I'm new to Ethereum and I'm not sure how tokens are meant to be used -- specifically, ECR 20 tokens.

I'm looking at an example here:

pragma solidity ^0.5.10;

contract Token {
    // An `address` is comparable to an email address - it's used to identify an account on Ethereum.
    // Addresses can represent a smart contract or an external (user) accounts.
    // Learn more: https://solidity.readthedocs.io/en/v0.5.10/types.html#address
    address public owner;

    // A `mapping` is essentially a hash table data structure.
    // This `mapping` assigns an unsigned integer (the token balance) to an address (the token holder).
    // Learn more: https://solidity.readthedocs.io/en/v0.5.10/types.html#mapping-types
    mapping (address => uint) public balances;

    // Events allow for logging of activity on the blockchain.
    // Ethereum clients can listen for events in order to react to contract state changes.
    // Learn more: https://solidity.readthedocs.io/en/v0.5.10/contracts.html#events
    event Transfer(address from, address to, uint amount);

    // Initializes the contract's data, setting the `owner`
    // to the address of the contract creator.
    constructor() public {
        // All smart contracts rely on external transactions to trigger its functions.
        // `msg` is a global variable that includes relevant data on the given transaction,
        // such as the address of the sender and the ETH value included in the transaction.
        // Learn more: https://solidity.readthedocs.io/en/v0.5.10/units-and-global-variables.html#block-and-transaction-properties
        owner = msg.sender;

    // Creates an amount of new tokens and sends them to an address.
    function mint(address receiver, uint amount) public {
        // `require` is a control structure used to enforce certain conditions.
        // If a `require` statement evaluates to `false`, an exception is triggered,
        // which reverts all changes made to the state during the current call.
        // Learn more: https://solidity.readthedocs.io/en/v0.5.10/control-structures.html#error-handling-assert-require-revert-and-exceptions

        // Only the contract owner can call this function
        require(msg.sender == owner, "You are not the owner.");

        // Ensures a maximum amount of tokens
        require(amount < 1e60, "Maximum issuance succeeded");

        // Increases the balance of `receiver` by `amount`
        balances[receiver] += amount;

    // Sends an amount of existing tokens from any caller to an address.
    function transfer(address receiver, uint amount) public {
        // The sender must have enough tokens to send
        require(amount <= balances[msg.sender], "Insufficient balance.");

        // Adjusts token balances of the two addresses
        balances[msg.sender] -= amount;
        balances[receiver] += amount;

        // Emits the event defined earlier
        emit Transfer(msg.sender, receiver, amount);

The way I see it, tokens are a fungible commodity -- i.e, an asset, like bitcoin, ether, or real money.

I can see a potential application of it in a gaming scenario: win more points, get some tokens.

So is it really this simple? Just a glorified contract with a mapping of address => uint and some related functions?

If so, what are some other domains where this can model can be readily applied?


Yes, tokens are simple ledgers with some transfer functionalities.

They are used to represent some things: typically something completely new (gaming tokens, voting tokens, utility tokens) or sometimes representing a real-world asset (a share of a house, a part of a painting).

It's basically an easy way to represent ownership of very various things - with the twist that this ownership can be easily traded and transferred.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.