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Bitcoin community divided over NFT project ordinals in heated debate

The ordinals protocol utilises inscriptions, which are pieces of content such as text or images that can be attached to sequentially numbered sats

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Jan 31, 2023 08:50:35 PM IST
Updated: Jan 31, 2023 08:51:50 PM IST

Bitcoin community divided over NFT project ordinals in heated debateImage: Shutterstock

The recent launch of the Ordinals protocol, which allows NFTs to be stored on the Bitcoin blockchain, has created a divide between those who believe the blockchain should only be used for financial transactions and others who see the network as capable of supporting multiple applications, including meme-based art.

According to Casey Rodarmor, the creator of Ordinals, the protocol utilises "inscriptions," which are pieces of content such as text or images that can be attached to sequentially numbered "sats" (the smallest units of Bitcoin). This creates one-of-a-kind "digital artefacts" that can be held and transferred on the Bitcoin network like any other sats.

The current version of Ordinals would not have been possible without the SegWit upgrade in 2017 and the Taproot upgrade in 2021 for Bitcoin. 

SegWit improved Bitcoin's scalability by adding a block field to store "witness data", such as signatures and public keys for transactions, but limitations were imposed due to security risks. 

Taproot addressed these security issues and allowed the previous SegWit restrictions to be lifted, enabling the storage of large amounts of NFT data on the blockchain. This has provided a suitable foundation for Ordinals.

The introduction of the Ordinals protocol has revived the long-standing argument over the use of Bitcoin for purposes other than finance. In 2010, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, firmly stated that it should not be used for non-financial purposes.

Before Ordinals, some early Bitcoin supporters proposed the integration of a domain name system (DNS) into Bitcoin called BitDNS. However, Satoshi rejected this idea and stated that combining all proof-of-work consensus systems into one dataset would not be scalable. As a result, BitDNS was abandoned and eventually evolved into a separate chain known as Namecoin.

Against this backdrop, some members of the Bitcoin community view the NFT project as a threat, while others welcome it. Rodarmor commented that Bitcoin isn't meant for anything specific; it just exists and has surpassed the original intentions of its creator.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash