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Why do we have to use these standards? Is complying with these standards a necessity if we want our token to be listed anywhere? If our token doesn't fit within the listed standard, can we still have our token be "valid"?

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First of all you need to undestand what is a token. A token is a representation of an asset in a certain blockchain. As far as I know there are no requirements for a token - in theory an empty contract could be called a token although it wouldn't make much sense.

So any contract is a "valid" token. But as there can be an (almost) infinite amount of different contracts, it would be difficult to know how each token works. One contract might have functions a and b while another contract has no functions but only public getters. That's why we have standards such as ERC20 which create a unified playing field.

With standards everyone knows how to use tokens. If a token conforms to a certain standard we know the token follows certain rules and it can be interacted with in a certain way.

So, in practise you have to conform to certain standards to be able to be listed somewhere. Otherwise people would need to write customized handling code for your specific token. As your token conforms to certain standards the handling code (for example an exchange's code handling your tokens) can be the same for all tokens.

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  • So, if I understand you correctly, whereas the standards are important in that they make your token easier to use and understand, it is not imperative that you use them. My use case doesn't fit very well within the established standards and I've been trying to force it into one of these boxes, but it seems I don't necessarily have to. Jul 19, 2018 at 9:03
  • No, you don't have to. But if you want someone else to start using your tokens in their environment for whatever then in practice the tokens have to follow standards. Jul 19, 2018 at 9:06
  • Can I make my own standard, since none of the existing ones fit? or is there some sort of regulatory body that defines standards Jul 19, 2018 at 9:11
  • You can of course write your own 'standard' but it isn't really a standard if nobody else knows about it and nobody else uses it. To make something constructive for the community to use, you can write an EIP: github.com/ethereum/EIPs Jul 19, 2018 at 9:16
  • Actually, you should write an ERC, not an EIP I think. Jul 19, 2018 at 9:22

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