A Bitcoin Ordinal is a piece of information that is inscribed on a Satoshi, the lowest denomination of a Bitcoin. Ordinals can be information like text, image, audio, videos and even applications. They were first created in December 2022.
Till date, as of 08 June 2023, there have been more than 15 Million inscriptions (minting of ordinals) and a revenue of $210 Million in Q2 of 2023 as per Cointelegraph. Their increasing popularity has resulted in a hike in Bitcoin network fees.
What are Bitcoin Ordinals?
The idea behind the creation of Bitcoin Ordinals were to enable NFT-like features in Bitcoin. The first Bitcoin Ordinal was created by Rodarmor on Dec 14, 2022. Within 7 months, there have been more than 15 Million inscriptions.
How do Ordinals Work?
To create an ordinal, 1 Satoshi, the lowest denomination of Bitcoin is chosen.
Bitcoin’s Ordinals are based on Ordinal theory which states that each individual unit of Bitcoin(Satoshi) can be individually tracked.
The challenge was however to write information on it.
This was made possible by Casey Rodarmor who first wrote information on a Satoshi. This became possible after the Segregated Witness and Taproot upgrades which allowed more block space in a Bitcoin block.
The Segregated Witness(SegWit) resulted in a disagreement in Bitcoin and led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash via a hardfork.
Types of Bitcoin Ordinals
There are 6 major types of Bitcoin Ordinals and 1 uncategorized type.
- Text (includes code in HTML, JS, etc.)
- Image (WebP, JPEG, PNG, etc.)
- Application (PDF, JS, etc.)
- Video (MP4, WebM, etc.)
- Audio (MPEG, FLAC, etc.)
- Model (STL)
As of 8 July 2023, Bitcoin ordinals are primarily text based(12.9 million) followed by images (0.71 million). There are other types of ordinals too which are audio, video and applications.
How to Buy or Mint a Bitcoin Ordinals?
To obtain a Bitcoin Ordinal, you have to either make an inscription(minting) or you have to buy it from somewhere.
Ordinals can be minted on the Bitcoin network. Earlier only those who ran a Bitcoin node could mint ordinals, however that has changed now and anyone can mint it.
Tech savvy users can mint it through a Bitcoin Node with an Ord App and a Command Line wallet. There are also websites like Gamma.io which lets users mint an ordinal with an order through a QR based payment.