Bitcoin Ordinal NFTs take block heights above 3MB

The blocks on bitcoin blockchain have consistently begun to breach the 3MB size. The first time this occurred was on February 1, 2023. reports that history was made this day when the mining pool Luxor became the first to mine block #774,628 with a size of 3.96MB, the largest so far.

Bitcoin blocks are limited in size, as they aren’t supposed to store data, and this keeps the blockchain light. Although there is a limit of 2MB for a typical block, it is not set in stone. Of late, the typical block size has begun to breach the 3MB mark.

Data from Dune Analytics shows that, until first week of February, the average block height hovered around 2MB. The second week has seen a typical block height of 3MB.

The rise in block height is attributed to what are called “ordinal inscriptions” related to NFTs. Over 50,000 of these were recorded in 2023. An ordinal is a count of numbers showing their position, such as first, second, third, etc. Such numbers can be assigned to NFTs and used for ranking them and other purposes.

An ordinal inscription is an NFT bearing this unique number which reveals its position or rank within a series of NFTs. This number can make it rare, unique, exclusive and distinguished from other NFTs, thus raising its value and demand.

The use of ordinal inscription in a block goes beyond NFTs, as these can be used for proof of ownership, tracking their ownership, and for creating virtual collections.

Until recently, NFTs could only be transacted on Ethereum, Solana or Stacks blockchains. In January, the bitcoin protocol has responded to the craze and potential of NFTs by creating and including a new Ordinal project, which allows NFTs to be “appended” to a transaction.

Thus, an Ordinal inscription “etched” to a Satoshi will become “immortal” and immutable. The usual NFTs minted on Ethereum allow for altering of metadata by their creator or owner, but the bitcoin minted NFTs will be unalterable or unchangeable.

NFTs on Bitcoin blockchain don’t require a new token or sidechain either. Another difference is that the entire image, artwork or digital object is stored within the block, rather than just a hyperlink pointing to the storage location.

As expected, the CryptoPunks have arrived and their collection is called Ordinal Punks. One of them recently sold for 9.5 BTC.


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