New Ordinals protocol feature could revolutionize Bitcoin NFTs
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(Kitco News) – The Ordinals protocol, which allows inscriptions to be placed on individual satoshi units of Bitcoin – effectively creating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Bitcoin blockchain – has just introduced a new method to overcome Bitcoin’s 4 MB per block size limit.
The new method, called recursive inscriptions, allows Ordinals inscriptions to refer to the contents of another inscription, allowing data to be stored on Bitcoin more efficiently and enabling larger NFT file sizes
“Inscriptions can now use a special “/-/content/:inscription_id” syntax to request the content of other inscriptions. so pseudonymous developer Leonidas, who builds the Ord.io marketplace for inscriptions. “This simple change unlocks many powerful use cases.”
Leonidas gave the example of entering 10,000 JPEG files for a PFP collection, which would be very expensive to do individually.
“You can type in the 200 properties from the collection and then create 10,000 more inscriptions that each use a small amount of code to request properties and programmatically render the image,” he said. “The result is the same. The art is just stored on-chain in a much more efficient way which could have saved over a million dollars in transaction fees in the case of Bitcoin Apes.”
Leonidas described how the process has already been used by OnChainMonkey to write packets of code that anyone can call.
“They wrote the p5.js and Three.js npm packages fully in the chain and then used recursion to call those packages from the inscriptions in their upcoming Dimensions releases, which allowed them to create beautiful 3D art in under 1KB ,” he said. “Now that these packages are inscribed in Bitcoin, they’re a public good for anyone to use to make cool generative art cheaply. And the best part is, anyone can do this.”
Looking to the future, Leonidas entertained the idea of multiple developers uploading packages of code to create a large repository that other developers can build upon.
“This would unlock powerful use cases that could never be done in less than 4MB,” he said. “After all, the most complex pieces of software are just a bunch of code compiled together. Now it becomes possible to put a complex 3D video game completely on-chain on Bitcoin. The sky’s the limit.”
“Bitcoin is essentially getting an internal internet where each file can request data from the other files on Bitcoin. It’s unclear yet exactly how people will use this, but it’s undoubtedly an important moment in the history of Bitcoin,” Leonidas concluded.
According to Yehudah Petscher, NFT strategist at Forkast Labs, the release of recursive inscriptions “means that the 4MB size limit for Bitcoin NFTs is effectively gone. We could see on-chain video games, applications, generative art, and probably Bitcoin’s version of smart contracts. This is a pretty big deal, and another milestone in Bitcoin’s roadmap to one day potentially flipping the Ethereum NFT ecosystem.”
Ordinals have emerged as the biggest development for the Bitcoin network in years, as they bring a new use case to the blockchain and help capture some of the momentum of NFTs for the Bitcoin community.
Data provided by Dune Analytics shows that to date, nearly 11.7 million inscriptions have been made, costing approximately 1,703 BTC ($44.13 million) in fees.
While many in the community have welcomed this development, others have lamented the increase in transaction costs that has resulted from the higher traffic levels on the network. Although transaction costs have decreased in recent weeks after the initial excitement for Ordinals began to die down, this latest update could potentially lead to a resurgence of Ordinals activity as developers explore all that recursive inscriptions have to offer.
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