What is ERC-6551?
















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What is ERC-655...


What is ERC-6551?

9 mins read / updated on Mon Nov 20 2023


Unveiling ERC-6551: Ethereum's innovative step towards token-bound accounts. This novel approach introduces each ERC-721 NFT to its dedicated smart contract wallet. This groundbreaking advancement traces its origin back to Ethereum Improvement Proposal 6551 (EIP-6551), the brainchild of Future Primitive, a forward-thinking on-chain venture steered by Benny Giang and Steve Jang.

Diving deeper, a token-bound account acts as both an interface and a registry. Essentially, it marries smart contract accounts to their respective ERC-721 tokens. By leveraging the capabilities of ERC-4337, these smart accounts are molded with flexibility, allowing them to not only store assets but also execute transactions seamlessly. Further enhancing the utility, every transaction and activity performed by these accounts is meticulously recorded, resulting in a permissionless ledger that cannot be tampered with. This transformative approach essentially morphs each NFT into a dynamic wallet, bearing a complete history of ownership, transactional activities, and utilization. The icing on the cake? The compatibility of token-bound accounts with the foundational ERC-721 standard ensures that existing NFTs can seamlessly adapt to ERC-6551. This ensures that there's no need for overhauls or launching fresh contracts, thus eliminating any undue complexities.

However, an intriguing question remains: With the existing prowess of ERC-721 NFTs, is there a genuine need for token-bound accounts? Let's navigate through this query.  

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Why was ERC-6551 created?

While ERC-721 has been instrumental in propelling NFTs into mainstream acceptance, revealing diverse avenues for digital assets on the blockchain, it hasn’t been devoid of certain constraints:

1. Composability Constraints: Predominantly, NFTs have been perceived as immutable entities. This rigidity inhibits users from overlaying any supplementary features, signaling a wide scope for reinvention.

2. Restrictions in On-chain Interactions: Pigeonholed primarily to serve as identifiers, ERC-721 tokens find themselves restricted, unable to autonomously engage with alternate on-chain entities or contracts.  

3. Static Metadata Hurdles: A major limitation surfaces in the form of their static JSON metadata. This rigidity not only limits their capacity to integrate additional Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) codes but also poses challenges in terms of fortification and efficiency.  

Enter ERC-6551 and its introduction of TBAs. It envisages NFTs that transcend the boundaries of being mere static assets. All of this, while staying rooted in the strengths and functionalities inherent to ERC-721.

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How does ERC-6551 operate?

  • Token bound accounts (TBAs) represent a revolutionary step in the realm of smart contract wallets. At their core, they are controlled by an ERC-721 NFT. However, the actual command over these TBAs rests with the NFT's owner. Essentially, the individual in possession of the NFT can initiate blockchain-related actions via this token bound account.
  • The initiation of TBAs takes place at the Registry, which primarily focuses on:
  • 1. createAccount: This sets a TBA into motion for an ERC-721 token, provided there's an implementation address.
  • 2. account: This calculates the address of a TBA specifically for the ERC-721 token.
  • Additionally, each TBA takes shape as an ERC-1167 minimal proxy, equipped with immutable fixed data, which gets added to the bytecode.
  • The inclusion of the ERC-1167 minimal proxy contract is strategic. This strategy:
  • - Offers a cost-effective method for deploying replica contracts, sidestepping the need to repeatedly deploy NFT contracts – a process that consumes extra gas.
  • - Streamlines operations by only requiring a one-off deployment of a proxy contract. This proxy subsequently directs to the identical logic, but with a fresh set of data for every new deployment.
  • The TBA account interface precisely outlines the possible functionalities:
  • - Accepting Ether (ETH) via the 'receive()' method,
  • - Commencing calls through 'executeCall',
  • - Restricting the NFT's owner from initiating calls, and
  • - Providing grant execution rights to accounts other than the owner.
  • Furthermore, TBAs lean on Ethereum standards such as ERC-165 and ERC-1271. The former aids in uniformity of the TBA interface, whereas the latter ensures users can authenticate messages representing a smart contract.
  • Interestingly, an individual ERC-721 token can be in possession of numerous TBAs. Each of these TBAs serves a distinct function.

Key Features of ERC-6551 Token Standard

Delving deeper into the ERC-6551 standard reveals several noteworthy aspects:

1. Token Bound Accounts (TBAs):

  • The crux of the ERC-6551 NFT token standard lies in the TBAs. They manifest as smart contracts intrinsically linked to a particular NFT. Through TBAs, NFTs gain the capability to possess other assets, connect with decentralized applications (dApps), and undergo transformations. Visualize an NFT symbolizing a residence. Its corresponding TBA can secure details like the property title, mortgage specifics, etc. This TBA can also liaise with dApps offering property upkeep or facilitate the property's sale.

2. Synchronization with Pre-existing NFTs:

  • The beauty of the ERC-6551 NFT standard is its seamless compatibility with existing NFTs. Thus, there's no need for modifications when transitioning current NFTs to this new standard. For such a transition, the NFT holder simply crafts a new TBA. This TBA can encapsulate all pertinent NFT details, such as imagery, designation, and more.

3. Advancements on the Horizon:

  • The minds behind ERC-6551 are actively plotting its future trajectory. They envision augmenting support for diverse asset categories, bolstering security measures, and enhancing the system's scalability. By diversifying asset support, TBAs could accommodate various assets, from ERC-20 tokens, ERC-721 tokens to tangible assets. By fortifying security, TBAs would become impervious to malicious attacks. Scalability enhancements would propel TBAs to process a higher volume of transactions.

  • To encapsulate, the ERC-6551 standard heralds a transformative phase in the NFT arena. It encapsulates a myriad of features that not only elevate its inherent value but also reshape the dynamics of NFT token development, setting new industry benchmarks.

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Potential Applications of ERC-6551:

In the World of Video Games

Engaging gaming environments can harness ERC-6551 tokens, allowing players to engage in trading or upgrading activities using these tokens, which can be related to in-game items or character advancements.

Artistic Endeavors

Artists can utilize ERC-6551 tokens to generate unique and sought-after pieces. Think of an artist using an NFT to signify a rare artwork edition or offering unique content for the token holder.

The Financial Arena

By incorporating ERC-6551 tokens, financial platforms can heighten their security and efficiency. Consider a scenario where a financial institution employs these tokens for asset management or loan issuance.

Property Market

Within the property realm, ERC-6551 tokens can symbolize assets like residential properties or plots. This approach could simplify property transactions and decrease associated malpractices.

Digital Identity Creation

One can envision a world where ERC-6551 tokens serve as digital identity markers, streamlining processes like contract signing, service access, or even voting.

Managing the Supply Chain

By integrating ERC-6551 tokens into the supply chain, stakeholders can monitor product and service flows, bolstering efficiency, countering counterfeit products, and assuring product genuineness.

Casting Votes

A transparent and foolproof voting mechanism can be achieved through ERC-6551 tokens, ensuring heightened participation and minimized discrepancies.

Reward Schemes

Companies can set up reward structures using ERC-6551 tokens, leading to better customer engagement and fostering brand loyalty.

Fund Collection Ventures

Envision a setup where ERC-6551 tokens act as funding tools for diverse ventures, be it startups, film production, or philanthropic initiatives. This allows supporters to contribute more seamlessly to initiatives they resonate with.

The above elaboration showcases a mere glimpse into the possibilities with ERC-6551 tokens. As advancements unfold, anticipate an array of revolutionary uses for these tokens.

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Journey from EIP to ERC:

Deeply embedded in the ethos of ERC-6551 is the aspiration to enhance the web3 digital ownership landscape. Benny Giang and Jayden Windle, the visionary developers behind Future Primitive, took the initiative of drafting EIP-6551, aiming to elevate their endeavors and guide the broader community.

In a conversation with CoinDesk, Windle shared the team's eureka moment. It occurred when they were brainstorming on building a tech foundation for digital avatars equipped with their personalized digital attire. Their innovation allowed NFTs to possess wallets. Windle elaborated, “This allowed our avatars to genuinely own their attire, facilitating trading or purchasing using their wallets. This offered a holistic solution, addressing challenges from both indexing and smart contract perspectives.”

Upon successfully crafting this infrastructure tailored for their venture, Windle and Giang recognized its potential. Windle expressed, “Beyond Future Primitive, every NFT can possess assets and conduct on-chain activities.” He further highlighted the aptness of converting their idea into an EIP due to its foundational nature, promoting consensus over a shared pattern and vision.

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Showcasing ERC-6551:

Taking the lead, Stapleverse ventured to initiate a comprehensive project using ERC-6551, paving the way for the next phase of digital urban culture with the inception of Sapienz — an avant-garde initiative focusing on token-anchored accounts.

Within Sapienz, participants get a digital avatar, customizable with various accessories. These accessories become available based on the user's NFT collection. Intriguingly, these accessories are intertwined with the Sapienz, characterized by token-anchored accounts functioning as their “storage closets.”

How to initiate your journey with ERC-6551?

Just as one would do with other NFT standards and Ethereum's smart wallets, starting with token-bound accounts involves leveraging an ERC-6551 smart contract. This contract can subsequently be incorporated into your desired application or initiative.

The process of building token-bound accounts typically encompasses drafting, examining, and rolling out a smart contract in compliance with the ERC-6551 protocol, and this usually comes hand in hand with a factory contract.

Future prospects of ERC-6551:

Token-bound accounts are rapidly advancing NFT innovations. They're paving the way for previously unthought-of applications, morphing them into genuinely modular, dynamic, and interactive valuables. The recent unveiling of account abstraction in Ethereum, under the ERC-4337 umbrella, escalates the web3 user interaction to unprecedented heights. This paves the path for wallet services and decentralized apps to produce NFTs for their clientele, as well as to establish a TBA for these NFTs subliminally, simplifying the blockchain entry process without the hurdles of initiating wallets or overseeing seed phrases.

Overcoming hurdles and boundaries of ERC-6551:

A dominant impediment of ERC-6551 is the quest for endorsement from pre-existing NFT projects and platforms. Not every NFT initiative is in sync with the ERC-6551 protocol, especially those diverging from the owner of approach, such as CryptoPunks. Consequently, certain renowned and prized NFTs are bereft of the token-bound account's advantage.

Furthermore, a few NFT platforms might be reluctant or incapable of amalgamating with the ERC-6551 protocol, possibly due to technical hindrances or strategic reasons. As a result, it's plausible that not all enthusiasts and creators will have immediate access to ERC-6551 NFTs.

Another concern is that ERC-6551 has to maintain its security robustness. Given its increasing visibility, it could inadvertently become a fertile ground for cyberattacks. Considering that ERC-6551 NFTs have the capability to possess assets and engage with software, they might be seen as lucrative prey for cybercriminals attempting to identify and capitalize on weak spots or regulatory gaps.

Lastly, the ERC-6551 protocol should prioritize being user-centric and straightforward. This introduces an advanced spectrum of intricacies and possibilities for NFTs. Moreover, this calls for enhanced cognizance and comprehension from users aiming to harness its full potential. For instance, individuals may need to familiarize themselves with the nuances of fabricating, retrieving, administrating, and transmitting token-bound accounts and their respective assets.


The ever-evolving world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies constantly witnesses innovations that aim to redefine user experience and utility. The introduction of the ERC-6551 standard marks a significant leap in this direction. By enabling NFTs to function more dynamically and interactively, it addresses the demands of a growing decentralized economy. While its potential is vast, the success of ERC-6551 hinges on its adoption and seamless integration within the broader NFT ecosystem. Challenges like winning over popular NFT platforms, ensuring robust security, and simplifying its intricate user interface must be met head-on. Nonetheless, as the decentralized space matures and demands more sophisticated solutions, standards like ERC-6551 exemplify the future of digital assets and decentralized applications.

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1. What is an example of ERC-6551?

- An example of ERC-6551 is a token-bound account in the Ethereum ecosystem, allowing for enhanced interactivity and composability of NFTs.

2. What is the ERC-6551 protocol?

- ERC-6551 is a standard for creating token-bound accounts on the Ethereum platform, promoting more dynamic and interactive NFTs.

3. How to use ERC-6551?

- To utilize ERC-6551, one would typically draft, test, and deploy a smart contract aligned with the ERC-6551 standard, often alongside a factory contract, and then integrate this into the desired application.

4. Is ERC-6551 live?

- Yes, the ERC-6551 token standard, which enhances the functionalities of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) by enabling their smart contract accounts, was introduced based on the Ethereum Improvement Proposal 6551 (EIP-6551). It went live on May 7, 2023, on the Ethereum Mainnet.

5. What role does ERC-721 play in relation to ERC-6551?

- The architectural foundation of ERC-6551 relies on token-bound accounts. This design permits ERC-721 tokens to own an array of NFT-driven digital assets through distinct wallets. Furthermore, these tokens can engage with diverse decentralized applications without necessitating alterations to the smart contract frameworks or the token infrastructure.

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Zainab Saberi

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