Bitcoin NFTs are continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. Now, a new type of NFT called “Stamps” have taken the Bitcoin blockchain by storm this week. So, what do we know about Stamps?
What are Bitcoin Stamps?
The name Stamps stands for “Secure Tradeable Art Maintained Securely”. Users can use Stamps to embed image data on the Bitcoin blockchain. Since their creation in March, users have created over 10,000 new NFTs using Bitcoin Stamps. By comparison, Bitcoin Ordinals barely cracked 2,000 items issued in their first month of existence.
Notable Bitcoin personality “Mike in Space” created Stamps. He made the new technology to offer an alternative to inscribing Ordinals. Stamps offer many advantages to Ordinal inscriptions.
What are the Advantages of Stamps as Bitcoin NFTs?
The primary advantage of Stamps is improved decentralization and immutability. Individual node runners can prune data from Ordinal NFTs, thereby potentially creating different versions of the same NFT. So, at a large enough scale, one entity with enough node runners could theoretically challenge the consensus on what the correct data of any given Ordinal inscription should be. In contrast, Stamps store images directly in transaction outputs, preventing node runners from manually changing data. This difference ensures that any NFTs created using Stamps will be immutable forever.
Mike in Space writes, “Storing “Art on the Blockchain” as a method of achieving permanence is often a misnomer in the NFT world. Most NFTs are merely image pointers to centralized hosting or stored on-chain in prunable witness data. We propose a method of embedding base64-formatted image data using transaction outputs in a novel fashion….By doing so, the data is preserved in such a manner that is impossible to prune from a fullnode, preserving that data immutably 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 up many new use cases for NFT technology, and will assuredly help Stamps gain wider adoption over time.
Finally, Bitcoin Stamps are also more data-efficient than Bitcoin Ordinals. Stamps do not need to be stored across all Bitcoin nodes. This feature makes creating, storing, and trading lightweight image files easier.
Are Bitcoin NFTs popular?
Casey Rodarmor created Bitcoin Ordinals in January 2023. His goal was to give Bitcoin fans a methodology to create their own form of non-fungible digital collectibles. Rodarmor, a programmer by trade, figured out a way to assign a numbering scheme to individual Satoshis, the lowest unit of measurement for Bitcoin.
By doing so, users could treat each Satoshi as its own unique token and attach digital content to them in a process called “inscribing”. This content could be pictures, text, or video. At first, only people running full Bitcoin nodes could create Ordinals. This relatively high bar of entry caused a mania in which demand spiked for a small supply of Bitcoin Ordinals. Buyers believe that low-number inscriptions on Bitcoin will be historically-significant one day. For example, one buyer paid 9.5 BTC for an “Ordinal Punk” in February, good 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. Therefore, by building Stamps and Ordinals, they are helping to push the limits of what we can do with blockchain technology.