BEP-20 is a token standard on Binance Smart Chain that extends ERC-20, the most common Ethereum token standard. You can think of it as a blueprint for tokens that defines how they can be spent, who can spend them, and other rules for their usage. Due to its similarity to Binance Chain’s BEP-2 and Ethereum’s ERC-20, it’s compatible with both.
BEP-20 was conceived as a technical specification for Binance Smart Chain, with the goal of providing a flexible format for developers to launch a range of different tokens. These could represent anything from shares in a business to dollars stored in a bank vault (i.e., a stablecoin).
Of course, one could equally create a native asset as a BEP-20 token, or even peg tokens from other blockchains to make them usable on Binance Smart Chain. This is what’s done with “Peggy” coins, which are essentially BEP-20 versions of other crypto assets (such as LINK or XRP).
Like BEP-2 tokens on Binance Chain, BEP-20 token transfers are fuelled with BNB. This provides an incentive for validators to include the transactions in the blockchain, as they’ll collect the BNB as a fee for their troubles.
You may know that Binance Smart Chain was envisioned as something of an extension to Binance Chain. With dual chain architecture, both chains are complementary – Binance Smart Chain caters to decentralized applications without congesting the original chain, which is optimized for ultra-fast trading.
Because of this architecture, heavy emphasis was placed on cross-chain compatibility. For that reason, BEP-2 tokens can be swapped for their BEP-20 equivalent. The easiest way to do so is perhaps via the Binance Chain Wallet extension, though more methods will undoubtedly emerge over time.
For a more detailed look at the BEP-20 standard, be sure to check out the draft proposal on GitHub.