Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Bitcoin Burials?

Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Bitcoin Burials?

Guide to Bitcoin Ordinals Collections: What is Bitcoin Burials?

Bitcoin Ordinals

5 min

Jun 26, 2024

Bitcoin Burials is a 10k collection of Ordinals designed to look like pixelated headstones highlighting historical (and false) reports of Bitcoin’s untimely demise. Each headstone is engraved with a BTC logo and the date of an “obituary” for the cryptocurrency. The collection was founded by Crypto Ken, Cadel and Boobalator, who blended art and history together to lampoon skeptics. 

But these inscriptions have more to offer than humor alone. Buried beneath the surface, there’s some ingenious tech, passion for building within the Bitcoin space and true belief in the concept of decentralization that underpins the crypto ecosystem.

History of Bitcoin Burials

Every time the media or some public figure has declared that Bitcoin is over, they’ve fueled the fire that underpins Bitcoin Burials. It’s no secret that crypto has hit speed bumps over the last 15 years; but where naysayers saw doom, crypto believers have seen opportunity. The Burials founders are no exception. As one of the founders, Cadel, previously told Leather, “The impetus behind Burials was our desire to inscribe every time some clueless pundit, economist, politician, banker or the media at-large declared Bitcoin dead.”

The collection is full of historical references to roadblocks Bitcoin has overcome, cheekily honoring the token for its resilience. As Cadel stated, “what better way to immortalize” the bad punditry surrounding Bitcoin than to store it on the very chain that they were attacking? 

They were also inspired by the development of the Ordinals protocol, which they believe changed the game as “there are no smart contracts, no deployers, no proxy contracts, no Owner functions, no concept of “pauseability” [and] “metadata lock/freeze functions.”

Concept Behind Bitcoin Burials

Knowing the impetus behind the collection explains a lot about the artistic choices — pixel-art style tombstones with BTC logos. The collection shares the same artist as Bitcoin Frogs, a veteran of the crypto and Ordinals space. (Interestingly, that’s not the only commonality between Burials and Frogs. They were also both launched on Deezy.) But in addition to cosmetic decisions, the art also features 400 unique dates that have been inscribed to the headstones. These dates were curated by the crew of 99bitcoins who have kept careful track over the years of their archive of obituaries for Bitcoin from across the internet.

Many of the other dates feature callbacks to prominent events, but they have the added benefit of providing a goal for collectors. Maybe there’s a notable date in their life – or a particular memory they have associated with a date. This allows them to go hunting, so to speak, for a Burial featuring that date and adds an element of personalization to the collection.

Additionally, all Burials have a CC-BY license, which allows holders to retain ownership of their inscription and to use it as they see fit. This includes derivative works and commercial uses, allowing holders to truly retain the rights to their asset.

Development of Bitcoin Burials

Bitcoin Burials is notable for its tech, being the first 10K Ordinal collection to store metadata inside the image itself – on-chain metadata. They were able to do this by repurposing the old Web2 standard known as EXIF data and embedding it directly into the images themselves. While this may seem like a small thing to those without significant technical knowledge, it provides plenty of opportunities for holders. This embedding unlocks numerous use cases and creates prime opportunities for a truly trustless, decentralized system – in contrast to many NFT collections, which have data stored off-chain.

This crux comes down to trust. The Burials leadership felt that too many NFTs’ data could be manipulated or deleted at-will by their creators, and that only those collectors with advanced technical knowledge would be able to differentiate between those with and without such pitfalls. That’s not the case with Ordinals, where all the art is on-chain. 

As they said to Leather in March, “You don’t have to trust us in any way, shape or form. Heck, you don’t even need to rely on our continued existence. We can get hacked, we can stop paying bills for critical infrastructure or simply disappear – not that we ever would – and our collectors will still be able to fully enjoy the collection for as long as Bitcoin itself keeps ticking along.”

Projects Associated with Bitcoin Burials

Burials isn’t the only collection overseen by the founders of Bitcoin Burials. Earlier this year, they launched Boneys – a related 10K collection of “playful, mischievous skeletons, arising from the very criticisms that sought to bury Bitcoin.” Boneys can be paired with a holder’s Burial to incorporate rune mining, and “pairs with rare traits or where the Boney emerged from its specific corresponding Burial enhance mining multipliers.”

Boneys were offered as a free mint to Burials holders, one of many examples of the collection providing rewards to holders. They also do biweekly giveaways, snapshotting the holders and allocating entries  based on the number of PFPs held from the collection.

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