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All about Ethscriptions: the Ethereum protocol rivaling Bitcoin ordinals

Bitcoin ordinals took the Web3 world by storm following their introduction in January 2023. The adoption of ordinals has been massive, with millions of inscriptions being created in the few months since launch.

By June 2023, Ethereum wanted to join the party and participate in this phenomenon. That led to the development of Ethscriptions, a recently launched protocol that's gained rapid acceptance.

This protocol empowers users to generate and exchange digital entities on the Ethereum blockchain if they fall within the 96-kilobyte limit.

In this article, we'll dive deeper into Ethscriptions, exploring how to create one and what's next as the protocol continues to evolve.

What are Ethscriptions?

Imagine a world where you can inscribe your digital creations onto the Ethereum blockchain, preserving them forever. Well, Tom Lehman, the co-founder of Genius.com, has made that a reality with Ethscriptions, a fusion of Ethereum and Inscriptions.

This innovative protocol, inspired by the ordinal inscriptions on the Bitcoin network, has captivated the imaginations of enthusiasts and developers alike.

Within 18 hours of launch, nearly 30,000 Ethscriptions have been created, demonstrating the immense enthusiasm surrounding this protocol. Ethscriptions empower users to inscribe their arbitrary data onto the Ethereum blockchain, opening up a world of creative expression and data storage possibilities.

Leveraging calldata

What makes Ethscriptions unique is its ingenious use of Ethereum 'calldata' — all of the data that's passed on when a transaction is made on the network. By harnessing the power of calldata, Ethscriptions offer a cheaper and more decentralized alternative to traditional contract storage methods. This approach makes sure the distinctiveness, integrity, and immutability of every valid Ethscription.

In a world where layer 2 scaling solutions dominate the conversation, Ethscriptions could steal the limelight as it evolves.

Ethereum Punks

What sets Ethscriptions apart is the Ethereum community's unmatched embrace of innovation and experimentation. The community has become a playground for developers wanting to push the boundaries of what blockchain technology can achieve.

To make an indelible mark and ignite interest, Lehman rallied the Ethereum community to ethscribe 'Ethereum Punks' inspired by the world-famous NFT collection, Crypto Punks.

The response was nothing short of a frenzy, as copies of all 10,000 Ethereum Punk images were inscribed within a matter of hours. This massive excitement demonstrated the immense potential and demand for Ethscriptions in the NFT space.

Limitations

As of June 2023, the protocol is limited to images. However, there are plans to expand its capabilities to include different file types, promising even more exciting opportunities for digital creators.

Of course, every protocol has its challenges. Ethscriptions faced intermittent downtime due to the overwhelming surge of new users. And, critics argue that similar technologies have existed for years, with some artists already adopting them in their work.

However, it's through recent widespread awareness and adoption that the true potential of Ethscriptions is being recognized.

How to create an Ethscription

Ethscriptions.com launched a tool to create your own Ethscription, and also an easy step-by-step guide that claims you can create your Ethscription in 60 seconds! (Don't worry, we won't time you).

  1. Convert an image (max size: 96KB) to a Base 64-encoded data URI (data:image/png;base64,...) using a service like base64-image.de.

  2. The Ethscriptions protocol supports all data URIs but images work best.

  3. Convert the data URI to hex using an online tool like hexhero

  4. Send a 0 eth transaction to the person you want to own the Ethscription with the hex data from (2) in the 'Hex data' field

  5. After a few moments, it should appear on this page, provided someone hasn’t already ethscribed the same data. Duplicate content is ignored.

What are Ethscription Improvement Proposals?

Ethscription Improvement Proposals (ESIP) are proposed enhancements to the Ethscriptions protocol. Each ESIP addresses specific protocol aspects to improve its functionality and usability. Here are some key ESIPs and their objectives:

  • ESIP-1: smart contract Ethscription transfers: This ESIP allows smart contracts to transfer Ethscriptions. It introduced a new smart contract event, "ethscriptions_protocol_TransferEthscription" enabling contracts to transfer Ethscriptions they own. This enhancement was aimed at supporting the creation of protocol-native apps like marketplaces, addressing limitations in smart contract interactions with Ethscriptions.

  • ESIP-2: safe trustless smart contract Ethscription escrow: This proposal introduced a mechanism for smart contracts to safely and trustlessly escrow Ethscriptions. It added a new event, "ethscriptions_protocol_TransferEthscriptionForPreviousOwner," which enables conditional Ethscription transfers, thereby overcoming challenges in identifying the depositor of an Ethscription in escrow situations. This is particularly useful for marketplace scenarios, where Ethscriptions need to be transferred to a marketplace contract for listing.

  • ESIP-3: smart contract Ethscription creations: This proposal allows smart contracts to create Ethscriptions using Ethereum events. It introduced an event, "ethscriptions_protocol_CreateEthscription," enabling contracts to register valid Ethscription creation attempts. This expansion was significant in making sure that contracts have similar capabilities to Externally Owned Accounts (EOAs) regarding Ethscription creation.

The ESIPs are part of the ongoing development and enhancement of the Ethscriptions protocol, reflecting efforts to address limitations and expand the protocol's capabilities. Each ESIP goes through a discussion and review process before being accepted and implemented.

The Ethscription zone

To enhance your Ethscription experience, the OKX Web3 wallet has various tools to help you out. These tools — introduced below — can be found on the 'discover' section of the Web3 wallet on the web or mobile app.

  • Etch market: the first platform for launching and indexing Ethscriptions, driven by a community.

  • Ethscriptions: this is the protocol itself, a new way of creating and sharing digital artifacts on Ethereum using transaction call data.

  • Ethsmarket: built on Ethscriptions, the initial trading platform and distribution protocol.

  • Ethscriber: an easy-to-use tool to inscribe text Ethscriptions by zacque.eth.

  • Eths check: an Ethscriptipons query platform.

  • NFTSniper: Examine the amount of Ethscription tokens contained in the address.

The final word

Many in the crypto space are excited by the potential to expand Ethscriptions beyond images, as developers continue to experiment and push the boundaries of blockchain technology.

The impact of Ethscriptions on digital objects and data inscription is set to evolve and expand. Ethscriptions currently only work with images, but as we've seen with Ethereum Punks, it hasn't limited creators and developers.

The fate of Ethscriptions now lies in the hands of the community, and like with any protocol, it's essential to do your research before you participate.

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