ID Pointer

ID Pointer is a technique that separates the main data (an object) and its accessors / capabilities by linking the latter to the original. There's a few different directions in which this pattern can be used:

  • issuing transferable capabilities for shared objects (for example, a TransferCap that changes 'owner' field of a shared object)
  • splitting dynamic data and static (for example, an NFT and its Collection information)
  • avoiding unnecessary type linking (and witness requirement) in generic applications (LP token for a LiquidityPool)
/// This example implements a simple `Lock` and `Key` mechanics
/// on Sui where `Lock<T>` is a shared object that can contain any object,
/// and `Key` is an owned object which is required to get access to the
/// contents of the lock.
/// `Key` is linked to its `Lock` using an `ID` field. This check allows
/// off-chain discovery of the target as well as splits the dynamic
/// transferable capability and the 'static' contents. Another benefit of
/// this approach is that the target asset is always discoverable while its
/// `Key` can be wrapped into another object (eg a marketplace listing).
module examples::lock_and_key {
    use sui::object::{Self, ID, UID};
    use sui::transfer;
    use sui::tx_context::{Self, TxContext};
    use std::option::{Self, Option};

    /// Lock is empty, nothing to take.
    const ELockIsEmpty: u64 = 0;

    /// Key does not match the Lock.
    const EKeyMismatch: u64 = 1;

    /// Lock already contains something.
    const ELockIsFull: u64 = 2;

    /// Lock that stores any content inside it.
    struct Lock<T: store + key> has key {
        id: UID,
        locked: Option<T>

    /// A key that is created with a Lock; is transferable
    /// and contains all the needed information to open the Lock.
    struct Key<phantom T: store + key> has key, store {
        id: UID,
        for: ID,

    /// Returns an ID of a Lock for a given Key.
    public fun key_for<T: store + key>(key: &Key<T>): ID {

    /// Lock some content inside a shared object. A Key is created and is
    /// sent to the transaction sender. For example, we could turn the
    /// lock into a treasure chest by locking some `Coin<SUI>` inside.
    /// Sender gets the `Key` to this `Lock`.
    public entry fun create<T: store + key>(obj: T, ctx: &mut TxContext) {
        let id = object::new(ctx);
        let for = object::uid_to_inner(&id);

        transfer::share_object(Lock<T> {
            locked: option::some(obj),

        transfer::transfer(Key<T> {
            id: object::new(ctx)
        }, tx_context::sender(ctx));

    /// Lock something inside a shared object using a Key. Aborts if
    /// lock is not empty or if key doesn't match the lock.
    public entry fun lock<T: store + key>(
        obj: T,
        lock: &mut Lock<T>,
        key: &Key<T>,
    ) {
        assert!(option::is_none(&lock.locked), ELockIsFull);
        assert!(&key.for == object::borrow_id(lock), EKeyMismatch);

        option::fill(&mut lock.locked, obj);

    /// Unlock the Lock with a Key and access its contents.
    /// Can only be called if both conditions are met:
    /// - key matches the lock
    /// - lock is not empty
    public fun unlock<T: store + key>(
        lock: &mut Lock<T>,
        key: &Key<T>,
    ): T {
        assert!(option::is_some(&lock.locked), ELockIsEmpty);
        assert!(&key.for == object::borrow_id(lock), EKeyMismatch);

        option::extract(&mut lock.locked)

    /// Unlock the Lock and transfer its contents to the transaction sender.
    public fun take<T: store + key>(
        lock: &mut Lock<T>,
        key: &Key<T>,
        ctx: &mut TxContext,
    ) {
        transfer::public_transfer(unlock(lock, key), tx_context::sender(ctx))

This pattern is used in these examples: