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Friday, July 12, 2024

No, Bitcoin Ordinals Do Not Inscribe Knowledge Onto Sats

That is an opinion editorial by Bitcoms, a Bitcoin author.

“So fast vivid issues come to confusion” 

–William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Evening’s Dream

Inscriptions” are a method of writing items of arbitrary data onto the Bitcoin blockchain. “Ordinals” are a conference used for monitoring particular person sats and linking them to inscriptions. This text doesn’t try to argue for or towards Bitcoin Ordinal inscriptions. Relatively, it argues towards the complicated, inaccurate and typically doubtful methods they are often offered, marketed and bought.

It offers with a widespread fallacy which insinuates that possession of Ordinal inscriptions is enforced and guarded by the foundations of the Bitcoin protocol itself (I preserve that it isn’t). And whereas this fallacy could also be asserted duplicitously or innocently, it’s all the time pernicious as a result of it might probably make Ordinal inscriptions extra enticing to potential patrons.

Here’s a typical instance:

“Ordinals permit quite a lot of information, together with textual content, photographs, and video to be inscribed on a single Satoshi (the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin) and completely saved on the Bitcoin blockchain.” 

Introduction documentation for Ordinals Market

This implies that possession of an inscription will likely be protected by the permanence and immutability of the Bitcoin timechain itself. However Bitcoin doesn’t implement possession of inscriptions, as a result of an inscription isn’t “inscribed on a single satoshi” on the blockchain in any respect.

Because the “Ordinal Idea Handbook,” the information to Ordinal idea compiled by its builders, factors out:

Satoshis dwell in outputs” whereas “inscription content material is included in transaction witnesses.”

Whereas each output information and witness information are saved on the Bitcoin blockchain following the SegWit improve, claiming that inscription information is inextricably linked to an “inscribed” satoshi creates a deceptive notion that any such hyperlink is acknowledged by Bitcoin itself.

In actuality, the hyperlink between an inscription and a selected satoshi is manufactured off chain by a purpose-built exterior indexer. This pulls information from the Bitcoin blockchain and presents it in line with a chic however in the end centralized and arbitrary system of guidelines referred to as “Ordinal idea.” These guidelines are solely extraneous to the Bitcoin protocol itself, and have been described by their originator as akin to astrology.

Unfold Of The Inscription Fallacy

However in my opinion, statements in most of the locations the place Ordinal inscriptions may be created, seen, purchased and bought, as properly in media protection, don’t clarify the position of the Ordinal indexer clearly sufficient. Thus, the concept that inscriptions are embedded “onto” or immediately “into” satoshis, and that the inscription information and a corresponding sat are inextricably linked inside the Bitcoin protocol with out the necessity for an exterior indexer, has created a harmful fallacy for potential traders.

Listed here are just some examples of such statements:

“Ordinal Inscriptions, much like NFTs, are digital property inscribed on a satoshi, the bottom denomination of a Bitcoin.”


“…Ordinals are ‘inscribed’ onto a single satoshi… Inscribing is the method of placing a bit of knowledge onto the blockchain, the place it can stay endlessly accessible and unchangeable.”

“Coinbase Bytes” publication

“Every sat may be inscribed with information, resembling JPGs, GIFs, PDFs and extra, making a Bitcoin Ordinal which is then held in a pockets.”

Gamma FAQ

“What are Bitcoin Ordinals? Launched in Jan 2023, they permit the creation of NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain by attaching information to particular person satoshis utilizing a course of referred to as inscription.”

Binance NFT Twitter account

“For the uninitiated, Ordinal Inscriptions, akin to NFTs, are digital property inscribed on satoshis (the smallest foreign money unit of bitcoin).”


“Ordinals inscribe a serial quantity onto a satoshi, the smallest foreign money unit of bitcoin.”


“Ordinals are inscribed immediately onto particular person Satoshi’s, that are then included in blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain.”


“…bitcoin community upgrades … enabled every satoshi … to retailer a number of megabytes of knowledge, from textual content and pictures to audio and video.”


“Token capabilities … are all achieved by inscribing information into satoshis, the smallest divisible unit of a bitcoin.”

NYDIG publication

As said on the outset, this text doesn’t search to point out that Ordinal inscriptions are good or dangerous. It merely spotlights the deceptive, typically sloppy, and maybe at occasions scammy, methods they’re being offered, which wrongly implies that Bitcoin itself will implement inscription possession with out using an exterior software.

So, what may be carried out to ensure potential patrons of Ordinal inscriptions don’t fall sufferer to this fallacy? We will preserve clearing up confusion by pointing it out.

This can be a visitor put up by Bitcoms. Opinions expressed are solely their very own and don’t essentially mirror these of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Journal.

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