NFTs are making a strong comeback, but this time on the Bitcoin blockchain. These new non-fungible tokens are called Bitcoin Ordinals, and they’re all the rage in the Web3 space.
Even Yuga Labs, the creator of the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs and owners of both CryptoPunks and Meebits launched another NFT collection using the Ordinals Protocol. So, how do you buy Bitcoin Ordinals?
How to Buy Bitcoin Ordinals
There are several online marketplaces where you can buy and sell ordinal NFTs. Most of these marketplaces differ from other popular NFT marketplaces, as they are native to the Bitcoin blockchain.
That said, here’s a complete guide to buying your first Bitcoin Ordinal.
1. Set up an Ordinal-Compatible Wallet
Because Ordinals are created on the Bitcoin blockchain, you’ll need to set up a wallet that’s compatible with both BTC crypto and Ordinals.
There are numerous Ordinal-compatible wallets to choose from including:
- Ordinals Wallet
- MetaMask (with Generative)
- Hiro Wallet
Once you’ve got your wallet set up, you’ll need to transfer BTC to it from your exchange of choice. Coinbase is the most trusted crypto exchange where you can easily buy BTC and send it to your wallet.
2. Choose an Ordinals Marketplace
Next, you’ll need to decide which marketplace you want to purchase your Ordinals from. Some of the most popular marketplaces include:
Ordswap was the first trustless Ordinals marketplace to launch. As a result, they are one of the top marketplaces to buy Ordinals.
Ordinals Wallet isn’t just a wallet, the marketplace is the most user-friendly platform available. If you’re a beginner, I can’t recommend OW enough.
Ordinals Market aims to be the premier destination for buying and selling Bitcoin Ordinals. In collaboration with Emblem Vault, OM enables users to buy Ordinals on the Ethereum blockchain using ETH along with popular wallets like Metamask, Coinbase Wallet, and more.
Ordina is a marketplace aggregator. That’s right, using Oridna you’ll find the best deals across the entire Bitcoin blockchain all on one platform.
Gamma is a marketplace and inscription platform that offers users an easy-to-navigate website and was one of the first prominent Ordinals marketplaces to exist.
Ordinals Marketplace (ORDX) is a community-driven platform that is exclusively dedicated to buying and selling Ordinal Digital Artifacts and operates using escrow for trading.
Many of these marketplaces will offer the same NFTs. However, if you’re searching for the best deal you might want to check several of them.
3. Connect Your Wallet to the Marketplace
To begin buying Ordinals you’ll need to connect your wallet to the platform. This is so your wallet can interact with the platform and so you can pay for your NFT and receive it.
Most marketplaces have a wallet icon or connect button at the top of the page. All you need to do is tap that button and follow the instructions on-screen to connect your wallet.
4. Browse for Your Favorite Ordinal
There are hundreds of thousands of Ordinals to choose from, so you’ll have to browse for your favorite one. Unlike NFTs on Ethereum which strongly focus on both art and utility, Bitcoin NFTs are mainly about the art itself.
This is because Bitcoin is not as capable as Ethereum when it comes to smart contracts. Hence, Ordinals are limited when it comes to actual functionality.
So when window shopping for your Ordinal, keep in mind the creator of the inscription will ultimately determine its value along with how low of inscription number it is.
Anything sub 10,000 is considered extremely desirable. Sub-50,000 is considered the next benchmark, followed by sub-100,000 inscriptions.
If you’re looking to buy an Ordinal with an inscription number higher than 100,000, make sure to do your research as there are many copies of older inscriptions.
5. Place a Bid or Buy Now
Once you find an Ordinal that you like, you can either place a bid or buy it for the listing price. If you buy it for the listing price, you can almost guarantee it’s yours. Place a bid and you might not win or the seller could reject your offer, so keep this in mind.
Furthermore, you are subject to marketplace fees and blockchain transaction fees. Generally, Ordinal marketplaces charge between 2-5% on top of the purchase price. That’s not including the fee you have to pay to miners on the blockchain which can range from $1 to over $5.
Please note that it can take over ten minutes to receive your Bitcoin NFT in your wallet after you buy it.
If you are minting an Ordinal from a newly released collection, the time it will take to appear in your wallet depends on the transaction speed you choose (Economy, Normal, Higher, or Custom).
If you choose “Economy” expect it to take at least 24 hours, “Normal” several hours, and “Higher” within one hour.
Notably, when buying an Ordinal you will be required to enter your Ordinal address. Some wallets like Xverse have separate addresses for BTC, STX, and Ordinals. So, when copying your address, double-check you’re using the Ordinals address.
If you try to send an Ordinal to your BTC or STX address, you won’t receive your Ordinal and you will lose any money you paid.
Nonetheless, wallets like Metamask (when used with Generative) have a single address you use to send and receive both BTC and Ordinals.
6. Woohoo! You Now Own a Bitcoin Ordinal NFT
Bam! You just bought your first Bitcoin Ordinal NFT. To ensure it remains secure in your wallet, make sure you know how to keep your wallet safe.
Here are some general rules to ensure your wallet and the assets within remain safe:
- Never share your wallet’s secret phrase.
- Always disconnect your wallet from the platforms you use.
- Don’t click on random links sent to you.
- Only transact on trustworthy marketplaces such as the ones mentioned above.
If you decide to use Metamask to buy and store your Ordinals, then I highly suggest using it in conjunction with a hardware wallet as this is the safest storage option for NFTs.
What Is an Ordinal NFT?
In plain terms, an Ordinal is a satoshi with a media file attached to it that is inscribed directly onto the Bitcoin blockchain. A satoshi (sat) is the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin. One Bitcoin is made up of 100,000,000 sats.
According to the creator of the Ordinals Protocol, Casey Rodarmor, the protocol enables us to view satoshis as having their own identities which makes them non-fungible. Before the protocol, satoshis were fungible because they all had the same value. Now that you can inscribe media onto a satoshi, there’s an added layer of value.
Bitcoin Ordinals vs Ethereum NFTs
The main difference is that an Ordinal’s media and data are both stored completely on-chain. This means Ordinals are completely decentralized and immutable. Most Ethereum NFTs are only partially on-chain. The token data is stored on-chain, but the media is stored in a file system.
Because many NFTs rely on off-chain data, Ordinals are sometimes referred to as digital artifacts, not NFTs. As long as the Bitcoin blockchain exists, Ordinals will exist.
But if a file system utilized by Ethereum NFTs failed to exist, then that media file would seize to exist as well. That won’t happen with Ordinals.
Why Buy Bitcoin Ordinals?
The general consensus is that Bitcoin Ordinals live on the blockchain indefinitely, meaning once inscribed it’s permanent. That includes the media. This is different than Ethereum where only certain data is stored on the blockchain, while the media itself is stored on a decentralized file system separate from Ethereum.
Plus, Bitcoin is the king of blockchains. Not only was it the first modern blockchain, but it remains the most decentralized and secure network.
Prior to the Ordinals protocol, Bitcoin was mainly recognized as a currency-only blockchain. Now that Odinals exist, it has gained a whole new layer of value derived from the ability to store media files directly on-chain. It’s both a creator’s and collector’s dream come true.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Ordinal
Not all marketplaces operate the same. Not only do the fees differ from one another, but the user interface varies depending on the platform you choose. Hence, you should consider using a platform that has a friendly UI, like Ordinals Wallet, even if it costs a bit extra.
Moreover, it’s crucial to consider the security each marketplace offers. For example, although I really enjoy Ordswap, their key management occurs in the browser which is just bad practice and risky, to say the least.
Always do some quick research before transacting on a marketplace to ensure there haven’t been any security breaches, hacks, scams, or other issues that could negatively affect you.
I recommend doing a quick Google search and checking the marketplace’s social media channels to find out if there have been any recent issues.
Lastly, understand why you’re buying an Ordinal in the first place. Since Ordinals aren’t known for their utility, you’ll likely find yourself searching for ones that are considered rare, culturally relevant, or simply something you enjoy looking at.
The Future of Ordinals
Ordinals will likely remain relevant for years to come. You can expect artists and other creators to utilize the Ordinals protocol to ensure their creations live on forever. Certain NFT projects that were originally created on Ethereum are even bringing their collections to Bitcoin due to its immutability and permanence.
But, since Ordinals lack smart contract capabilities, at least for now, it’s possible that users will begin seeking a way to implement smart contracts using layer 2 technology or an additional protocol.
If Bitcoin continues to lack in the smart contract department, creators will stick to blockchains like Ethereum and Solana since they’re more capable. Nevertheless, as the Ordinals ecosystem continues to grow I wouldn’t be surprised if we continued to see massive innovation on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I purchase a Bitcoin ordinal?
To buy a Bitcoin Ordinal you need to set up an Ordinal-compatible wallet like Xverse and visit an Ordinal marketplace such as Ordswap. You will also need cryptocurrency to start buying Ordinals.
How much does it cost to buy an Ordinal NFT?
The price to buy an Ordinal ranges from $1 to over $10,000 for early inscription numbers. Many projects are in the $300 to $800 range. However, the cost could be even higher if you’re looking at sub-10k inscription numbers.
How do I know which Oridnal to buy?
First, find an Ordinal that fits your goals. Then verify the creator is legit. Next, confirm it’s within your budget. Finally, understand the risk of market volatility before buying.