ERC-20 vs. TRC-20 vs. BEP-20 Tokens: What’s the Difference?

The cryptocurrency industry consists of various types of coins and tokens. In fact, there are currently over 20,000 cryptocurrencies, which can be quite difficult to master.

But crypto tokens can be divided into smaller groups such as ERC-20, BEP-20, and TRC-20. But what are the differences between these token types and in what ways are they similar?

What Is an ERC-20 Token?


ERC-20 (short for Ethereum Requests for Comment) is a standard used to create tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. If you’re a little familiar with encryption, you’ve probably heard of Ethereum or Ether. This is one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies on the market, second only to Bitcoin in popularity.

But Ethereum is more than just a cryptocurrency. It is the native asset of the eponymous blockchain. The Ethereum blockchain is currently the most popular blockchain in the world, with over 500,000 active addresses and nearly 40,000 daily users.

People use the Ethereum blockchain to build and use decentralized applications (DApps), create and trade NFTs, and create cryptocurrency tokens. Because Ethereum uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, users can also become validators or put their funds into pools for rewards.

Most fungible crypto tokens created on the Ethereum blockchain are ERC-20 tokens. For example, if a group of developers creates a decentralized platform for cryptocurrency lending, they can develop an ERC-20 token for the governance mechanism. This will allow the holder of that token to participate in the platform’s decision-making process.

All tokens created on top of the Ethereum blockchain are referred to as tokens. However, Ether itself is called a coin because it is the native asset of the entire blockchain.

Popular examples of ERC-20 tokens include Tether (USDT), Shiba Inu (SHIB), Dai (DAI), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Chainlink (LINK), and UniSwap (UNI).

You should also note that some other types of token standards exist on the Ethereum blockchain, including ERC-721, ERC-1155, ERC-777, and ERC-4626. These are not as widely known as ERC-20 tokens, but they still have some important uses on the blockchain, listed below:

ERC-721: a standard used for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

ERC-1155: a standard used to transfer NFTs efficiently in one transfer.

ERC-777: a standard for fungible tokens that provides extra functionality, such as emergency recovery.

ERC-4626: a standard for yield-bearing vaults that represents ERC-20 token shares and allows for easier unification of technical parameters.

What Is a BEP-20 Token?


BEP-20 (short for Binance Smart Chain Evolution Proposal) is a standard for developing tokens on the BNB Smart Chain. The BNB Smart Chain used to be known as the Binance Smart Chain. The name sounds familiar, as Binance is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

However, Binance rebranded the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem to BNB Chain to distance itself from the network and remind users that it is decentralized and run by the community.

The BNB Chain ecosystem consists of two main chains: BNB Beacon Chain and BNB Smart Chain. The BNB beacon chain is used for staking and governance, while the BNB smart chain can be used to develop DApps, create NFTs, and of course, develop native tokens for projects. BEP-20 tokens exist on the BNB smart chain.

As you might have guessed, BNB Smart Chain is very similar to Ethereum approvingly, although the latter is currently more popular than the former. However, BNB Smart Chain remains a significant player in the cryptocurrency and DeFi game, processing more than 2.6 million transactions per day.

While BEP-20 is the most common token standard on the BNB smart chain, you should also be aware of BEP-721, which is the standard used for NFTs within the ecosystem. Popular examples of BEP-20 tokens include Binance Coin (BNB), PancakeSwap (CAKE), Binance US Dollar (BUSD), and THORChain (RUNE).

What Is a TRC-20 Token?


TRC-20 (short for TRON Request for Comment) is a token standard on the TRON blockchain. The TRON blockchain is another example of a platform where people can create DeFi projects, DApps, NFTs, and tokens. Various services also exist on this blockchain, such as the JustSwap exchange, which you can use in your crypto exchanges.

The native cryptocurrency of the TRON blockchain is TRON (TRX), which is also a TRC-20 token. However, because this is a cryptocurrency with its own blockchain, it is often considered a coin. Examples of TRC-20 tokens include BitTorrent (BTTC), JUST (JustSwap’s native token), Klever (KLV), and Centric Cash (CNS).

Since the TRON blockchain is not as widely used as the BNB Smart Chain and Ethereum blockchain, you may not have heard of these assets before. But know that this is still a popular and promising blockchain that will likely catch on in the coming years.

Like the two blockchains discussed earlier, TRON has an NFT standard called TRC-721. However, the network also has another token standard called TRC-10, which plays a role in token production.

Unlike TRC-20, TRC-10 tokens do not rely on the Tron Virtual Machine (TVM). In fact, TRC-10 tokens are the most common tokens on the TRON blockchain because they are very easy to create. These tokens are often used as ICO tokens for TRON-based projects.

Tokens that exist on multiple chains

There are many crypto tokens that exist in various standard forms. Take Tether (USDT), a popular stablecoin. Tether exists on the Ethereum, TRON and BNB smart chains. This means that Tether comes in the form of all three token standards and is compatible with all three chains.

The same goes for the US dollar coin (USDC), a stablecoin that shares many similarities with Tether. USDC comes in the form of ERC-20, BEP-20, and TRC-20.

But it’s not just stablecoins that can exist on multiple blockchains. Shiba Inu, a token originally developed on the Ethereum blockchain, is also backed by the BNB Smart Chain. Other examples of assets backed by Ethereum and BNB smart chains are Uniswap (UNI) and Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Token standards play an integral role in the cryptocurrency industry

While the different token standards may seem a bit confusing, keep in mind that each type plays an important role in its native ecosystem.

Whether it’s for fungible tokens, non-fungible tokens, or for functionality, it forms a critical cog in the complex machine of blockchain technology.