Bitcoin Stamps’ NFTs are quickly gaining popularity in the world of cryptocurrency. The new STAMPS (Secure Tradable Art Maintained Securely) protocol is proposing a different method of embedding image data into the Bitcoin blockchain, making different tradeoffs compared to the inscription technology that exploded in popularity earlier this year. The creator of the new protocol claims it is the “most permanent” means of inscribing data on the Bitcoin blockchain, preserving data immutably forever.
Bitcoin Stamps have a unique way of storing image data directly within spendable transaction outputs, making the data preserved in such a manner that is impossible to prune from a full node. This allows the data to be preserved immutably forever, giving it an edge over other protocols. The Stamps creator, Mike In Space, is already in discussions with Emblem and Hiro Wallet to arrange protocol integrations, which will allow users to buy and sell Stamps on OpenSea.
While Ordinals grew in popularity earlier this year, Bitcoin Stamps are now giving them a run for their money. Ordinals, a protocol that enables content like art and text to be inscribed on individual satoshis, the smallest unit of measure that Bitcoin can be divided into, initially established Bitcoin as an emerging frontier for trading digital collectibles. Ethereum NFTs, on the other hand, are usually just image pointers to centralized hosting services, which can be changed by anyone with control of the image URL.
The advantage that Bitcoin Stamps have over Ordinals is that they are preserved immutably forever, making them superior to NFTs on other platforms. Ordinals data can be pruned by choice by individual node runners, limiting the immutability and decentralization benefits of such NFTs. Bitcoin Stamps go all the way, forcing nodes to store their image data across many different unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs).
The NFT is then broadcast across the network using Counterparty—an old protocol that ushered in Bitcoin images back in 2014 before the term “NFT” even existed. The Stamps website shows that over 8,300 Stamps have been minted since their launch on March 7, compared to under 500 Ordinals within the same time period after their launch.
While the number of Ordinals on Bitcoin continues to grow, now standing at over 910,000 inscriptions to date, major brands including Bored Ape Yacht Club and Bugatti have already adopted the tech. The Stamps creator suggests using Stamps for lightweight “24×24 pixel, 8-color-depth PNG or GIF” files to make up for their implicit storage costs. The constraints of this “canvas” are ideal for pixel art. In particular, the CryptoPunks use a native resolution of 24×24 pixels.
Stamps come with the benefit of being “semi-fungible” and can be issued as “1 of 1” or “1 of many” digital assets. Trevor.btc on Twitter, host of The Ordinals Show, recognized this feature as similar to the Ethereum ERC-1155 multi-token standard, and as a reason for their remarkably fast growth.
The emergence of Bitcoin Stamps has brought about a new wave of NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain. They have become the go-to option for people who want to store data immutably forever, and their integration with Emblem and Hiro Wallet is a clear indication that they are here to stay. The Bitcoin community continues to debate the merits of putting JPEGs on the blockchain, but with the success of Ordinals and Bitcoin Stamps, it is clear that this debate is far from over.