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  • Writer's pictureCollin Christenbury

Bitcoin NFTS and WTF is an Ordinal?!

Updated: May 26, 2023

If you're an NFT collector scratching your head because you may have heard the terms "Bitcoin inscriptions" and "ordinals" thrown around lots lately in NFT circles. These terms refer to two distinct but related aspects of the blockchain technology that underpins NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain. If so, you are in the right place. I am about to explain what Bitcoin inscriptions are, how they work, and why ordinals have become an important part of the NFT universe.

First, let's start with the basics. Bitcoin inscriptions are a way of encoding data onto the Bitcoin blockchain. The Bitcoin blockchain is a distributed ledger that records all Bitcoin transactions. Each block in the blockchain contains a list of transactions, along with a unique cryptographic hash that identifies the block. By including data in a block's transactions, users can effectively "inscribe" that data onto the blockchain.

So how does this relate to NFTs? Well, NFTs are a type of digital asset that are stored on the blockchain. When you buy an NFT, you're essentially buying a unique identifier that points to a specific digital asset (like a piece of art or a video clip) that's stored somewhere else. This identifier is stored on the blockchain as a set of data, and it's this data that's referred to as a "Bitcoin inscription."

Bitcoin inscriptions have become an important feature of NFTs because they provide a way of proving ownership and authenticity. When you buy an NFT, you receive a unique Bitcoin inscription that's associated with that NFT. This inscription is stored on the blockchain and can be publicly verified by anyone. This means that you can prove that you own a specific NFT by showing the associated Bitcoin inscription.

But what about ordinals? Ordinals are a way of creating a unique identifier for each NFT within a specific collection. Ordinals are typically represented as a number, and they're used to differentiate between NFTs that might otherwise be identical (for example, two copies of the same artwork). Ordinals are important because they help to ensure that each NFT within a collection is unique and can be easily identified.

For example, let's say that you're the creator of an NFT collection that consists of 10,000 unique pieces of artwork. You might use ordinals to assign a unique number to each artwork, starting with 1 and ending with 10,000. This means that each artwork within the collection has a unique identifier that can be used to differentiate it from all the other artworks in the collection.

Ordinals are typically included as part of the Bitcoin inscription for each NFT within a collection. This means that when you buy an NFT, you receive a Bitcoin inscription that includes both the unique identifier for the collection (e.g. the name of the collection) and the ordinal for that specific NFT within the collection. This allows you to easily verify that you own a specific NFT within a specific collection.

So why have ordinals become such an important feature of NFTs? One reason is that they help to ensure the uniqueness of each NFT within a collection. If two NFTs have the same ordinal, it would be difficult to differentiate between them. By assigning a unique ordinal to each NFT, creators can ensure that each NFT is distinct and valuable in its own right.

Another reason that ordinals have become important is that they can be used to create scarcity within a collection. If there are only 10,000 pieces of artwork in a collection, and each artwork is assigned a unique ordinal between 1 and 10,000, then there will only ever be 10,000 NFTs within that collection. This scarcity can help to drive up the value of each NFT within the collection, making it a more valuable asset for collectors.

Bitcoin inscriptions and ordinals may seem like another wave of hype crashing on the NFT ecosystem, and the may be, But they play an important role in NFTs by providing a way to prove ownership, provenance and authenticity, as well as creating uniqueness and scarcity within a collection. Understanding these concepts is essential for staying on the cutting edge of NFTs and will help you build a valuable and relevant NFT collection. Keep these ordinals in mind as you explore the world of NFTs and diversify your collection. There is always something to learn in the world of NFTs and blockchain.

Continue to learn about the exciting developments in blockchain technology & be sure to follow me on IG @Collie_Pixels.


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