Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk has recently expressed his skepticism about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a form of digital art that is stored on a blockchain. In an interview with Joe Rogan, Musk said that most NFTs are just a URL to a JPEG file and that they should at least encode the image on the blockchain.
“If the company housing the image goes out of business, you don’t have the image anymore,” Musk said.
Musk’s remarks have inadvertently highlighted the case for Bitcoin Ordinals, a type of NFT that is inscribed directly on the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Ordinals, also known as Ordinals, was launched in January 2023 by developer Casey Rodarmor, after the Taproot soft fork enabled more functionality on Bitcoin.
Elon Musk Praises Bitcoin Ordinals
Ordinals allow anyone to embed text, images, or other data into a Bitcoin transaction, creating a permanent and immutable record that can be verified by anyone with an Ethereum client. Unlike most NFTs on Ethereum, which rely on centralized servers or IPFS links to store the actual content, Ordinals store the content on-chain, ensuring its longevity and security.
Bitcoiners have praised Musk’s comments as a validation of Ordinals, which have already attracted more than 38 million inscriptions. Some of them include video clips of Musk himself, memes, poems, and artworks. Ordinals developer Leonidas even inscribed the 19-second video of Musk’s interview on the Bitcoin blockchain at block 814,773.
.@elonmusk you just laid out the case for Bitcoin ordinals – image/text inscriptions directly on the most secure open source monetary network on the planet. There are currently 38 million of these inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain. pic.twitter.com/WASj1qpkz8
— Will Clemente (@WClementeIII) November 1, 2023
Some NFT projects on Ethereum have also moved their content on-chain, such as Cryptopunks by Larva Labs and OnChainMonkeys by Metagood. However, Ethereum still dominates the NFT market with 84% of all trading volumes, according to CoinGecko.
Musk’s comments on NFTs are not surprising, given his previous mockery of them as a sign of mental illness. However, they also show that he is aware of the potential and challenges of blockchain technology and that he may be open to exploring more innovative solutions like Bitcoin Ordinals.