EIP Idea: Multi-edition NFT Distribution

This is the discussion thread for the EIP Pull Request PULL-7853. It proposes a specification for distributing multiple editions of child NFTs with different rules and privileges.


This standard is an extension of ERC-721 which enables any ERC-721 compliant tokens, to conditionally permit the minting of various editions of child tokens with specific privileges attached.

Edition is defined as a version of child tokens that encapsulates a descriptor to the parent, the address to a validator that validates rules before minting the child token, and a set of actions that can be invoked upon obtaining the child token.

Each parent token can create multiple editions, each with a different set of rules to obtain the child tokens, and with different levels of privileges attached in the form of permitted actions.

Upon fulfilling the corresponding rules from a specific edition, one can obtain the child token and will be able to use the token within the boundaries set by the parent token holder.



Most community-based relationships can be regarded as a social structure with a community owner, and multiple tiers of community members. Each tier has its own cost and benefit of joining. This can apply to the Profile-Follower relationship, Creation-Collection relationship, Producer-Subscriber relationship, Dao-Member relationship, etc.

This standard gives the interfaces for implementing such a tiered system. It empowers any ERC721 tokens with the ability to create editions of child tokens that give privileges at a cost.


The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

This standard consists of a Distributor Interface and a Validator Interface. The Distributor interface MUST be implemented by an ERC-721-compliant contract that enables the minting of child tokens. This contract SHOULD enable any ERC-721 compliant parent token to create editions. The editions SHOULD consist of an address to a contract that implements the Validator Interface, which helps to validate the rules to mint the child token. It SHOULD also record the contract address and the tokenId of the parent token, and a set of permitted actions in the form of uint96 flags. An EIP-721-compliant contract MAY implement both the Distributor Interface and the Validator Interface, or implement only the Distributor Interface and use external contracts that implement the Validator Interface.

The Distributor Interface

pragma solidity >=0.8.0 <0.9.0;

 * @notice The Distributor interface dictates how the holder of any ERC721 compliant tokens (parent token) 
 * can create editions that collectors can conditionally mint child tokens from. Parent token holder can 
 * use the setEdition to specify the condition for minting an edition of the parent token. An edition is 
 * defined by the contractAddress and tokenId to the parent token, the address of the validator contract that specifies
 *  the rules to obtain the child token, the actions that is allowed after obtaining the token.
 * A Collector can mint a child token of an Edition given that the rules specified by the Validator are 
 * fulfilled.
 * Parent tokens holder can set multiple different editions, each with different set of rules, and a 
 * different set of actions that the token holder will be empowered with after the minting of the token.
interface IDistributor {

     * @dev Emitted when a nedition is created
     * @param editionHash The hash of the edition configuration
     * @param tokenContract The token contract of the NFT descriptor
     * @param tokenId The token id of the NFT descriptor
     * @param validator The address of the validator contract
     * @param actions The functions in the descriptor contract that will be permitted.
    event SetEdition(bytes32 editionHash, address tokenContract, uint256 tokenId, address validator, uint96 actions);
     * @dev Emitted when an edition is paused
     * @param editionHash The hash of the edition configuration
     * @param isPaused The state of the edition
    event PauseEdition(bytes32 editionHash, bool isPaused);

     * @dev The parent token holder can set an edition that enables others
     * to mint child tokens given that they fulfil the given rules
     * @param tokenContract the token contract of the Parent token
     * @param tokenId the token id of the Parent token
     * @param validator the address of the validator contract
     * @param actions the functions in the descriptor contract that will be permitted.
     * @param initData the data to be input into the validator contract for seting up the rules
     * it can also be used to encode more parameters for the edition
     * @return editionHash Returns the hash of the edition conifiguration 
    function setEdition(
        address tokenContract,
        uint256 tokenId,
        address validator,
        uint96  actions,
        bytes calldata initData
    ) external returns (bytes32 editionHash);
     * @dev The parent token holder can pause the edition
     * @param editionHash the hash of the edition
     * @param isPaused the state of the edition
    function pauseEdition(
        bytes32 editionHash,
        bool isPaused
    ) external;


The Validator Interface

pragma solidity >=0.8.0 <0.9.0;

 * @notice This is the validator interface. It specifies the rules that needs to be fulfilled, and enforce the
 * fulfillment of these rules. The parent token holder is required to first register these rules onto a particular
 * edition, identified by the hash of the edition configuration (editionHash). When a collector wants to mint from
 * the edition, the collector will need to pass the validation by successfully calling the validate function.  
 * In the validation process, the collector will need to supply the basic information including initiator
 * (the address of the collector), editionHash, and some optional fullfilmentData.
interface IValidator {

     * @dev Sets up the validator rules by the edition hash and the data for initialisation. This function will
     * decode the data back to the required parameters and sets up the rules that decides who can or cannot
     * mint a copy of the edition.
     * @param editionHash The hash of the edition configuration
     * @param initData The data bytes for initialising the validation rules. Parameters are encoded into bytes
    function setRules(
        bytes32 editionHash, 
        bytes calldata initData
    ) external;
     * @dev Supply the data that will be used to validate the fulfilment of the rules setup by the parent token holder.
     * @param initiator the party who initiate vadiation
     * @param editionHash the hash of the edition configuration
     * @param conditionType the type of condition to validation
     * @param fullfilmentData the addtion data that is required for passing the validator rules
    function validate(
        address initiator, 
        bytes32 editionHash,
        uint256 conditionType,
        bytes calldata fullfilmentData
    ) external payable;



Any ERC721 token can use the Distributor Interface to create multiple editions, each with a different set of rules to be validated by the Validator Interface before obtaining a child token, and the set of actions that can be invoked after obtaining the child token. This is very useful in community building, and has a diverse range of use cases, for instance:

  • Copy Issuance of Unique Artwork/Content: Artists create unique artworks. There could be multiple collectors who want to keep a copy of their artworks. This standard serves as a tool to issue multiple copies of the same kind. The copies can be created with different functions and under different rules. It gives sufficient flexibility to both the Creator and the Collector.

  • Partial Copyright Transfer: This standard enables Creators to conditionally delegate different levels of copyrights, i.e. the right to produce derivative work, to the Collectors. There is no need to sell the original copy, i.e. creator token, in the market. The Creator can instead keep the token as proof of authorship, and the key to managing copy issuance.

People with the following use cases can consider applying this standard:

  • Creators of any unique Art/Music NFTs can use this standard to sell copies to audiences. With this standard, they can retain some control over the copies.

  • Artists can use this standard to sell time-limited copies of their artwork to other artists with a copyright statement that enables the production of derivative work

  • Universities can create Graduation Certificates as NFTs and use this standard to mint a batch of non-transferable issues to their students. The Univerity retains the right to revoke any issued certificates, through action.


Community Management with a Single Parent Token or a Selected Edition of Child Tokens

The default setup enables a single parent token to set editions and the corresponding validation rules. A potentially advanced setup could delegate the management role to a particular edition of child tokens.

The Main Contract that Implements the Distributor Interface for Edition Creation

The main contract must implement both the ERC-721 and the Distributor Interface. The Distributor Interface provides functions to setup editions and the corresponding validation rules. Optionally, the main contract may implement additional functions that are guarded by the actions parameter, denoted as action bits (uint96) in the editions. Such a design removes the dependency of the edition-based permission control on the implementation of contract functions. However, the design only enables the invocation of functions using action parameters, but it does not specify the party. It is up to the developer to set up additional ownership checks, i.e. the action bits ensure the invocation of the “revoke token” function on the child token is permitted, but it requires additional ownership checks in the contract to make sure this is a parent token-only function.

Flexible Implementation of Actions

The actions that can be performed are defined in the edition as a uint96 integer. Each bit in the integer determines whether a particular function can be invoked in the contract, with a maximum of 96 functions. The actions can be implemented flexibly depending on the specific use cases. For instance, if the parent token wants to have full control over the child token, the edition, together with the function setup, can permit the parent token holder to invocate a function that transfers the child token to the parent token holder.

Actions may give the child tokens the following characteristics:

  • non-transferable: An SBT that is bound to a user’s wallet address

  • revokable: The creator has control over the minted copies. This is suitable for NFTs that encapsulate follower relationships, or functions as some kind of revokable permits

  • extendable: NFT is valid over a duration and requires an extension. This is suitable for recurring memberships.

  • updateable: Allows the child token holder to update the tokenUri when the parent token is updated

  • vote: Child token holder can vote if the vote action bit is set

External or Internal Implementation of the Validator Interface

The Validator Interface can be implemented externally as an independent contract, or internally as part of the contract that issues the child token. The former approach is more upgrade-friendly, i.e., validation contracts can be easily swapped to a higher version, while still maintaining compatibility with past versions. More it permits multiple different validators to coexist at the same time. The latter one is less composable, but more secure, as it does not depend on third-party code. This is preferred if the validated rules are unlikely to change in the future.

Flexible Implementation of Validation Rules

The Validator Contract can be customized to enforce rules, including:

  • Fee: Requires payment to mint

  • Free: No Condition to mint

  • NFT Holder: Process a particular NFT to mint

  • ERC20 Holder: Process a certain amount of ERC20 tokens to mint

  • Whitelist: In the whitelist to mint.

  • Limited Issuance: Fixed Maximum number of issued copies.

  • Limited Time: Enables minting within a particular time frame.

Please let us know your thoughts on this.

Contact Authors: Henry Yeung @henrywfyeung, Xiaoba xiaoba@didhub.com
Type: Standards Track
Category: ERC

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