Ordinal NFTs ( in Bitcoin jargon, Inscriptions), also known as Bitcoin NFTs, are a type of non-fungible token (NFT) that are unique and cannot be exchanged for another token. These NFTs are created on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is different from other popular smart contract-enabled blockchain networks like Ethereum, Tezos or Solana, which have been traditionally used to create NFTs. Ordinals is Bitcoin's latest answer to NFT and is rapidly on the rise with the CryptoPunk's inspired 'Ordinal Punks' soaring in value recently. Forbes identified over 50,000 Ordinals NFTs, and a sum of 13 BTC spent on Ordinals on the chain. NFT Now mentioned, "fewer than 90,000 Ordinals exist at the time of writing".
Ordinal Punks, a homage to ETH's historic CryptoPunks
The concept of Ordinal NFTs is based on the mathematical concept of ordinal numbers, which are used to describe the position of an object in a sequence (For example, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and so on). In the context of NFTs, Ordinals represent a unique position within a series of tokens, making each one distinct.
One of the main benefits of ordinal NFTs is that they can be minted with a minimal carbon footprint, thanks to the energy-efficient design of the Bitcoin blockchain. This is in contrast to other blockchain networks, like Ethereum, which have been criticized for their high energy consumption.
Taproot Wizards, created by Udi Wertheimer, the 1st in the collection makes history for being the largest block/transaction on Bitcoin, ever
The interest in Ordinal NFTs has been steadily growing over the past few months, with some notable sales, including a single ordinal NFT selling for over $200,000. However, according to an article on Decrypt, the interest in ordinals may be fading. The article cites data from NonFungible.com, which shows that the number of Ordinal NFT sales has been steadily decreasing since the beginning of 2022.
Despite this, there are still companies and artists creating and selling Ordinal NFTs. Yuga Labs recently announced the release of a new generative ordinal NFT collection on the Bitcoin blockchain. This collection will feature 10,000 unique Ordinals, each with its own distinct design and rarity.
At this opportune moment, one Malaysian creator, MindMechanic found it to make a monumental leap to become the first 1/1 artist on Ordinals Marketplace, Generative.xyz, also becoming the 1st ever artist to mint 1/1s on the whole BTC blockchain. As context, MindMechanic is one of the few rare Malaysian talents that has been accepted on the highly curated marketplace, SuperRare.
MindMechanic's Fluttering Thoughts of Bitcoin
For those interested in minting and collecting Ordinal NFTs, there are several resources available. Decrypt has published a beginner's guide to Bitcoin NFTs, which includes an overview of Ordinals and how they work. CoinDesk also has a comprehensive guide to Ordinal NFTs, which covers everything from how to mint them to their potential use cases.
All in all, Ordinals offer a unique way to create and collect NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain. While the interest in them may be fading, there are still companies and artists creating and selling them, and there are resources available for those interested in learning more about them.