New ‘Bitcoin Stamps’ NFT collection has emerged as a Rival to Ordinals
The NFT space is buzzing with the emergence of a new protocol dubbed STAMPS (Secure Tradeable Art Maintained Securely) that presents an alternative to Ordinals. Unlike Ordinals, the STAMPS protocol offers a different approach to embedding image data into the Bitcoin blockchain, resulting in different tradeoffs compared to the inscription technology that gained widespread popularity earlier this year.
Bitcoin NFTs are just beginning
According to the creator of the STAMPS protocol, Mike In Space, Bitcoin Stamps represent the most permanent method of inscribing data on the Bitcoin blockchain. Unlike Ordinals, Bitcoin Stamps store image data directly within spendable transaction outputs, ensuring that the data is immutable and cannot be pruned from a full node, resulting in its perpetual preservation.
Despite the benefits of storing data across all Bitcoin nodes, there is a cost associated with this approach. Therefore, Mike In Space recommends using Stamps for lightweight files, such as 24×24 pixel, 8-color-depth PNG/GIF files, to compensate for the implicit storage costs. He also highlighted that the limitations of this “canvas” are ideal for pixel art, as demonstrated by CryptoPunks, which uses a native resolution of 24×24 pixels.
Over 8,300 inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain
The semi-fungible feature of Stamps is another benefit, as they can be issued as either “1 of 1” or “1 of many” digital assets. This characteristic is similar to the Ethereum ERC-1155 multi-token standard, which is one of the reasons for the rapid growth of Stamps. According to the Stamps website, over 8,300 Stamps have been minted since their launch on March 7, compared to fewer than 500 Ordinals during the same period after their launch.
Mike In Space revealed that the STAMPS protocol has already garnered interest from other services, including Rarity Garden’s Name Service. Additionally, he is currently in talks with Emblem and Hiro Wallet to facilitate protocol integrations, with the former enabling the trading of Stamps on OpenSea.
Advocates of Ordinals contend that they outperform NFTs on other platforms by embedding image data within the Bitcoin blockchain, whereas Ethereum NFTs often only serve as image pointers to centralized hosting services. However, it should be noted that Ordinals data can still be intentionally pruned by individual node operators, which restricts the immutability and decentralization advantages of these NFTs.
Bitcoin Stamps takes a more comprehensive approach by requiring nodes to store image data across numerous unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs). The NFT is then disseminated throughout the network using Counterparty, a protocol that introduced Bitcoin images in 2014 before the term “NFT” was coined.
Although Bitcoin Stamps is a newcomer to the NFT market, the popularity of Ordinals on Bitcoin continues to rise, with over 910,000 inscriptions recorded to date by Dune Analytics.