How To Create Ethscriptions on the Ethereum Blockchain
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How To Create Ethscriptions on the Ethereum Blockchain

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Created 9mo ago, last updated 9mo ago

Ethscriptions are Ethereum's answer to Bitcoin ordinals — but this method has apparently been used years ago. Find out how to create digital artifacts on Ethereum using transaction calldata.

How To Create Ethscriptions on the Ethereum Blockchain

Table of Contents

Ethscriptions are the latest trend in the Ethereum ecosystem.

“What are Ethscriptions?” you ask.

That’s what this beginner’s guide is all about. Everything you need to know about Ethscriptions in less than five minutes.

What Are Ethscriptions?

Ethscriptions are the Ethereum equivalent of Bitcoin Ordinals. They are “NFTs without NFTs,” as they allow you to share data ─ for now only images ─ without creating ERC-721 tokens. Their inventor claims Ethscriptions are “cheaper” and “more decentralized” than their token equivalents.

To create an Ethscription, you convert an image not bigger than 96 kilobytes into a special code called a Base 64-encoded data URI. You send this image with a 0 ETH transaction to your desired recipient and insert the hex data in the “Hex data” field.

Who Created Ethscriptions?

Ethscriptions were created by Tom Lehman, the co-founder of the music website Genius.com and the Capsule 21 podcast123. He uses the pseudonym Middlemarch on Twitter:

View post on Twitter

Lehman launched Ethscriptions protocol on June 17, 2023 and tweeted several times about Bitcoin Ordinals before launching them, suggesting that Ordinals inspired him to create this new protocol.

Ethscriptions vs NFTs

The key differences between Ethscriptions and NFTs are:

  • Ethscriptions use transaction calldata to store the image. NFTs use smart contracts to store the metadata and link to an external source storing the content.
  • Ethscriptions are technically cheaper to create and transfer than NFTs, as they only require a 0 eth transaction with some hex data.
  • You can make the argument that Ethscriptions are more decentralized than NFTs since they host content natively on Ethereum, without relying on third-party storage.
  • Ethscriptions support all data URIs, while NFTs are limited by the smart contract standards and platforms they use.
  • Ethscriptions are currently limited to images, something that Lehman plans to change in the future. However, images have also been by far the most sought-after content for NFTs.
  • Ethscriptions have a size limit of 96 kilobytes, restricting the potential for more complex and detailed data at the time of writing.
  • Ethscriptions may not be compatible with some existing NFT platforms or standards.

Examples of Ethscriptions

The most significant Ethscription collection is Ethereum Punks, a collection of 10,000 “ethscribed” punks on Ethereum. It minted out within hours of the launch:

View post on Twitter

How To Create Your Own Ethscription

Ethscriptions can be created within a minute.

1. Convert an image (maximum size is 90KB) to a base 64-encoded data using  base64-image.de or other similar services. The Ethscriptions protocol currently supports images but other file types will be available.
2. Convert the URI to hex using hexhero or other similar tools.

3. Send a transaction to the address with the hex data in the "Hex data" field. The address will own the Ethscription and the transaction costs 0 ETH.

4. OR, you can also connect your wallet and create your own Ethscription directly on the website.

How To Trade Ethscriptions

You can trade Ethscriptions on platforms like Opensea. Adam McBride created EmblemVault, a way of storing your Ethscriptions in a vault:

View post on Twitter

The link to the Ethscription trading page on Opensea can be found here:

View post on Twitter

The Future of Ethscriptions

Ethscriptions follow the big hype about Bitcoin Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens. But with NFTs being a native feature of Ethereum, you can’t help but wonder whether Ethscriptions are necessary.

As so often in the crypto space, the future of an innovation will depend on the uptake by the community. Lehman is bullish that Ethscriptions will find their place in the future of Ethereum scaling:

View post on Twitter

But some in the NFT community are less bullish on their future:

View post on Twitter
At the time of writing the article, they have not caused a spike in gas fees. Whether Ethscriptions will be able to match the demand for Ordinals remains to be seen.
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