ERC Detection and Discovery

An interface to identify if major behavior or optional behavior specified in an ERC is supported for a given caller.
ReviewStandards Track: ERC
Created: 2022-07-15
Requires: EIP-5750
Zainan Victor Zhou (@xinbenlv)
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1 min read

The ERC-5269 proposal is an interface for better identification and detection of EIPs and ERCs on the Ethereum network. It designates a field called majorEIPIdentifier, which is similar to the EIP number, and proposes a new concept of minorEIPIdentifier. It also proposes an event to allow smart contracts to declare the EIPs they support. This proposal is meant to be a competing standard for EIP-165 and was designed with UX in mind.

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An interface for better identification and detection of ERC by numbers. It designates a field in which it's called majorERCIdentifier which is normally known or referred to as "ERC number". For example, ERC-721 aka ERC-721 has a majorERCIdentifier = 721. This ERC has a majorERCIdentifier = 5269.

Calling it a majorERCIdentifier instead of ERCNumber makes it future-proof: anticipating there is a possibility where future ERC is not numbered or if we want to incorporate other types of standards.

It also proposes a new concept of minorERCIdentifier which is left for authors of individual ERC to define. For example, ERC-721's author may define ERC721Metadata interface as minorERCIdentifier= keccak256("ERC721Metadata").

It also proposes an event to allow smart contracts to optionally declare the ERCs they support.


This ERC is created as a competing standard for ERC-165.

Here are the major differences between this ERC and ERC-165.

  1. ERC-165 uses the hash of a method's signature which declares the existence of one method or multiple methods, therefore it requires at least one method to exist in the first place. In some cases, some ERCs interface does not have a method, such as some ERCs related to data format and signature schemes or the "Soul-Bound-ness" aka SBT which could just revert a transfer call without needing any specific method.
  2. ERC-165 doesn't provide query ability based on the caller. The compliant contract of this ERC will respond to whether it supports certain ERC based on a given caller.

Here is the motivation for this ERC given ERC-165 already exists:

  1. Using ERC numbers improves human readability as well as make it easier to work with named contract such as ENS.

  2. Instead of using an ERC-165 identifier, we have seen an increasing interest to use ERC numbers as the way to identify or specify an ERC. For example

  • ERC-5267 specifies extensions to be a list of ERC numbers.
  • ERC-600, and ERC-601 specify an ERC number in the m / purpose' / subpurpose' / ERC' / wallet' path.
  • ERC-5568 specifies The instruction_id of an instruction defined by an ERC MUST be its ERC number unless there are exceptional circumstances (be reasonable)
  • ERC-6120 specifies struct Token { uint eip; ..., } where uint eip is an ERC number to identify ERCs.
  • ERC-867(Stagnant) proposes to create erpId: A string identifier for this ERP (likely the associated ERC number, e.g. “ERC-1234”).
  1. Having an ERC/ERC number detection interface reduces the need for a lookup table in smart contract to convert a function method or whole interface in any ERC in the bytes4 ERC-165 identifier into its respective ERC number and massively simplifies the way to specify ERC for behavior expansion.

  2. We also recognize a smart contract might have different behavior given different caller accounts. One of the most notable use cases is that when using Transparent Upgradable Pattern, a proxy contract gives an Admin account and Non-Admin account different treatment when they call.


In the following description, we use ERC and ERC inter-exchangeably. This was because while most of the time the description applies to an ERC category of the Standards Track of ERC, the ERC number space is a subspace of ERC number space and we might sometimes encounter ERCs that aren't recognized as ERCs but has behavior that's worthy of a query.

  1. Any compliant smart contract MUST implement the following interface
// DRAFTv1 pragma solidity ^0.8.9; interface IERC5269 { event OnSupportERC( address indexed caller, // when emitted with `address(0x0)` means all callers. uint256 indexed majorERCIdentifier, bytes32 indexed minorERCIdentifier, // 0 means the entire ERC bytes32 ercStatus, bytes extraData ); /// @dev The core method of ERC Interface Detection /// @param caller, a `address` value of the address of a caller being queried whether the given ERC is supported. /// @param majorERCIdentifier, a `uint256` value and SHOULD BE the ERC number being queried. Unless superseded by future ERC, such ERC number SHOULD BE less or equal to (0, 2^32-1]. For a function call to `supportERC`, any value outside of this range is deemed unspecified and open to implementation's choice or for future ERCs to specify. /// @param minorERCIdentifier, a `bytes32` value reserved for authors of individual ERC to specify. For example the author of [ERC-721](/ERCS/eip-721) MAY specify `keccak256("ERC721Metadata")` or `keccak256("ERC721Metadata.tokenURI")` as `minorERCIdentifier` to be quired for support. Author could also use this minorERCIdentifier to specify different versions, such as ERC-712 has its V1-V4 with different behavior. /// @param extraData, a `bytes` for [ERC-5750](/ERCS/eip-5750) for future extensions. /// @return ercStatus, a `bytes32` indicating the status of ERC the contract supports. /// - For FINAL ERCs, it MUST return `keccak256("FINAL")`. /// - For non-FINAL ERCs, it SHOULD return `keccak256("DRAFT")`. /// During ERC procedure, ERC authors are allowed to specify their own /// ercStatus other than `FINAL` or `DRAFT` at their discretion such as `keccak256("DRAFTv1")` /// or `keccak256("DRAFT-option1")`and such value of ercStatus MUST be documented in the ERC body function supportERC( address caller, uint256 majorERCIdentifier, bytes32 minorERCIdentifier, bytes calldata extraData) external view returns (bytes32 ercStatus); }

In the following description, ERC_5269_STATUS is set to be keccak256("DRAFTv1").

In addition to the behavior specified in the comments of IERC5269:

  1. Any minorERCIdentifier=0 is reserved to be referring to the main behavior of the ERC being queried.
  2. The Author of compliant ERC is RECOMMENDED to declare a list of minorERCIdentifier for their optional interfaces, behaviors and value range for future extension.
  3. When this ERC is FINAL, any compliant contract MUST return an ERC_5269_STATUS for the call of supportERC((any caller), 5269, 0, [])

Note: at the current snapshot, the supportERC((any caller), 5269, 0, []) MUST return ERC_5269_STATUS.

  1. Any complying contract SHOULD emit an OnSupportERC(address(0), 5269, 0, ERC_5269_STATUS, []) event upon construction or upgrade.
  2. Any complying contract MAY declare for easy discovery any ERC main behavior or sub-behaviors by emitting an event of OnSupportERC with relevant values and when the compliant contract changes whether the support an ERC or certain behavior for a certain caller or all callers.
  3. For any ERC-XXX that is NOT in Final status, when querying the supportERC((any caller), xxx, (any minor identifier), []), it MUST NOT return keccak256("FINAL"). It is RECOMMENDED to return 0 in this case but other values of ercStatus is allowed. Caller MUST treat any returned value other than keccak256("FINAL") as non-final, and MUST treat 0 as strictly "not supported".
  4. The function supportERC MUST be mutability view, i.e. it MUST NOT mutate any global state of EVM.


  1. When data type uint256 majorERCIdentifier, there are other alternative options such as:
  • (1) using a hashed version of the ERC number,
  • (2) use a raw number, or
  • (3) use an ERC-165 identifier.

The pros for (1) are that it automatically supports any evolvement of future ERC numbering/naming conventions. But the cons are it's not backward readable: seeing a hash(ERC-number) one usually can't easily guess what their ERC number is.

We choose the (2) in the rationale laid out in motivation.

  1. We have a bytes32 minorERCIdentifier in our design decision. Alternatively, it could be (1) a number, forcing all ERC authors to define its numbering for sub-behaviors so we go with a bytes32 and ask the ERC authors to use a hash for a string name for their sub-behaviors which they are already doing by coming up with interface name or method name in their specification.

  2. Alternatively, it's possible we add extra data as a return value or an array of all ERC being supported but we are unsure how much value this complexity brings and whether the extra overhead is justified.

  3. Compared to ERC-165, we also add an additional input of address caller, given the increasing popularity of proxy patterns such as those enabled by ERC-1967. One may ask: why not simply use msg.sender? This is because we want to allow query them without transaction or a proxy contract to query whether interface ERC-number will be available to that particular sender.

  4. We reserve the input majorERCIdentifier greater than or equals 2^32 in case we need to support other collections of standards which is not an ERC/ERC.

Test Cases

describe("ERC5269", function () { async function deployFixture() { // ... } describe("Deployment", function () { // ... it("Should emit proper OnSupportERC events", async function () { let { txDeployErc721 } = await loadFixture(deployFixture); let events = txDeployErc721.events?.filter(event => event.event === 'OnSupportERC'); expect(events).to.have.lengthOf(4); let ev5269 = events!.filter( (event) => event.args!.majorERCIdentifier.eq(5269)); expect(ev5269).to.have.lengthOf(1); expect(ev5269[0].args!.caller).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(ev5269[0].args!.minorERCIdentifier).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(ev5269[0].args!.ercStatus).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("DRAFTv1")); let ev721 = events!.filter( (event) => event.args!.majorERCIdentifier.eq(721)); expect(ev721).to.have.lengthOf(3); expect(ev721[0].args!.caller).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(ev721[0].args!.minorERCIdentifier).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(ev721[0].args!.ercStatus).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("FINAL")); expect(ev721[1].args!.caller).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(ev721[1].args!.minorERCIdentifier).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("ERC721Metadata")); expect(ev721[1].args!.ercStatus).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("FINAL")); // ... }); it("Should return proper ercStatus value when called supportERC() for declared supported ERC/features", async function () { let { erc721ForTesting, owner } = await loadFixture(deployFixture); expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 5269, ethers.utils.hexZeroPad("0x00", 32), [])).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("DRAFTv1")); expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 721, ethers.utils.hexZeroPad("0x00", 32), [])).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("FINAL")); expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 721, ethers.utils.id("ERC721Metadata"), [])).to.equal(ethers.utils.id("FINAL")); // ... expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 721, ethers.utils.id("WRONG FEATURE"), [])).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 9999, ethers.utils.hexZeroPad("0x00", 32), [])).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); }); it("Should return zero as ercStatus value when called supportERC() for non declared ERC/features", async function () { let { erc721ForTesting, owner } = await loadFixture(deployFixture); expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 721, ethers.utils.id("WRONG FEATURE"), [])).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); expect(await erc721ForTesting.supportERC(owner.address, 9999, ethers.utils.hexZeroPad("0x00", 32), [])).to.equal(BigNumber.from(0)); }); }); });

See TestERC5269.ts.

Reference Implementation

Here is a reference implementation for this ERC:

contract ERC5269 is IERC5269 { bytes32 constant public ERC_STATUS = keccak256("DRAFTv1"); constructor () { emit OnSupportERC(address(0x0), 5269, bytes32(0), ERC_STATUS, ""); } function _supportERC( address /*caller*/, uint256 majorERCIdentifier, bytes32 minorERCIdentifier, bytes calldata /*extraData*/) internal virtual view returns (bytes32 ercStatus) { if (majorERCIdentifier == 5269) { if (minorERCIdentifier == bytes32(0)) { return ERC_STATUS; } } return bytes32(0); } function supportERC( address caller, uint256 majorERCIdentifier, bytes32 minorERCIdentifier, bytes calldata extraData) external virtual view returns (bytes32 ercStatus) { return _supportERC(caller, majorERCIdentifier, minorERCIdentifier, extraData); } }

See ERC5269.sol.

Here is an example where a contract of ERC-721 also implement this ERC to make it easier to detect and discover:

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/ERC721.sol"; import "../ERC5269.sol"; contract ERC721ForTesting is ERC721, ERC5269 { bytes32 constant public ERC_FINAL = keccak256("FINAL"); constructor() ERC721("ERC721ForTesting", "E721FT") ERC5269() { _mint(msg.sender, 0); emit OnSupportERC(address(0x0), 721, bytes32(0), ERC_FINAL, ""); emit OnSupportERC(address(0x0), 721, keccak256("ERC721Metadata"), ERC_FINAL, ""); emit OnSupportERC(address(0x0), 721, keccak256("ERC721Enumerable"), ERC_FINAL, ""); } function supportERC( address caller, uint256 majorERCIdentifier, bytes32 minorERCIdentifier, bytes calldata extraData) external override view returns (bytes32 ercStatus) { if (majorERCIdentifier == 721) { if (minorERCIdentifier == 0) { return keccak256("FINAL"); } else if (minorERCIdentifier == keccak256("ERC721Metadata")) { return keccak256("FINAL"); } else if (minorERCIdentifier == keccak256("ERC721Enumerable")) { return keccak256("FINAL"); } } return super._supportERC(caller, majorERCIdentifier, minorERCIdentifier, extraData); } }

See ERC721ForTesting.sol.

Security Considerations

Similar to ERC-165 callers of the interface MUST assume the smart contract declaring they support such ERC interfaces doesn't necessarily correctly support them.

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

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