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Tezos Improvement Process (TZIP)

As Tezos is a large decentralized project that is constantly evolving, its members need to have a mechanism for proposing improvements to the ecosystem.

A Tezos Improvement Proposal (or TZIP, pronounced "tee-zip") is a document that offers ways to improve Tezos via new features, tools, or standards (e.g. smart contract interface specifications).

Specifically, a TZIP is a design document proposed to the Tezos community, describing a feature for Tezos or for the related processes, tools, or artifacts (such as smart contracts).

Typically, TZIPs do not impact the Tezos protocol at all. They rather concern other parts of the Tezos ecosystem. Therefore, TZIPs address a different and complementary need when compared to the formal online governance process for protocol amendments.

Any TZIP document should contain a concise technical specification and rationale that clearly articulates what the proposal is, how it may be implemented, and why the proposal is an improvement. It should also include an FAQ that documents, compares, and answers alternative options, opinions, and objections.

An explorer for all of the TZIPs, both past, prensent, and pending, can be found here.

Key TZIP Standards

TZIP-7: Fungible Asset (FA1.2)

TZIP-7, more commonly referred to as FA1.2, introduced an ERC20-like fungible token standard for Tezos. At its core, FA1.2 contains a ledger that maps identities to token balances, provides a standard API for token transfer operations, as well as providing approval to external contracts (e.g. an auction) or accounts to transfer a user's tokens.

For those familiar with ERC20, the FA1.2 interface differs from ERC-20 in that it does not contain transferfrom, which has instead been merged into a single transfer entrypoint. The FA1.2 specification is described in detail in TZIP-7, and several implementations of FA1.2 can be found here.

TZIP-10: Wallet Interaction

To enable the adoption of dApps in the Tezos ecosystem, a standard for the communication between these applications and wallets is needed. Tezos app developers shouldn't need to implement yet another wallet for each dApp, and users shouldn't need a multitude of wallets to interact with various services.

TZIP-10 is a Tezos Improvement Proposal that specifies a standard way for dApps to interact with wallets. This standard thus enables Tezos users to use their wallet of choice with any Tezos dApp. By using the TZIP-10 wallet standard, app developers maximize the reach of their product to all users of TZIP-10 wallets.

TZIP-12: Multi-Asset / NFT (FA2)

When implementing a token contract, many different factors must be taken into consideration. The tokens might be fungible or non-fungible, there can be a variety of transfer permission policies used to define how many tokens can be transferred, who can perform a transfer, and who can receive tokens. In addition, a token contract can be designed to support a single token type (e.g. ERC-20 or ERC-721) or multiple token types (e.g. ERC-1155), which could enable optimized batch transfers and atomic swaps of the tokens.

TZIP-12, more commonly referred to as FA2, is a standard that provides improved expressivity to contract developers to create new types of tokens, all while maintaining a common contract interface for wallet integrators and external developers.

A particular FA2-compatible contract implementation may support either a single token type or multiple tokens, including hybrid implementations where multiple token kinds (fungible, non-fungible, non-transferable, etc) can coexist (e.g. in a fractionalized NFT contract).

TZIP-16: Contract Metadata

Contract metadata provides information that is not directly used for a contract's operation, whether about the contract's code (e.g. its interface, versioning) or the off-chain meaning of the contract's data (e.g. an artwork corresponding to an NFT). Tezos smart contracts need a standard way to access such important data, facilitating access to useful information that is needed for a scalable integration of wallets, explorers, and applications.

TZIP-16 proposes to address this need and ease the integration, discoverability, and querying of Tezos smart contracts. TZIP-16 is a standard for encoding access to smart contract metadata in JSON format stored either on-chain using tezos-storage or off-chain using IPFS or HTTP(S).

TZIP-16 defines:

  • A basic structure to define metadata in a contract's storage.
  • A URI scheme to link to metadata stored on-chain (contract storage) or off-chain (web services or IPFS).
  • An extensible JSON format (JSON-Schema) to describe the metadata
  • Optional entrypoints to validate metadata information

TZIP-17: Permit & Meta-transactions

Transacting on the Tezos network requires users to pay gas in Tezos’ native token, tez. But what about those users who don’t have tez and want to complete a transaction on Tezos? Or users who want to avoid paying for individual contract calls (e.g. voting in a DAO) that could be batched?

TZIP-17 enables account abstraction: emulating multiple account types using standardized contract calls. This is done through pre-signing: a method to sign and submit Tezos transactions separately.

For instance, a “relayer” can submit a user’s pre-signed (meta) transaction and pay the tez fees on their behalf; a process called gas abstraction. This is especially convenient for subsidizing user onboarding, collecting multiple signatures when voting in a DAO, signing in a multisig, or batching transactions.

TZIP-17 enables developers to provide more native experiences for user onboarding and allows users to pay fees using the token (e.g. a stablecoin) used in the transaction. The relayer still pays transaction fees in tez at the protocol level and, because Tezos is Proof-of-Stake, these transaction fees accrue to stakeholders rather than just a small group of miners.

Ultimately, this brings the experience of using digital assets on Tezos more in line with that of traditional financial transactions and supports the use of Tezos as a settlement layer.

TZIP-21: Rich Contract Metadata

TZIP-21 is an extension of TZIP-16 and describes a metadata schema and standards for contracts and tokens.

This metadata standard aims to:

  1. Simplify the creation of rich metadata for tokens and assets
  2. Provide a commonly understood interface
  3. Conform to existing and emerging standards
  4. Allow global and international scope
  5. Be extensible
  6. Provide interoperability among ecosystem members (contracts, indexers, wallets, libraries, etc)

This standard also aims to be rich enough to describe a wide variety of asset and token types, from fungible tokens to semi-fungible tokens to nonfungibles.

TZIP-22: Vanity Name Resolution Standard

TZIP-22 is an extension of TZIP-016 describing a generic smart contract interface for resolving names to Tezos addresses and vice versa.

Previous to this standard, indexers and wallets used ad-hoc methods for associating addresses with human-readable names, including:

  • using pre-configured (in some cases hardcoded) lists of names and addresses;
  • making use of TZIP-16 metadata.

Such methods present some problems:

  • Pre-configured lists are hard to maintain and prone to breaking.
  • TZIP-16 metadata are published as part of a contract they relate to, which means the names are not globally unique nor authoritative.
  • Names and addresses for other types of uses, like personal wallets, cannot be resolved.

TZIP-22 proposes a name resolution interface based on off-line views (as defined by TZIP-16) that can be used by all products in the ecosystem to provide users with a consistent experience when associating names and addresses.