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.
Ethscriptions are the latest trend in the Ethereum ecosystem.
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?
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:
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:
How To Create Your Own Ethscription
Ethscriptions can be created within a minute.
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.
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:
The link to the Ethscription trading page on Opensea can be found here:
The Future of Ethscriptions
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:
But some in the NFT community are less bullish on their future: