What Are Ethscriptions? Is the Ordinals hype coming on Ethereum?
On June 18th, a new protocol emerged in the Ethereum ecosystem. Its creator is Tom Lehman, also known as Middlemarch on Twitter. He has just launched the Ethscriptions website.
Ethscriptions allow for the creation and transfer of Ethereum-based inscriptions, enabling easier sharing of data without the need for smart contracts. These inscriptions can include texts, links, and images.
Ethscriptions differentiate themselves from NFTs and cryptocurrencies and do not conform to Ordinals standards, as we will explore later in this article.
Back in 2016, an inscription was created on the Ethereum network containing the following message:
"Ethereum has the potential to be a secure and anonymous communication channel, but it is not user-friendly for average users. Message extraction requires certain techniques, and message encryption requires advanced skills. I haven’t researched existing projects, and gas fees discourage most users, except refugees. Is it possible to utilize the ETH network for free by using extremely low gas? A Snapchat on the chain?"
These inscriptions allow for secure messaging or data transfer over the blockchain. Can we imagine social media similar to WhatsApp or Telegram on the Ethereum network?
How Do Ethscriptions Work?
Ethscriptions are unique and and can be identified with the following traits:
- Every successful Ethereum transaction of which the data is inputted, when interpreted as UTF-8, forms a valid data URI (Uniform Resource Identifier), creates an Ethscription, provided that the URI data is unique. All valid mimetypes are supported.
- To ensure the URI's uniqueness, no previous Ethscription from the same block or earlier transaction within the block should have the same content.
- Any Ethereum transaction of which the input data is the transaction hash of a valid Ethscription is considered a valid Ethscription transfer, given that the transaction sender is the owner of the Ethscription.
- The initial owner of the Ethscription is the recipient of the creation transaction, and the creator of the Ethscription is the sender of the creation transaction.
To trace Ethscriptions, you can use the protocol's official website or create an indexer using BigQuery data or an Alchemy API key. However, it is not as simple as that.
How to Create an Ethscription?
Creating your Ethscription is made easy through the official website. Follow these steps to create your own Ethscription in just a few minutes:
- Prepare an image in Base64 format with a maximum size of 60 KB. While the protocol accepts all types of URI data, images work best.
- Use Hexhero to convert your URI data into hexadecimal format.
- Send a transaction of 0 ETH to the intended owner of the Ethscription, including the hex data in the "Hex data" section.
- If nobody has previously published the same data, you will be able to see your registration on the official site.
Differences Between Ordinals and Ethscriptions
Ordinal inscriptions use satoshis to record text, images, or other data on the Bitcoin blockchain. This is not the case with Ethscriptions, as they don't require Ethereum for blockchain registration. However, you still need to pay a transaction fee to send the data to someone else.
Therefore, Ethscriptions differ from the Ordinals protocol currently present on Bitcoin.
Ethscriptions: Pros and Cons
Ethscriptions facilitate data transfer with significantly reduced transaction costs. The principle operates in a fully decentralized manner, allowing users to create their own indexer for on-chain data verification. The Ethscriptions website is not essential in the long term.
Compared to NFTs, where someone may have control over the smart contract, with Ethscriptions, you have complete ownership. This allows for the exchange of messages and data with other users in a decentralized and secure manner, without the need for intermediaries.
However, Ethscriptions are currently not targeted towards the general public. As the protocol's creator puts it, the principle is more appealing to “nerds” and blockchain enthusiasts.
The Future of Ethscriptions
At this moment, the future of Ethscriptions remains uncertain. Some users are already selling Ethscriptions on OpenSea, aiming to make a profit. However, the primary purpose of these inscriptions is to securely share data. Can we truly speculate on their potential?
The future will depend on the development of simplified systems to access this technology. Will we be able to exchange secure messages via the Ethereum blockchain? It's a story we should be following closely.
In conclusion, Ethscriptions introduce a novel protocol within the Ethereum ecosystem that enables the creation and transfer of inscriptions, facilitating the secure exchange of messages and data. While not yet mainstream and targeting only a specific niche, Ethscriptions offer a decentralized and cost-effective solution for data sharing. Only time will tell how this technology evolves and finds its place within the broader blockchain landscape.