Article

About inscriptions and how they're shaping Web3's growth

What are inscriptions?

Inscriptions are a powerful new method of storing images, videos, audio, text, and code directly on a blockchain. Similar to NFTs, you can view inscriptions as digital artifacts. For example, if we were to examine ordinals, the metadata is encoded on a satoshi, the smallest unit of Bitcoin. Ordinals are a means of tracking individual satoshis, which you can attach data to the blockchain by inscribing them directly on chain.

Through 2023, inscriptions quickly became a hot topic in crypto, beginning with Bitcoin Ordinals. Now they've made their way onto other Layer 1 platforms, and the ecosystem continues to grow.

Why are they important? Crypto inscriptions empower users to create assets

Inscriptions open new possibilities for data storage, NFT creation, and innovative decentralized applications (DApps). They also unlock new ways for creators and collectors to build and own truly immutable and dynamic items. Inscriptions are a groundbreaking innovation because they bring on-chain programmability, decentralization, and security — all key advantages over their traditional NFT counterparts. The on-chain inscribing process gives crypto inscriptions independence from external servers and the control of a single entity.

This is a crucial step towards the democratization of token issuance, as individual users are now empowered to create and own unique digital assets on the blockchain. As a result, token communities have sprung up rapidly as participants benefit from the fair-mint processes that inscriptions enable.

The article below walks through some of the most common inscription standards, discusses the impact of inscription growth on the wider Web3 ecosystem, and highlights our role in making inscriptions more accessible to users through the OKX Marketplace and Web3 Wallet.

Inscriptions have evolved and become more sophisticated

Thanks to the crypto community's efforts, we're witnessing crypto inscriptions progress beyond static images and text messages. This can include:

  • Dynamic NFTs with on-chain evolution: Because of the programmable nature of crypto inscriptions, we might see artwork that shifts and morphs over time, responding to external factors or user interaction. This can range from artworks responding to real-time news catalysts to NFTs that change their appearance based on the geographic location of their user, and more.

  • Decentralized repository for identity and credentials: Inscriptions might turn into a decentralized repository for your identity and credentials. Etch your academic records, medical history, or even legal documents onto the blockchain, creating verifiably secure, user-controlled records that are permanently accessible. In a sense, crypto inscriptions could act as an always-available digital vault that gives you full control of your data and frees you from the inconvenience of data leaks and server crashes.

  • True community-powered governance: Inscriptions can become voting tokens for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), enabling holders to participate in decision-making processes and shape the future of digital communities. Unlike traditional governance tokens, which sometimes fall short due to manipulation by whales, the weight of votes can be dynamically determined by specific community contributions or nuanced power distribution instead of who has the most governance tokens.

Popular inscription standards

  • Bitcoin Ordinals: Allows each Satoshi, the smallest unit of Bitcoin, to be ranked, ordered, inscribed directly on the blockchain, and individually transferred. The inscribed data is unique and immutable and can be a data file, or an NFT, for example.

  • Ethscriptions: Leveraging Ethereum's smart contract capabilities and ability to pass on data during a transaction, Ethscriptions offer greater flexibility and support for complex data structures compared to Bitcoin's Ordinals.

  • SPL-20 inscriptions: Utilize Solana's blockchain and directly store art data on chain, eliminating dependence on external servers and potential censorship risks. This enhances security and immutability, and reduces gas fees. The tool further simplifies digital asset management by enabling on-chain metadata storage and even dynamic NFT features like evolving visuals or interactions.

  • Dogechain and DRC-20: As Dogechain's answer to ERC-20, DRC-20 standards go beyond fungible tokens and allow creators to attach unique information or attributes to each token, opening doors for creative NFTs and interactive applications. DRC-20 tokens are created by inscribing a fraction of Dogecoin, called a Shibe, with customized metadata that defines the token's properties and functions.

The next step: building unified inscriptions infrastructure

With the flurry of different protocols, chains, and use-cases, users who want to create and trade inscriptions face a fragmented landscape. It's therefore essential to build platforms bridging different protocols together and aggregating liquidity, so everyone can take part in the movement and enjoy a simple and efficient inscriptions experience.

That's why we've built the Inscriptions Marketplace.

As the largest inscriptions marketplace where you can buy, sell, and inscribe with no fees, we've built it as the one-stop shop for all things inscriptions. You'll no longer need to visit multiple marketplaces to source your preferred inscription standards. With them all in one place, you can discover the most trending inscriptions without having to fret over excessive trading fees and inscribing charges.

And if you want to stay in the inscriptions world on the go, check out OKX Wallet Inscription Center, the easiest mobile solution to inscribe and trade on multiple chains and standards. No need to juggle between multiple wallets to handle different inscription standards anymore — the OKX Wallet supports more than 20 standards. From Doginals to Atomicals and Ordinals, you'll be able to find all the popular inscription protocols in one convenient wallet.

Disclaimer
This article may cover content on products that are not available in your region. It is provided for general informational purposes only, no responsibility or liability is accepted for any errors of fact or omission expressed herein. It represents the personal views of the author(s) and it does not represent the views of OKX TR. It is not intended to provide advice of any kind, including but not limited to: (i) investment advice or an investment recommendation; (ii) an offer or solicitation to buy, sell, or hold digital assets, or (iii) financial, accounting, legal, or tax advice. Digital asset holdings, including stablecoins and NFTs, involve a high degree of risk, can fluctuate greatly, and can even become worthless. You should carefully consider whether trading or holding digital assets is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. Please consult your legal/tax/investment professional for questions about your specific circumstances.
© 2024 OKX TR. This article may be reproduced or distributed in its entirety, or excerpts of 100 words or less of this article may be used, provided such use is non-commercial. Any reproduction or distribution of the entire article must also prominently state:"This article is © 2024 OKX TR and is used with permission." Permitted excerpts must cite to the name of the article and include attribution, for example "Article Name, [author name if applicable], © 2024 OKX TR." No derivative works or other uses of this article are permitted.
Expand