Ordinals Protocol allows digital artifacts like images, text and videos to be inscribed directly on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Developed by the software engineer Casey Rodarmor, the protocol was launched on the Bitcoin mainnet on Jan 21, 2023. It allows the users to add images, text and videos as NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain by leveraging the Satoshis (Sats).
Satoshis are the smallest subdivision of Bitcoin in fractions like 0.00000041 BTC. Ordinal protocol assigns serial numbers to satoshis and then keeps track of those satoshis as they are spent on the transactions.
These numbers are assigned in the order they are mined. Arbitrary digital assets, NFTs, accounts or stablecoins can be attached to satoshis using ordinal numbers as unique identifiers.
It’s basically attaching information in the form of image, text, program or video to the satoshis to make it unique, trackable and identifiable like an NFT.
Bitcoin’s unique events like halving, change in hash rate, mining difficulty etc, help to add rare traits to this information which can then be identified as common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary and mythic.
Adding NFTs to the Bitcoin mainnet has received a mixed response from the Bitcoin community. Some of the members are calling it an attack on Bitcoin while others are using the news to troll the Maxis i.e the serious Bitcoin enthusiasts.
The rift around Ordinals has opened up a debate for everyone discussing whether or not the network should be used for non-financial purposes. Some call it a good move to inscribe information on the chain which is bulletproof from being attacked by governments, media agencies and enterprises.
It’s like keeping the information publicly forever on the chain. However, some are totally against this move as it dilutes the vision of Satoshi of making Bitcoin a pure cryptocurrency involved only in financial transactions.
It is also to be noted that long before Ordinals, Bitcoiners floated the idea of incorporating a domain name system into Bitcoin called BitDNS. The idea was shot down by Satoshi himself in 2010 stating “Piling every proof-of-work quorum system in the world into one dataset doesn’t scale”.
How will the Ordinals protocol pans out? Well, with Satoshi gone, it’s time for you to decide.
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Paras is a blockchain writer & video creator at Katoch Tubes. In his free time, he loves watching space exploration documentaries & Hollywood movies.