The rise of Bitcoin Ordinals
On January 21st 2023, Bitcoin Core software engineer Casey Rodarmor launched the ordinal protocol, essentially enabling NFTs directly on the Bitcoin blockchain. Unlike Ethereum non-fungible tokens (ETH NFTs), Ordinals data lives directly on-chain and they don't require file storage systems such as IPFS. The data is inscribed directly on individual satoshis.
Until then, Bitcoin NFTs had only been possible through Stacks, a blockchain network that leverages Bitcoin's high security while allowing the creation of smart contracts. Stacks is a layer 1.5 for Bitcoin with its own set of rules and cryptocurrency (STX).
This new development and the emergence of true digital artifacts, or Bitcoin NFTs, caused a lot of excitement and controversy within the crypto ecosystem. The idea of bringing digital assets directly to the Bitcoin network has been trending, and it was only a matter of time before Web3 developers started to fill the demand for user-friendly interfaces for Ordinals.
How to inscribe an Ordinal
The process of actually creating an ordinal inscription (also called inscribing) is highly technical, complex, and time consuming. In order to inscribe Ordinals, users must download Bitcoin core and run a fully synced Bitcoin node, which is costly and not quite beginner-friendly. After the sync is completed, the next step is to create an Ordinals wallet and send some satoshis to its address.
Stacks' leading Bitcoin NFT marketplace Gamma.io quickly released its no-code Ordinals launchpad, allowing anyone with a bitcoin address to inscribe Ordinals, and making it a lot easier for users. If you're interested in joining the Gamma community, find us on Twitter and Discord!
NFT wallets such as Xverse Wallet and Hiro Wallet announced Bitcoin Ordinal supported functionality, making it easier to set up a Bitcoin address for your Ordinal.
Setting up a Bitcoin Ordinal Wallet
In order to inscribe and keep Ordinals, you will need a Bitcoin Ordinal wallet with a taproot wallet address. That wallet will need "coin control" capabilities, in order to avoid spending your Ordinal NFT satoshis on transaction fees.
It's a good idea to use a new and unused ordinals address to receive your inscription. This way, you will know for sure that the ordinal containing your inscription will be the only satoshi associated with that address, because Ordinals are sent using bitcoin transactions. This will help to ensure your wallet is "forward-compatible" with new developments for managing ordinal inscriptions.
Bitcoin wallets such as Sparrow wallet (quick setup guide here) can be used to create new and unused Taproot addresses. Please note that if you use these options, you should not use the wallet you create to send BTC, unless you perform manual coin-selection to avoid sending ordinals as payment or fees. You should also be sure to set up your wallet with Taproot-based addresses. Taproot addresses can still receive bitcoin from other Bitcoin addresses. You can also use the specialized command line viewer if you have the technical knowledge to do so, which you can access from the Ordinal Theory Handbook.
The Bitcoin Web3 Xverse Wallet quickly launched support for Ordinal functionality for iOs, Android and the Chrome Browser extension.
You can easily process BTC payments to inscribe Ordinals and safely store them in a wallet, without risking accidentally sending them away as a satoshi payment. Users need to own some BTC to pay for transactions, which can also be purchased in-app using a fiat on-ramp service.
Once the ordinal is inscribed and sent to their taproot address, users can find their inscriptions inside their Xverse NFT collection. Xverse also lets Bitcoin users interact with Stacks, with plans to introduce instant payments via the lightning network.
Just a day before Xverse wallet, Hiro Wallet, another Bitcoin focused Web3 wallet and Stacks wallet, rolled out inscriptions to its testnet.
Hiro Wallet functions similarly to Xverse, with Gamma doing the inscribing and the Ordinals being deposited directly into a user's account. Once the Ordinal has been sent to the user's taproot address, they can see them in the "Collectibles" section of the wallet.
Hiro Wallet CEO stated that the platform will provide extensive support for both Stacks NFTs and Ordinal inscriptions.
Ordinals wallet is a digital wallet platform that provides a means for users to store, sell, buy, and trade Bitcoin Ordinals. The process of purchasing Bitcoin Ordinals on the platform is simple and user-friendly. Users are required to create an account and deposit funds into their wallet to get started. BTC can be purchased on crypto exchanges such as Binance or Coinbase, using fiat or other cryptocurrencies. While convenient for trading on their site, it’s worth mentioning that security best practices recommend using an isolated browser extension so that sensitive private keys are less likely to be exposed.