Bitcoin NFTs continue to evolve at a rapid pace. A new type of NFT called “Stamps” has taken the Bitcoin blockchain by storm this week. What do we know about stamps?
What do we know about stamps?
The name Stamps stands for “Safely Tradeable and Securely Preserved Art”. Users can use stamps to embed image data into the Bitcoin blockchain. Since its inception in March, users have created more than 10,000 new NFTs using Bitcoin Stamps. By comparison, Bitcoin Ordinals barely cracked the 2,000 items it released in its first month of existence.
Bitcoin notable personality “Mike in Space” created stamps. He created the new technology to offer an alternative to writing Ordinals. Stamps offer several advantages over ordinal inscriptions.
What are the advantages of using stamps?
The primary advantage of stamps is improved decentralization and stability. Individual node runners can trim data from Ordinal NFTs, thus creating different versions of the same NFT. On a large enough scale, a single entity with enough runners can theoretically challenge the consensus on what the valid data for any given ordinal pattern should be.
In contrast, Stamps directly store the images in the transaction output, preventing contract runners from manually changing the data. This difference ensures that any NFTs created with stamps will be immutable forever.
Mike InSpace writes, “Storing ‘art on the blockchain’ as a means of achieving permanence is often a misnomer in the NFT world. Most NFTs are just pointers to images for centralized hosting or stored on-chain in trimizable witness data. We propose a way to embed image data in base64 format. Using transaction outputs in a new way…. By doing this, data is preserved in such a way that it is impossible to prune from a full node, keeping the data static forever.”
Bitcoin stamps can also be semi-fungible. Users can issue “1 of 1” or “1 of many” digital assets, similar to Ethereum’s ERC-1155 token standard. This ability opens many new use cases for NFT technology, and will certainly help stamps gain wider adoption over time.
Finally, Bitcoin Stamps are more data efficient than Bitcoin Ordinals. Stamps do not need to be stored across all Bitcoin nodes. This feature makes it easy to create, store, and trade lightweight image files.
Are Bitcoin NFTs popular?
Casey Rodarmor created Bitcoin Ordinals in January 2023. His goal was to give Bitcoin enthusiasts a methodology for creating their own forms of non-fungible digital collectibles. Rodarmor, a programmer by trade, discovered a way to assign a numbering scheme to individual Satoshis, the lowest unit of measure for Bitcoin.
By doing so, users can treat each Satoshi as their own unique token and attach digital content to them in a process called “writing.” This content can be images, text or video. Initially, only people running full Bitcoin nodes could create Ordinals. The relatively high entry bar caused a mania in which demand for a small supply of ordinal bitcoin soared. Buyers believe that Bitcoin’s low digit engravings will one day be of historical interest. For example, a buyer paid 9.5 BTC for “Ordinal Punk” in February, for $215,000 at the time.
Builders like Mike in Space and Casey Rodarmor continue to iterate on Bitcoin more than 14 years after its invention. By creating Stamps and Ordinals, they are helping push the boundaries of what we can do with blockchain technology.
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