May 9, 2023 • 10 Min Read

What are Ordinals?

Ordinals, commonly called “Bitcoin NFTs,” have been one of the most exciting developments in the Bitcoin ecosystem this year. Technically, Ordinals are a way of attaching or “inscribing” data to individual sats or satoshis (the smallest unit of a Bitcoin at 1/100,000,000) on the Bitcoin blockchain. The term “Ordinal” is derived from Ordinal Theory, a recently developed system for numbering sats in the order they are mined. Sats from Bitcoin’s history hold some significance (for example, the sat associated with the genesis block) and are considered more valuable. This numbering system from Ordinal Theory gives the ordinals their “non-fungible” property necessary to create NFTs or Non-Fungible-Tokens, distinguishing each sat from one another.

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* The ranking system of Ordinals defines a ‘cycle’ as the period between conjunctions when a halving and difficulty adjustment coincide. This happens every six halvings and the first will occur in 2032. 

History of Ordinals

Building on the Bitcoin blockchain emerged long before Ordinals, dating back to 2012 with an open-source project called ‘Colored Coins.’ This project was initially designed to be a currency and introduced a way of attaching real-world asset...

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