Triggered by this blog post[1] (and forum post[2]) which says "No smart contract is needed to mint tokens on Cardano", isn't it so that to mint or to burn custom assets, one does need to run a smart contract, i.e the minting policy, and that it is only the transfer of custom assets where no interaction with a smart contract is required?

1 Answer 1


Native means it is native to the multi-assets ledger itself and you do not need an additional layer (such as the ERC-{20,721} smart contract on Eth).

Minting policy is just a set of ledger rules that defined the minting or burning of a token, it is not a smart contract.

To discover the differences between ERC20 assets on Eth and native assets on Cardano, see the How does a native token compare to ada and ERC20? document.

  • Took a while to come back to this! The article you link seems to confirm what triggered me: it is required to run a smart contract to mint or burn a custom asset, only when transferring a custom asset is no smart contract needed. See the second table in the "How does a native token compare to ada and ERC20?" document. Feb 1 at 6:30
  • @CigaretteSmokingMan it all depends on your definition of a smart contact. I do not agree the validation scripts are smart contacts (there are just validation script without any kind of complex logic). Generally when speaking of Smart contracts on Cardano, we speak about the Plutus scripting language. Feb 1 at 12:33
  • The simple scripts are available on the ledger since Shelley (July 2019) and I think there is a strong consensus these are not considered smart contracts. Feb 1 at 12:35

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