Understanding Fungible Tokens (FT) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) on NEAR Protocol

Anton Ioffe - March 26th 2024 - 8 minutes read

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, the NEAR Protocol emerges as a beacon of innovation, redefining the essence and application of digital tokens through its unique support for both fungible tokens (FTs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As we delve into the intricacies of FTs and NFTs within this cutting-edge ecosystem, we'll uncover the pivotal roles these tokens play in reshaping industries from decentralized finance to digital art and entertainment. From the technical underpinnings of NEP-141 and NEP-171 standards to the wide array of use cases and future potential, this article offers an insightful journey into how the NEAR Protocol is not just facilitating but accelerating the transition towards a more decentralized, interoperable, and user-centric digital world. Get ready to explore the remarkable synergy between FTs, NFTs, and the NEAR ecosystem, unveiling the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Understanding Fungible Tokens (FT) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) on NEAR Protocol

In the realm of the NEAR Protocol, a layer-1 blockchain known for its scalability and transaction efficiency, two distinctive types of digital assets emerge: Fungible Tokens (FT) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT). FTs on NEAR, similar to other blockchain ecosystems, are digital assets that are interchangeable and hold identical value with one another. This attribute makes them ideal for creating versatile systems of exchange, rewards, and fairness in ticketing practices, among other applications. Given their nature, FTs can be utilized to facilitate seamless transactions within the NEAR ecosystem, offering a cornerstone for various decentralized applications (dApps) and financial models.

In contrast, NFTs bring a layer of uniqueness and scarcity to the digital asset space on NEAR. Each NFT represents a singular, non-interchangeable asset, making them perfect for embodying ownership over digital collectibles, event tickets, and other unique items. The uniqueness of each NFT opens up avenues for artists, creators, and event organizers to tokenize almost anything of value, ensuring authenticity and ownership in a digital form. This has paved the way for a burgeoning marketplace on NEAR where users can create, transfer, and trade NFTs with ease, leveraging the protocol's high throughput and low transaction costs.

The emergence of both FTs and NFTs within the NEAR ecosystem represents a microcosm of broader trends in the blockchain and digital assets space. While FTs offer a medium for efficient, equitable exchange and a way to democratize access to various utilities and rewards within the ecosystem, NFTs embrace the digital renaissance of collectibles and unique assets, attaching tangible value to the intangible. Together, they encapsulate the dual forces driving innovation on the NEAR Protocol—both serving distinct purposes but underpinning the expansive spread of blockchain utility and digital ownership. Through facilitating the creation, circulation, and exchange of these tokens, NEAR sets the stage for a diverse range of applications and use cases, from gaming and digital art to finance and beyond.

Section 1: The Essence and Varieties of Digital Tokens on NEAR

In the dynamic landscape of the NEAR protocol, digital tokens emerge as pivotal elements, with fungible tokens (FTs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) standing at the forefront of this digital transformation. FTs embody the principle of interchangeability, making them perfect for applications that require equivalent value exchange—like in the cases of cryptocurrencies, voting tokens, or loyalty points within the ecosystem. Their inherent property of being identical in value to another of the same type underpins the trust and efficiency in transactions, offering a streamlined approach to reward systems, financial exchanges, and the establishment of a stable digital economy on NEAR.

Conversely, NFTs introduce a layer of uniqueness and indivisibility, representing digital ownership of a one-of-a-kind asset. This distinction makes NFTs the ideal candidate for tokenizing artworks, collectibles, and even event tickets, ensuring authenticity and provenance through the immutable ledger of blockchain. The NEAR protocol, with its scalable infrastructure, amplifies the potential of NFTs, enabling creators and collectors to mint, trade, and manage digital assets with minimized cost and maximized speed, thus fostering a vibrant marketplace of rare and unique digital goods.

The interaction between FTs and NFTs within the NEAR ecosystem highlights a broader narrative of token versatility and functionality. While FTs facilitate the democratization of access and participation through their uniformity and fungibility, NFTs celebrate the distinctiveness of digital assets, paving the way for a rich landscape of digital collectibles and unique online assets. Together, they encapsulate the essence of digital tokenization on NEAR, serving as foundational blocks for a diverse array of applications—from decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms to digital arts and gaming—each contributing to the protocol’s expansive and inclusive digital economy.

Section 2: Harnessing the Power of Fungible Tokens on NEAR

Harnessing the power of fungible tokens (FTs) on the NEAR platform unveils a broad horizon of possibilities, particularly in transactions, governance, and utility within a plethora of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. At the heart of this ecosystem is the NEP-141 standard, NEAR's bespoke paradigm for fungible tokens, akin to the widely recognized ERC-20 on Ethereum. This standardization not only ensures a seamless interaction across various applications and contracts within the NEAR ecosystem but also significantly simplifies the development process for creators. By adhering to the NEP-141, developers can rest assured their tokens offer compatibility, interoperability, and meet the necessary criteria for a wide distribution and utilization across the network.

In the realm of transactions, FTs enable a fluid and frictionless transfer of value, facilitating an expedited DeFi space that's both robust and user-friendly. Whether it's for lending, borrowing, or trading on automated market makers (AMMs), fungible tokens are the linchpin that ensures these activities can proceed smoothly. This seamless exchange mechanism is pivotal for nurturing an environment where users can easily interact without worrying about liquidity issues or the feasibility of their transactions. The embedded standards like NEP-141 further ensure the integrity and security of these exchanges, fostering trust among participants in the burgeoning DEFI ecosystem on NEAR.

From a governance perspective, FTs serve a dual purpose—first, as a tool for expressing voting rights within decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and platforms, and second, as a utility token providing access to specific services or privileges within a protocol. This dual utility underscores the flexibility and power of FTs in orchestrating community-driven decisions and access control in decentralized networks. The technical foundation provided by NEAR's protocols and standards, including the NEP-141, ensures these tokens can be easily implemented, managed, and utilized by developers and users alike, propelling the evolution of DeFi applications towards more democratic and accessible domains.

Section 3: The Innovative World of NFTs on NEAR

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) on NEAR are governed by the NEP-171 standard, which is designed to support the unique identification and ownership of digital assets. This standard allows for the creation of diverse digital items—ranging from artwork and collectibles to in-game items and virtual real estate—each with its own unique identity stored securely on the NEAR blockchain. The NEP-171 standard not only facilitates the verification of originality and ownership but also simplifies transactions involving NFTs by making them as straightforward and efficient as possible. This advancement in NFT technology opens up endless possibilities for creators, investors, and collectors alike, enabling a new era of digital ownership and creativity.

The wide array of use cases for NFTs on NEAR is a testament to the versatility and strength of the platform. Digital artists, for instance, can tokenize their artwork, ensuring that it remains unique and easily tradable on the blockchain. In the gaming industry, in-game assets such as skins, weapons, and characters can be tokenized as NFTs, allowing players to own, trade, or sell their digital assets in a secure and verifiable way. Additionally, the world of virtual real estate has seen significant advancements through NFTs, with users being able to purchase, sell, and trade virtual land and properties. The immutability and security provided by the NEAR protocol ensure that each transaction is transparent and tamper-proof, enhancing trust among users.

The NEAR protocol significantly enriches the NFT experience through its innovative features. One of the key strengths of NEAR is its scalability, ensuring transactions are processed quickly and efficiently, which is vital for the often fast-paced trading of NFTs. Moreover, NEAR's storage staking model effectively separates storage demands from transaction costs, resulting in significantly lower fees when compared to other platforms. This democratizes access to the NFT market, allowing a broader audience of creators and collectors to participate. Coupled with NEAR's user-friendly approach, these features not only improve accessibility and security but also pave the way for more innovative uses of NFTs that could further transform the digital landscape.

Section 4: Future Perspectives: The Synergy between FTs, NFTs, and the NEAR Ecosystem

The evolving landscape of both fungible tokens (FTs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) within the NEAR ecosystem is poised to make significant strides in revolutionizing industries such as finance, art, and entertainment. The inherent capabilities of the NEAR Protocol to offer seamless, low-cost transactions in a decentralized environment hint at a future where digital assets and tokenization play central roles. By leveraging these technological advancements, businesses and creators can foster a more interconnected, user-centric digital world. The versatility of FTs is essential for creating liquidity and enabling new forms of asset trading and financial services, while NFTs push the boundaries of digital ownership and creativity, allowing for unique expressions of value.

Innovations on the horizon include the amalgamation of FTs and NFTs in novel applications that could redefine how value and ownership are perceived and transferred. The possibility of NFTs representing real-world assets and FTs facilitating their trade on decentralized platforms highlights an exciting frontier for property rights and investment models. These developments also bring forth challenges such as ensuring the security, scalability, and interoperability of these tokens. Despite these hurdles, the NEAR ecosystem's continuous growth and adaptation indicate a promising capacity to overcome them, thus paving the way for more integrated and efficient digital asset interactions.

The potential for FTs and NFTs within the NEAR ecosystem to catalyze a shift towards more sustainable and equitable models of commerce and interaction cannot be overstated. As these technologies mature and their applications become more widespread, we can expect to see a significant shift in how digital assets are utilized across various sectors. Whether it's transforming the traditional art market, enabling new forms of digital identity, or creating more dynamic financial products, the synergy between FTs, NFTs, and the NEAR ecosystem holds vast potential. Thus, it invites us to reconsider not only the structure of the digital economy but also the underlying principles that govern value, ownership, and exchange in the digital age.


The article explores the role of fungible tokens (FTs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) within the NEAR Protocol, highlighting their significance in reshaping industries like decentralized finance and digital art. It discusses how FTs provide interchangeability and efficiency in transactions, while NFTs bring uniqueness and scarcity to the digital asset space. The article emphasizes the potential of FTs and NFTs in revolutionizing sectors such as finance, art, and entertainment, and highlights the synergy between these tokens and the NEAR ecosystem in creating a more decentralized and user-centric digital world.