Bitcoin Ordinals, or BTOs, are a new type of digital asset that claim to be the next evolution of Bitcoin. They are created by inscribing messages on the Bitcoin blockchain, using a technique called OP_RETURN. BTOs are supposed to represent the ownership of physical or digital goods, such as art, music, or real estate. However, not everyone is convinced by their potential. Some prominent Bitcoin developers and experts have criticized BTOs as a scam and a distraction from the true value of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Ordinals are a form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are unique and indivisible digital assets that can be verified and traded on a blockchain. NFTs have gained popularity in recent years, especially in the fields of art and gaming, where they are used to create and sell digital collectibles. However, most NFTs are issued on Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, which has a more flexible and programmable platform than Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Ordinals aim to change that by enabling the creation of NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is the oldest and most secure cryptocurrency network. BTOs use a special feature of the Bitcoin protocol called OP_RETURN, which allows users to embed up to 80 bytes of arbitrary data in a transaction. By using this feature, BTO creators can inscribe messages on the Bitcoin blockchain, such as the name, description, and image of their NFT. These messages are then encoded and compressed using a standard called Ordinal Protocol, which also assigns a unique identifier to each BTO.
BTOs can be viewed and verified using a dedicated website, called Ordinals, which also provides a marketplace for buying and selling BTOs. According to the Ordinals website, BTOs can represent anything that has value, such as physical or digital goods, services, experiences, or ideas. Some examples of BTOs that have been created so far include a painting by Pablo Picasso, a song by Bob Dylan, a tweet by Elon Musk, and a deed to a plot of land in Wyoming.
Why are Bitcoin Ordinals controversial?
Bitcoin Ordinals have attracted both interest and criticism from the Bitcoin community. Some see BTOs as a way to unleash the creative potential of Bitcoin and to expand its use cases beyond money. They argue that BTOs are more secure, scarce, and valuable than other NFTs, because they are backed by the Bitcoin network and its limited supply of 21 million coins. They also claim that BTOs are more environmentally friendly than other NFTs, because they do not require additional energy consumption or network fees.
However, others see BTOs as a scam and a distraction from the true value of Bitcoin. They argue that BTOs are nothing more than spam on the Bitcoin blockchain, which wastes space and resources. They also question the legitimacy and legality of BTOs, as they may infringe on the intellectual property rights of the original creators or owners of the goods they represent. They also doubt the utility and demand of BTOs, as they do not provide any additional functionality or benefit to the users.
One of the most vocal critics of BTOs is Jimmy Song, a well-known Bitcoin developer, educator, and entrepreneur. Song has likened BTOs to pump and dump altcoin scams, which are schemes that artificially inflate the price of a cryptocurrency and then sell it for a profit. He believes that BTOs are a way to exploit the ignorance and greed of the public, who may be lured by the hype and novelty of BTOs. He also thinks that BTOs are a distraction from the true purpose of Bitcoin, which is to be a decentralized and censorship-resistant form of money.
What is the future of Bitcoin Ordinals?
Bitcoin Ordinals are still a relatively new and experimental phenomenon, and their future is uncertain. Some believe that BTOs will fade away as a fad, or be replaced by better and more efficient solutions. Others believe that BTOs will grow and thrive as a niche market, or even become a mainstream and revolutionary form of digital ownership. The ultimate fate of BTOs may depend on the market forces, the legal regulations, and the technological innovations that will shape the Bitcoin ecosystem in the coming years.