I see that some pallets wrap phantom data:

pub struct Pallet<T>(PhantomData<T>);

and others not:

pub struct Pallet<T>(_);

Why is it there?
Do I need this in my pallet as well?

2 Answers 2


The #[pallet::pallet] macro simply replaced the _ in the definition above to PhantomData<T>.

See the notes here:


/// * Add derive trait on Pallet
/// * Implement GetStorageVersion on Pallet
/// * Implement OnGenesis on Pallet
/// * Implement `fn error_metadata` on Pallet
/// * declare Module type alias for construct_runtime
--> /// * replace the first field type of `struct Pallet` with `PhantomData` if it is `_`
/// * implementation of `PalletInfoAccess` information
/// * implementation of `StorageInfoTrait` on Pallet

and the code:

// If the first field type is `_` then we replace with `PhantomData`
if let Some(field) = pallet_item.fields.iter_mut().next() {
    if field.ty == syn::parse_quote!(_) {
        field.ty = syn::parse_quote!(

So it is the same thing, and just a friendly "type inference magic" done for the pallet developer.


A phantom type parameter is simply a type parameter which is never used. In Rust, this often causes the compiler to complain, and the solution is to add a “dummy” use by way of PhantomData.

Adding a PhantomData field to your type tells the compiler that your type acts as though it stores a value of type T, even though it doesn’t really. This information is used when computing certain safety properties.

  • So basically just to make the compiler happy? No change in the pallet execution logic? Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 17:47
  • 2
    There is a bit more about it, I think. The example in the substrate docs about lifetime is great, explaining how you can use PhantomData to define that a certain struct should not outlive 'a for that concrete example. But I am not aware if this affects the execution of this logic. I would guess it does not. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 18:03

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