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Ergo has a Bitcoin-like UTXO transactional model: transactions spend and create one-time objects. We call this object a 'box'.


  • A box is an immutable object which can be only created or removed.
  • A box is not simply a coin; it contains data (and code) registers. Even more, there's nothing inbox but registers.
  • There are four predefined registers, with monetary value, protecting script, and identifier of a transaction which created the box and output index (and creation height).
  • Because data of transaction which created the box is included in it, the box has unique contents and, therefore, a unique id.
  • A box is a first-class citizen in the Ergo protocol.
  • Active boxes set is authenticated via a hash-based data structure, which allows building lightweight full-nodes (as described in this paper).
  • A box may have up to six additional registers with typed data. A script may access its registers (as well as registers of input and output boxes of the spending transaction).

As an example of a box. We take the proof-of-no-premine from Ergo genesis state, which contains last block ids from Bitcoin and Ethereum at the moment of launch, and also latest news headlines:

    "boxId": "b8ce8cfe331e5eadfb0783bdc375c94413433f65e1e45857d71550d42e4d83bd",
    "value": 1000000000,
    "ergoTree": "10010100d17300",
    "assets": [],
    "creationHeight": 0,
    "additionalRegisters": {
      "R5": "0e42307864303761393732393334363864393133326335613261646162326535326132333030396536373938363038653437623064323632336337653365393233343633",
      "R6": "0e464272657869743a20626f746820546f727920736964657320706c617920646f776e207269736b206f66206e6f2d6465616c20616674657220627573696e65737320616c61726d",
      "R8": "0e45d094d0b8d0b2d0b8d0b4d0b5d0bdd0b4d18b20d0a7d0a2d09fd09720d0b2d18bd180d0b0d181d182d183d18220d0bdd0b02033332520d0bdd0b020d0b0d0bad186d0b8d18e",
      "R7": "0e54e8bfb0e8af84efbc9ae5b9b3e8a1a1e38081e68c81e7bbade38081e58c85e5aeb9e28094e28094e696b0e697b6e4bba3e5ba94e5afb9e585a8e79083e58c96e68c91e68898e79a84e4b8ade59bbde4b98be98193",
      "R4": "0e4030303030303030303030303030303030303031346332653265376533336435316165376536366636636362363934326333343337313237623336633333373437"


A box, at the minimum, has four pieces of information.

  1. The value in NanoErgs (1 Erg = 1000000000 NanoErgs).
  2. The guard script (like scriptPubKey of Bitcoin). (aka the "smart contract.")
  3. Additional assets (tokens) are stored in this box.
  4. Creation info of the box (txId, the transaction identifier that created the box along with an output index). It also contains a maxCreation height parameter defined by the box creator (this is not the creation height; its use is to create "payment channels easily").

These are stored in the first four registers of the box.

  • R0 = monetary value
  • R1 = protecting script
  • R2 = tokens
  • R3 = identifier of a transaction which created the box and output index in the transaction (and also creation height).

Optional Registers

In addition, a box can have six optional registers (R4-R9) to store custom data for use in smart contracts. Registers must be densely packed; we cannot sandwich empty registers between non-empty ones. The optional registers can contain data of any of the following types:

  • Int, Long with the usual semantics of Scala. BigInt is a 256-bit integer (i.e., all computation is done modulo 2^256).
  • GroupElement, a point on the Secp256k1 curve represented in compressed format.
  • Coll[Byte], a collection of bytes, semantically similar to Array[Byte] in Scala.
  • Collection of the above, i.e., Coll[Int], Coll[GroupElement], Coll[Coll[Byte]], etc.
  • A boxId is calculated based on the contents of all the registers. This boxId uniquely defines a box and can be considered equivalent to Bitcoin's (txId, vOut) pairs.

Note that Ergo txId depends only on the message and not on signatures (similar to Bitcoin SegWit transactions). Hence, a txId is available even before signing. Like Bitcoin, Ergo supports chained transactions (i.e., spending of boxes with 0 confirmations).