The Bitcoin Web3 Starter Kit
How to capitulate and get set up
Bitcoin inscriptions keep hanging around my timeline, with their orange backgrounds and marathon Twitter Spaces.
Ordinals, BRC-20 “tokens,” and .sats names are becoming difficult to ignore, as more notable figures in the space get more curious about them and their use cases. Transaction volumes are increasing, with Bitcoin taking the #2 NFT 30-day volume spot behind Ethereum.
Participating hasn’t always been easy. It can be time-consuming to learn what’s up with these and how to get set up to buy. But good news: I learned it for you! 💃
Set yourself up for some Bitcoin-y web3 fun today with a few steps below.
Note: Like many other digital assets, these can be highly speculative and risky. Please use caution when transacting.
1. GET A WALLET
Just like your beloved Metamask or Phantom, first, you’ll need a web-based wallet— Electrum and Sparrow are so three months ago.
Here are the most up-to-date options for wallets that can support Ordinals, BRC-20, .sats names and more. Almost all of them also allow you to inscribe without a Bitcoin node. I have one of each of these because I wanted to try them all 😄
You’ll get a seed phrase of a string of words when you sign up for one. Don’t lose or share this seed phrase or else you won’t be able to recover your wallet and its contents!
Funding your wallet with BTC can be done in multiple ways, including from Coinbase directly. But beware of the next point…
2. YOU GOTTA KEEP ‘EM SEPARATED 🧍 🧍
Unlike Ethereum where you can co-mingle NFTs and ETH, you’ll need one address for your BTC, and another for your Ordinals.
One is a normal BTC address, the other is called a Taproot address. Taproot is the protocol that Ordinals was born from.
If you mix the two, you risk losing your BTC, your Ordinals, or both. Why? A regular BTC wallet doesn’t have “coin control,” meaning it may accidentally yeet your poor inscription into the darkness, thinking it’s just a regular piece of a Bitcoin. That’s why you need a Taproot address starting with bc1p.
When new Ordinals projects are releasing allowlist info, they’ll normally ask for both of these addresses. Know the difference!
Hiro Wallet screenshot showing the different address types. Don’t ask about a stamp or stacks yet lol
3. KNOW YOUR PROTOCOLS
Everything inscribed on Bitcoin is inscribed in order on the blockchain, hence the word Ordinals. Anyone can see a realtime running list of everything being inscribed: images, video, text, etc. (but beware, you may see something bad!).
In Ethereum, there are various types of NFTs with different use cases. The Bitcoin Ordinals community has been experimenting with developing their own, based on the same naming convention. Here are a few, but more are popping up daily (for real I can’t keep up).
BRC-20: This super-popular experiment, which aims to create fungible tokens using Ordinals, is what has led to a skyrocketing number of inscriptions. Even though the creator has said they are “worthless,” the market cap has soared past $1 billion, and “tokens” like $OXBT have seen 100x.
For a current list of BRC-20 and their market caps, check here.
For a step-by-step on how to mint BRC-20s on Unisat (friggen degen), check here.
FYI: Anybody can inscribe BRC-20 tokens (up to their max supply) as a JSON text file, so a majority will probably be worthless. The exchanges are done over-the-counter, and liquidity is hard to come by.
BRC-721: These are more flexible than Ordinals, allowing NFTs to have multiple attributes instead of one. It also adds support for collections; Ordinals currently do not provide a standard way to combine items into collections.
BRC-721E: This lets you burn ERC-721 Ethereum NFTs and inscribe them to Ordinals. Seems dramatic but ok 😄
BRC-1155: The idea behind this is to reduce gas for inscribing multiple images by… replacing them with code. Then, a front-end official website with the indexer of BRC-1155 standard will be built for users to see their image inscriptions directly.
Top 5 BRC-20 by Market Cap
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4. EXPLORE THE MARKET
Yes, we’ve graduated from the Google Docs (for the most part). There are several marketplaces where you can buy and sell Ordinal NFTs, .sats names and BRC-20s. These include (in order of market share by volume):
While you can check any of these individually, my favorite aggregator to check Bitcoin NFT floor prices and data has been Best In Slot.
When you purchase a Bitcoin Ordinal NFT, marketplaces use something called a PSBT — a Partially Signed Bitcoin Transaction — to facilitate the trustless trade. There are no smart contracts, no spending gas and failing to mint, and no giving permission to anything. There is also no way to enforce royalties.
Some think that lower inscription numbers matter; others don’t. When it comes to spending your hard-earned BTC, my not-financial-advice is to browse collections and check out their communities on Discord and/or Twitter. If the community isn’t enthusiastic and active, look elsewhere.
5. INSCRIBE A .SATS NAME FOR FUNSIES (it’s like $4)
A .sats name is a text file you inscribe, with similar use cases to ENS names. It’s a way to simplify your BTC wallet address from a string of numbers to something like corporatetrash.sats. 02.sats recently sold on the secondary market for $14K, the highest one so far.
Here’s how you do it:
Go to https://unisat.io/inscribe and connect a wallet with ~$5 of BTC in it
Click .sats names and type in your preferred name(s)
If someone else has already inscribed it first, you’ll see a red box. If not, you’ll see a green box.
Click submit and pay invoice. It gives you up to 1 hour to pay.
Many wallets and marketplaces are still implementing .sats names, so stay tuned to their official Twitter for updates.
6. JOIN THE COMMUNITY
The best place to start and find other collectors (and upcoming collections) is to join some of the Discord servers for the various marketplaces or wallets that I listed above.
You can also join some Twitter spaces like The Ordinal Show and start to follow people who speak on the spaces.
There are a couple of communities that celebrate inscription numbers lower than 1k, 10k, and 100k. These are some of the most passionate and active communities, so check them out and verify if you have ownership of an inscription in those ranges.
Now you have no excuse to not at least be minorly curious about NFTs on Bitcorn. 🌽
They may be squarely in their animal PFP phase right now, but people are paying attention to where this all goes, on the biggest blockchain there is.
The top two BRC-20 tokens and the top two Ordinal collections were all free mints. So don’t lose the plot and FOMO in. Having a wallet already set up will prepare you for any interesting opportunity that comes your way.
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