Crypto wallets played a huge part in the Ordinals inscriptions boom
Aug 31, 2023
Since its launch in early 2023, the Ordinals protocol has only continued to evolve into a much bigger piece of the Bitcoin equation. In July alone, Ordinals made up 45 percent of all transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain, with projections that Bitcoin Ordinal inscriptions could become a $5 billion market by 2025.
That's partly thanks to the explosion of Bitcoin wallets that now offer support for Ordinals. Today, a good number of wallets are bringing Ordinal functionality to a far wider user base, helping users navigate Ordinal NFTs and giving them access to one of the most exciting developments on Bitcoin.
Wallets have traditionally been the gateway into Web3. Now, they're keeping users at the forefront of everything Ordinals have to offer.
What are Bitcoin Ordinals?
In mathematics, ‘ordinals’ is a concept that describes the ranking order of objects or sets. Similarly in Bitcoin, Ordinals are a numbering scheme for the smallest unit of Bitcoin – satoshis (sats, for short). It enables the tracking and transfer of individual sats, which are numbered in the order that they are mined.
But what catapulted Ordinals into the spotlight was the ability for Bitcoin users to inscribe digital artifacts directly onto the Bitcoin blockchain. Ordinals, through the use of both Segregated Witness (SegWit) and Taproot upgrades, essentially allows users to inscribe Bitcoin satoshis with metadata, which provides added context or record as an output. The output leads to the creation of a digital artifact, which is similar to an NFT. But unlike NFTs, digital artifacts are completely immutable, permissionless and on-chain.
These are known as inscriptions, and they can refer to many different types of content, be it images, pieces of text, videos, music or another medium entirely. Inscriptions take the form of a Bitcoin transaction, which means that they are inscribed directly on-chain.
The evolution of inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain
Since its launch in early 2023, the Ordinals protocol has inspired additional developments that have not only built upon the technology introduced by Bitcoin Ordinals, but that have brought Ordinal inscriptions to an even bigger audience.
BRC-20, for example, is a relatively new token standard that allows users to deploy, mint and transfer BRC-20 tokens using the parameters inscribed in an Ordinal. Another token standard, BRC-721E, takes this even further and allows users to bridge traditional Ethereum NFTs to the Bitcoin network using Ordinal inscription metadata.
The latest addition to a growing list of Ordinals-inspired breakthroughs is the recursive inscription, which has opened up an entirely new universe of opportunities. Ordinal inscriptions had been capped at 4MB, which limited the kind of media that could realistically be created using inscription technology. Recursive inscriptions allow users to extract existing inscription data and combine it with new data. Through this, developers can run software programs on-chain by linking these sets of data through a series of calls. This effectively allows users to break free of the strict 4MB size limit, opening new possibilities for 3D art, video, and more.
How Ordinals wallets came to be
Several quality Bitcoin wallets now offer Ordinals support with features designed specifically for users to mint, manage, and transact with inscriptions. They provide users with an easy, painless way to experience Ordinals with tools they’re already familiar with.
In fact, many of the Bitcoin Ordinals services offered by wallets have become quite sophisticated in a short amount of time. Within weeks of the protocol's mainnet launch, Web3 wallets in the Bitcoin ecosystem like Leather, UniSat and Xverse were already integrating features so that users could interact with this new type of digital asset. Entirely new wallets, such as Ordinals Wallet, were also created to help users inscribe Ordinals without having to run a full Bitcoin node.
Given that wallets are many users' first touchpoint with different blockchain ecosystems, the initiative taken by wallets to get ahead of the Ordinals trend not only gave their existing users access to entire Ordinal NFT collections, but also exposed new users to this emerging technology.
And it wasn't just Bitcoin wallets either – major Web3 wallet apps on other blockchains also rolled out Ordinals support to give non-Bitcoin users the chance to witness how inscriptions on Bitcoin worked. Naturally, this led to a revival in interest around Bitcoin NFTs and Ordinals marketplaces popped up and wallets served their gateway.
Nowadays, inscribing your own Ordinal NFT is as simple as uploading media to a wallet, sending a transaction to your Ordinals address, and seeing the resulting artifact pop up in your collection.
Leather: a Bitcoin wallet with Ordinals support
Leather was one of the earliest Bitcoin Web3 wallets to offer Ordinals support when it launched its Bitcoin Ordinals service testnet in February 2023. Since then, it has grown to become one of the foremost Bitcoin wallets for inscriptions.
Currently, Leather users can connect their wallet to Gamma Marketplace, Magic Eden, UniSat, OpenOrdex, Ordinals Wallet, Ordinals Market, Ord.io and OrdX to inscribe their own Ordinals and stay on top of the latest inscription trends. This includes giving users access to Ordinals-inspired developments like BRC-20 tokens (Leather offers BRC-20 support for users) and recursive inscriptions (Leather users enjoyed early access to "OCM Dimensions," for example) so that they can explore the next frontier of innovations built directly on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Naturally, users looking to build their own Ordinals collection need to be able to store and manage their inscriptions. Leather browser extension users can deposit and secure inscriptions in their wallet while taking advantage of a “Collectibles” section that aggregates their Ordinals in one place.
By clicking on an Ordinal inscription stored in their wallet, users will then be taken to a tab with details about the specific inscription, including the sat number ascribed and the owner’s Bitcoin address (which should be their Bitcoin wallet address).
From there, users can send and receive inscriptions between other Leather accounts, be it their own or other users’. Additionally, Leather has proven itself to be dependable when users require troubleshooting with many Ordinals-related functions. For instance, users can retrieve their uninscribed BTC from Taproot addresses should the need arise and follow a set of best practices to ensure that their Ordinals are stored safely.
The depth of support that Leather offers around Stacks-based NFTs and Ordinal inscriptions has cemented Leather as one of the best Bitcoin Ordinals wallets on the market, catering to Bitcoin NFT enthusiasts and new users who want to explore this relatively new way to interact with the Bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin Ordinals wallets and the future of Ordinal inscriptions
The Ordinals market continues to grow, and so does its support from developers and creators. Recent developments like recursive inscriptions have radically altered the definition of what is possible for the future of this technology, and the Ordinals-focused wallet boom has massively expanded its reach.
As more of these Bitcoin Ordinals wallets come online and protocols like BRC-20 and BRC-721E grow and evolve, more users will have the opportunity to explore the world of Ordinals and create vibrant, one-of-a-kind digital artifacts that they can transport through time and space, on the Bitcoin network and beyond.
It’s a very exciting time for Bitcoin with Ordinals still leading the charge, and Leather is making sure that users are first in line for any new milestones that are yet to come.