Yuga Labs, the company that owns such popular NFT collections as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, will launch a new NFT collection on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Most NFTs, and all of Yuga Labs’s previous collections, are minted, stored, traded, and bought on the Ethereum blockchain. Until recently, the Bitcoin blockchain wasn’t used to make NFTs because Bitcoin had little infrastructure to support smart contracts, which essentially function as a digital receipt that assigns and tracks ownership of a digital artwork.
Since 2014, outside developers have been trying to build out this gap and have been moderately successful. But the cost of pushing transactions on Bitcoin, the culture of the Bitcoin community, and the ease of use of creating tokens and nonfungible tokens on blockchains like Ethereum, Solana, and Tezos has pushed NFTs made on Bitcoin to the side.
[Read an ARTnews refresher on how NFTs work.]
Now, however, Yuga Labs is launching its new collection, TwelveFold, on Bitcoin, which may signal that times are changing, since the company is currently one of the biggest players in the NFT game.
TwelveFold is a generative 300-piece collection. In a blog post, Greg Solano, a cofounder of Yuga Labs, described it as a collection that “explores the relationship between time, mathematics, and variability.” Each of the 300 pieces is built around a 12 by 12 grid. Each of the 144 points on the grid display a shiny ball of color in differing sizes, almost like a glob of paint.
TwelveFold uses a new method of creating NFTs on Bitcoin. Instead of relying on smart contracts to create tokens and NFTs, a developer named Casey Rodarmor created “Ordinals” or “Ordinal Inscriptions.” These digital assets are “inscribed” on a satoshi, the smallest unit of Bitcoin possible (1/100,000,000th of a Bitcoin). This inscription allows for data to be connected to a satoshi and thus host metadata—the data that describes a digital asset.
This metadata can describe basic facts like the name of a digital artwork and its transaction history. Because generative art is made using lines of code, in the case of TwelveFold, the metadata inscribed on the satoshi probably includes this code.
The 300 works from the TwelveFold collection will be sold at auction on a dedicated website later this week, though no specific date has been given. Bids will be made in Bitcoin.
Results from the auction could provide interesting data. In a flagging NFT market, will Ordinals be the next big thing?