CAIP-19: Asset Type and Asset ID Specification

Author Antoine Herzog, Pedro Gomes, Joel Thorstensson
Status Review
Type Standard
Created 2020-06-23
Updated 2020-06-23
Requires 2

Simple Summary

CAIP-19 defines a way to identify a type of asset (e.g. Bitcoin, Ether, ATOM) with an optional asset identifier suffix (for individually-addressable tokens like NFTs) in a human-readable, developer- and transaction-friendly way.


Often you need to reference an asset type, or an asset type + asset identifier to identify a specific token from that set (if non-fungible). For example, precise specifications of assets exchanged as an atomic swap (within or between blockchains) require this kind of unambiguous addressing, as do dashboards for tracking assets held by a given address or in a given collection.


Currently, each wallet or each exchange needs to create their own registry of types of assets and their associated metadata for example like Trust-Wallet or CoinMarketCap. Providing a unique Asset Type and, where applicable, a type-specific Asset ID for each asset for developers can reduce the risk of confusion between different assets.

Specification of Asset Type

The Asset Type is a string designed to uniquely identify the types of assets in a developer-friendly fashion.


The asset_type is a case-sensitive string in the form

asset_type:        chain_id + "/" + asset_namespace + ":" + asset_reference
chain_id:          Namespace+Blockchain ID as per [CAIP-2][]
asset_namespace:   [-a-z0-9]{3,8}
asset_reference:   [-.%a-zA-Z0-9]{1,128}

Note that -, % and . characters are allowed in asset_references, which include on-chain addresses like those specified in [CAIP-10][], but no other non-alphanumerics such as :, / or \. Implementers are recommended to use “URL encoding” (% + 2-character codes, canonically capitalized) as per Section 2 of RFC 3986 to escape any further non-alphanumeric characters, and to consider homograph attack surfaces in the handling of any non-alphanumerics.

Specification of Asset ID

The optional addition of an asset ID suffix separated by / uniquely identifies an addressible asset of a given type in a developer-friendly fashion. In the case of non-fungible tokens or other collections, this address is called a token_id (commonly referred to as a “serial number” since they are often sequentially numbered). Note: [ERC721][] defines identifiers for specific tokens as uint256 values (i.e. an integer ranging from 0 to 2^256-1) and recommends but does not require them to be serially assigned.


The asset_id is a case-sensitive string in the form

asset_id:    asset_type + "/" + token_id 
token_id:   [-.%a-zA-Z0-9]{1,78}

Note that -, % and . characters are allowed, but no other non-alphanumerics such as :, / or \. Implementers are recommended to use “URL encoding” (% + 2-character codes, canonically capitalized) as per Section 2 of RFC 3986 to escape any further non-alphanumeric characters, and to consider homograph attack surfaces in the handling of any non-alphanumerics.

More constrained character sets per namespace may be specified in each namespaces’ CAIP-19 profile, which outline some common asset types.


Note that for smart contract addresses used in some Asset Types (like ERC721 and its equivalents), some namespaces like the EVM offer canonicalization schemes that use capitalization (e.g. EIP-55), an option suffix (e.g. HIP-15), or some other transformation. At the present time, this specification does NOT require canonicalization, and implementers are advised to consider deduplication or canonicalization in their consumption of CAIP-addresses. CAIP-19 profiles in CASA namespaces may contain additional information per namespace.


Each asset_namespace covers a class of similar assets. Usually, it describes an ecosystem or standard, such as e.g. slip44 or erc20. One asset_namespace should include as many assets as possible. asset_reference is a way to identify an asset within a given asset_namespace.

To date, the only cross-chain/multi-namespace standard incorporated into CAIP system is SLIP-44, described in [CAIP-20][]; the former offers a registry for native fungible tokens across namespaces. Namespace-specific standards are profiled in CAIP-19 profiles in the CASA namespaces registry; the erc20 addressing on EVM chains, for example, is defined in namespaces/eip155/caip19.


The goals of the general asset type and asset ID format is:

  • Uniqueness within the entire asset ecosystem
  • To some degree human-readable and helps for basic debugging
  • Restricted in a way that it can be stored on-chain
  • Character set basic enough to display in hardware wallets as part of a transaction content

The following secondary goals can easily be achieved:

  • Can be used unescaped in URL paths
  • Can be used as a filename in a case-sensitive UNIX file system (Linux/git).

Those secondary goals have been given up along the way:

  • Can be used as a filename in a case-insensitive UNIX file system (macOS).
  • Can be used as a filename in a Windows file system.

Test Cases

This is a list of manually composed examples

# Ether Token

# Bitcoin Token

# ATOM Token

# Litecoin Token

# Binance Token

# IOV Token

# Lisk Token

# DAI Token

# CryptoKitties Collection

# CryptoKitties Collectible #771769

# Edition 12 of 50: First-Generation Hedera Robot VENOM EDITION


  • 2022-10-23:
    • expanded charset to include -,., and %
    • added canonicalization section and links
    • better language for use cases, wider-characterset syntax, etc
  • 2022-05-12: regex for token_id expanded to include entire uint256 range
  • 2021-06-25: regex max lengths raised and test cases updated accordingly
  • 2020-06-23: added distinction between asset type and asset ID
  • IETF RFC 3986 - the IETF standard for URL, URI and URN syntax
  • CAIP-2 - CASA Chain ID specification
  • EIP-721 - Ethereum Improvement Proposal for non-fungible tokens
  • EIP-55 - Ethereum Improvement Proposal for canonicalizing ethereum addresses to by deterministic capitalization of a-f characters
  • HIP-15 - Hedera Improvement Proposal defining a checksum suffix for addresses

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.


Please cite this document as:

Antoine Herzog, Pedro Gomes, Joel Thorstensson, "CAIP-19: Asset Type and Asset ID Specification," Chain Agnostic Improvement Proposals, no. 19, June 2020. [Online serial]. Available: