Bitcoin's Stamp Collection

Bitcoin Ordinals have reignited innovation and excitement for using Bitcoin for more than value transfers. Alongside Ordinals, a new method for storing data on Bitcoin has become popular: Stamps. Created by Mike In Space, Stamps are a controversial new addition to Bitcoin.

The big difference between Ordinals and Stamps is that Ordinals store data in the transaction witness field. At the same time, Stamps encode images into a Base64 string and place it in the transactions description key. After storing the string, Stamps then uses Counterparty to broadcast the transaction. Due to the length of the string, Counterparty defaults to P2SH, which splits the data into discrete outputs and makes each output a multisig UTXO. As a multisig UTXO, nodes are forced to store these transactions, and the data within is unprunable. The Base64 string can then be decoded using any Base64 decoder to show the image or gif.

Stamps’ methods for storing data on Bitcoin mean that Stamps have different features than Ordinals. The first is that they are tiny: 24×24 pixels, with only an 8-color depth. Stamps are kept small because storing data this way on Bitcoin is far more expensive than Ordinals, as Ordinals receive the Witness discount. The cost of creating Stamps is the second significant difference between them and Ordinal inscriptions. 

Like all new developments to Bitcoin, Stamps have ignited a fierce debate among the community. Some see them as graffiti, some are pleased that at least they don’t get a discount, and some see them as terrible tech. Meanwhile, however, others are already fervently minting Stamps. There are already +6K in less than a week of being live.

Like Ordinals, Stamps are controversial. They add a whole new range of fun possibilities for Bitcoin, but at the cost of making the chain more expensive. We are excited to see what Stamps brings to Bitcoin, and as always, we are pleased to see more vectors of fee revenue for the chain. But it does remain to be seen if Stamps surpass Ordinals in popularity or if they become niche. 

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