokens looks promising. The hybrid token standard has the potential for application in various industries, from art to gaming and beyond. As more developers and entrepreneurs explore the possibilities of ERC-404 tokens, we can expect to see innovative applications and use cases emerge soon enough.

Conclusion

ERC-404 tokens represent an exciting new hybrid token standard that combines the fungibility of ERC-20 tokens with the uniqueness of NFTs. These tokens offer a potentially wide range of use cases, from digital art and collectibles to gaming and DeFi, but are currently not an officially recognised Ethereum token standard yet. 

Currently, the biggest use case and driver behind the token standard is Pandora, while splinter projects have emulated Pandora’s approach of divisible NFTs, so far with less success. While ERC-404 tokens face challenges and limitations, their potential to transform industries and empower creators and users alike is undeniable. 

Due Diligence and Do Your Own Research

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