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WTF Ethers: 12. Identify ERC721 Contracts

I've been revisiting ethers.js recently to refresh my understanding of the details and to write a simple tutorial called "WTF Ethers" for beginners.

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In this tutorial, we will learn how to use ethers.js to identify if a contract is an ERC721 standard.


ERC721 is a popular non-fungible token (NFT) standard on the Ethereum network. If you're unfamiliar with this standard, you can read about it in WTF Solidity 34: ERC721. When working on NFT-related projects, we need to identify contracts that comply with the ERC721 standard. For example, OpenSea automatically recognizes ERC721 contracts and collects their names, codes, metadata, and other data for display. To identify ERC721 contracts, we first need to understand ERC165.


With the ERC165 standard, smart contracts can declare the interfaces they support for other contracts to check. Therefore, we can check if a smart contract supports the ERC721 interface using ERC165.

The IERC165 standard interface contract only declares a supportsInterface function. This function returns true if it implements that interface ID; otherwise, it returns false:

interface IERC165 {
* @dev Returns true if the contract implements the `interfaceId`
* See:[EIP section]
function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceId) external view returns (bool);

ERC721 contracts implement the supportsInterface function from the IERC165 interface contract and return true when queried with 0x80ac58cd (ERC721 interface ID):

   function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceId)
returns (bool)
interfaceId == type(IERC721).interfaceId

Identifying ERC721 Contracts

  1. Create a provider to connect to the Ethereum mainnet.

    // Prepare Alchemy API, you can refer to: 
    const ALCHEMY_MAINNET_URL = '';
    const provider = new ethers.JsonRpcProvider(ALCHEMY_MAINNET_URL);
  2. Create an instance of the ERC721 contract. In the abi interface, we declare the name(), symbol(), and supportsInterface() functions to use. Here, we use the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) contract address.

    // Contract ABI
    const abiERC721 = [
    "function name() view returns (string)",
    "function symbol() view returns (string)",
    "function supportsInterface(bytes4) public view returns(bool)",
    // ERC721 contract address (BAYC)
    const addressBAYC = "0xbc4ca0eda7647a8ab7c2061c2e118a18a936f13d"
    // Create an instance of the ERC721 contract
    const contractERC721 = new ethers.Contract(addressBAYC, abiERC721, provider)
  3. Read the on-chain information of the contract: name and symbol.

    // 1. Read the on-chain information of the ERC721 contract
    const nameERC721 = await
    const symbolERC721 = await contractERC721.symbol()
    console.log("\n1. Read the on-chain information of the ERC721 contract")
    console.log(`Contract Address: ${addressBAYC}`)
    console.log(`Name: ${nameERC721}`)
    console.log(`Symbol: ${symbolERC721}`)

    Read Contract Name and Symbol

  4. Use the supportsInterface() function of ERC165 to identify whether the contract is an ERC721 standard. If it is, return true; otherwise, throw an error or return false.

    Note that the selectorERC721 constant in this code has been extracted into the main function.

    // 2. Use ERC165's supportsInterface() to determine if the contract is an ERC721 standard
    // ERC165 identifier for ERC721 interface
    const selectorERC721 = "0x80ac58cd"
    const isERC721 = await contractERC721.supportsInterface(selectorERC721)
    console.log("\n2. Use ERC165's supportsInterface() to determine if the contract is an ERC721 standard")
    console.log(`Is the contract an ERC721 standard? ${isERC721}`)

    Identify ERC721


In this tutorial, we learned how to use ethers.js to identify if a contract follows the ERC721 standard. Since we utilized the ERC165 standard, contracts that support the ERC165 standard can be identified using this method, including ERC721, ERC1155, and others. However, for standards like ERC20 that do not support ERC165, different methods need to be used to identify them. Do you know how to check if a contract is an ERC20?