Bitcoin symbol in astronaut costume to represent Bitcoin NFTs

Inheriting and backing up NFTs on Bitcoin

Artifacts, Ordinals, Inscriptions, and BRC-20


Understanding NFTs on Bitcoin requires a shift in perspective from more familiar blockchains such as Ethereum, Avalanche, Polygon, Cardano, and Solana. We'll explore how Ordinals, a new type of NFT, are created and utilized in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

We'll delve into the specifics of BRC-20, the framework for managing these digital artifacts, and how it differs from other blockchain systems. The intention is to provide practical information for creators, marketplaces, and collectors interested in engaging with NFTs on Bitcoin.

Additionally, we'll discuss important considerations for protection and inheritance, ensuring the longevity of these assets. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of NFTs on Bitcoin, highlighting their distinct characteristics and potential uses.

How can you put NFTs on Bitcoin?

Putting NFTs on Bitcoin involves a few steps and requires a basic understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrency concepts. Here's a simplified explanation:

  1. Create Your Digital Asset: This could be any digital item like an image, a piece of music, a digital art, etc. It's important to remember that the digital asset you create should be original and owned by you.
  2. Mint the NFT: 'Minting' is the process of turning your digital asset into an NFT. This can be done using various platforms that support the Bitcoin blockchain. They will create a unique digital signature for your asset, known as a hash, that will be stored on the Bitcoin blockchain. This step will usually involve a small fee payable in Bitcoin.
  3. Implement BRC-20: BRC-20 is a standard for creating and managing NFTs on Bitcoin. Similar to how ERC-20 and ERC-721 work on the Ethereum blockchain, BRC-20 provides a set of rules that allow your NFT to interact with other tokens and platforms on the Bitcoin blockchain.
  4. Store or Sell Your NFT: Once your NFT is minted, you can keep it in your digital wallet or sell it on a marketplace that supports Bitcoin NFTs.
  5. Transfer Ownership: If you sell your NFT, the ownership of the NFT will be transferred to the buyer. This transaction will be recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain, ensuring the authenticity and ownership of the NFT.

Remember, this is a simplified explanation, and the actual process can be a bit more complex depending on the platform you use and the specific requirements of your digital asset. Always do your own research or consult with a professional if you're unsure about anything.

What is BRC-20?

BRC-20 is an experimental token standard that uses ordinal inscriptions to enable the minting and transfer of fungible tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. It is similar to the ERC-20 token standard on Ethereum and EVM blockchain networks. BRC-20 was an attempt at adding fungible use cases to the Bitcoin base layer immediately after the Ordinals protocol made Bitcoin NFTs an overnight sensation.

What are Bitcoin NFTs made up of?

Bitcoin NFTs are made up of individual Satoshi, which are the base native currency of the Bitcoin Network.

Ordinal Theory allows individuals to track and transfer individual Satoshi, which has turned Bitcoin into one big NFT collection comprising 2.1 quadrillion NFTs called Satoshis. Inscriptions, or unique pieces of data attached to a specific Satoshi, have made Bitcoin NFTs possible.

What are Ordinals?

Ordinals, a recent development in the Bitcoin ecosystem, have been rapidly gaining popularity. In April 2023, the daily record for Ordinal inscriptions was surpassed four times, as users inundated the network with an array of content, including images and video games.

Analogous to NFTs, Ordinal Inscriptions are digital assets embedded on a satoshi, the smallest unit of Bitcoin (BTC). These inscriptions on satoshis, named after Bitcoin's pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, have been made feasible by the Taproot upgrade, which was implemented on the Bitcoin network on November 14, 2021.

What are Bitcoin Artefacts or Artifacts?

Bitcoin artifacts are digital artifacts that are created on the Bitcoin blockchain. They are also known as Bitcoin NFTs. These digital artifacts can range from images to audio clips and are securely inscribed on the blockchain and tied to its smallest unit, a Satoshi. They are created through a process called inscribing where Ordinals can be inscribed with content (such as image or video files).

Some examples of Bitcoin artifacts include Tweet screenshots, fledgling inscription series, advertisements, and even 8-bit video games.

What are the differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin NFTs?

Bitcoin Ordinals, as conceptualized by developer Casey Rodarmor, differ from traditional Ethereum-based NFTs in several key ways, even though both are forms of digital art. Rodarmor characterizes Bitcoin NFTs as "authentic digital artifacts" because they are fully on-chain and inherit the robust attributes of the Bitcoin network.

  1. Immutability: Bitcoin inscriptions are inherently immutable, unlike Ethereum-based NFTs which can potentially be altered or deleted by the contract owner. To achieve immutability, traditional NFTs necessitate auditing, a process that requires an in-depth understanding of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and Solidity.
  2. On-chain Content: Bitcoin inscriptions consistently contain on-chain content, making them durable and resistant to loss. The creation of inscriptions entails fees proportional to the content size, contributing to their scarcity. Ethereum NFTs, in contrast, may have off-chain content stored on platforms such as IPFS, which can be lost.
  3. Security: Bitcoin inscriptions offer enhanced security given the superior security attributes of the Bitcoin blockchain. They can be sold using Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBT) without necessitating a third-party intermediary, like an exchange or marketplace. Ethereum NFTs often require such intermediaries, granting them unlimited access to a user’s NFT. Moreover, the use of intricate smart contracts may pose a challenge for individuals unfamiliar with the technical aspects of digital art trading.
  4. Inscription vs Minting: Unlike Ethereum NFTs which are minted as entirely new tokens, Ordinals involve inscribing the raw file data directly onto the satoshis (sats) of the Bitcoin blockchain. This distinct process further separates Bitcoin Ordinals from traditional NFTs.

How do you back up and protect Bitcoin NFTs?

Only Taproot-compatible wallets can be used to buy and hold Bitcoin Ordinals, such as the Ordinals wallet, the Xverse, and Hiro wallets, also OKX multichain wallet recently announced support for Ordinals and BRC-20. The Ordinals wallet is very straightforward to use, and the others are similar:

  • Create an account, secure your seed phrase backup, and deposit funds into the wallet.
  • Be careful with the type of Bitcoin public addresses, use a Taproot-enabled address (usually starts with bc1p prefix).
  • Use that address to receive the Bitcoin NFT from the marketplace or trading platform you've chosen for Bitcoin NFT purchases.

How do you ensure inheritance of Bitcoin NFTs?

With Ordinals, as Bitcoin becomes an even more prominent part of the Web3 world, you obviously have to care about inheritance of Bitcoin NFTs in the same way as any other Web3 digital asset. Web3 asset inheritance is different from the relatively straightforward steps for a traditional inheritance, where you go to the bank or the broker, you tell them that someone has passed on or is incapacitated, and you get access to those assets. You, as the owner of those assets, are responsible for the security and safekeeping of those assets. If you haven't recorded all details about your assets and communicated them to the people who are going to be the beneficiaries, those assets will likely be lost. Even if you did record the details correctly, there are still a lot of ways for heirs to go wrong with complex technical things during the succession process.

How can Vault12 Guard protect your Bitcoin NFTs?

Our latest technology release Vault12 Guard is a mobile app designed for ordinary people who are collectors, creators creating digital art and NFTs, and crypto enthusiasts buying cryptocurrency. Vault12 Guard is designed to make it as simple as possible to back up all of your Web3 assets and then assign a beneficiary who can receive those assets in the event of incapacitation or death of the owner.

With Vault12 Guard, it's very simple to back things up for your own recovery. It's very simple to activate Inheritance. And it's very simple for your heirs to retrieve those assets when needed. Download the app from any of the app stores (iOS or Android), install it, create a digital vault, and then you can immediately start adding assets, which will be stored locally on your phone device for full, distributed, decentralized backup and inheritance.

With Vault12 Guard, you can add and assign your own vault Heirs and Guardians. These are people that you know: they could be business partners, family members, or friends who will guard your vault. Your Guardians will grant access to your Web3 assets on the event of your passing.

You can learn more about NFT Crypto Inheritance here or immediately learn how to quickly set up your vault and bring longevity and resilience to your digital assets journey.

What is the controversy with Bitcoin NFTs?

The advent of the Ordinals protocol has incited a significant discussion among the NFT community, prompting essential inquiries. Should Bitcoin's role be confined to a monetary function, or should it broaden its scope to encompass additional applications? Is the Ordinals protocol encroaching on the Bitcoin network?

The Bitcoin blockchain, due to its restricted block size and network structure, has traditionally facilitated only payment transactions. This architecture encourages the development of solutions on top of the blockchain, adding layers to enhance the network's programmability and scalability.

1. Diverging use case for Bitcoin

The recent surge in Ordinals has drawn attention and scrutiny from the Bitcoin community. There are concerns that it could divert from Bitcoin's fundamental purpose as a medium of exchange and whether Ordinals are an efficient use of block space. Ordinals, which can take the form of images, audio clips, or even games, necessitate space that detracts from financial data, potentially causing a significant slowdown in on-chain confirmation times.

Some passionate members of the Bitcoin community are upset over this development and are strongly opposed to NFTs hosted on the Bitcoin blockchain. The Bitcoin community is generally very conservative and tends to favor stability and network reliability. They make relatively infrequent code updates and tend to ignore calls to make the network as fast or as feature-rich as some rival cryptocurrencies. Is there anything else you would like to know?

2. Challenge to Bitcoin's Fungibility

Ordinals also pose a challenge to Bitcoin's fungibility, a core characteristic of money. Ordinal inscriptions are embedded into a single satoshi, conferring a degree of rarity to it, much like how numismatic coins are unique physical items collected for their rarity.

Ordinal satoshis assume distinct identities that can be monitored, transferred, and imbued with valuable information, such as text or an image. This process makes the satoshi unique, effectively transforming it into a non-fungible token (NFT). Contrarily, the conventional viewpoint maintains that all satoshis should be treated as equal to preserve an essential attribute of money.
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Wasim Ahmad

Wasim is a serial entrepreneur with five exits, and an advisor in the fields of AI, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and encryption solutions. At Vault12, he led the private and public fundraising efforts, and focuses today on expanding the Vault12 ecosystem. His crypto experience began with AlphaPoint, where he worked with the founding team to launch the world's first crypto trading exchanges.

Previously he was a founding member of Voltage Security, a spinout from Stanford University, that launched Identity-Based Encryption (IBE), a breakthrough in Public Key Cryptography, and pioneered the use of sophisticated data encryption to protect sensitive data across the world's payment systems. Wasim serves on the board of non-profit, StartOut, and is a Seedcamp and WeWork Labs global mentor.

Wasim graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and French from the University of Sussex.

Art Krotou

Art is a crypto-security expert and researcher with serial entrepreneurship background. Having a degree in physics and experiences in multiple cutting-edge industries like fintech, secure hardware and semiconductors, and identity gave him a unique multi-faceted perspective on the problem of key management for individuals in the crypto networks and the evolution of the internet in general.

In his current work, he is specifically researching how cryptographic keys can be inherited without posing a threat to 3rd parties in edge cases. In addition, he advocates for "fault-tolerance via secrets automation". He discusses the quantitative impact of user experience factors on the uptake of non-custodial solutions.

As one of his most notable accomplishments, he co-founded and led through the early years of the company that contributed to the complex technology behind Apple's recent M-series CPUs. He is also the creator of the most friendly and aesthetically pleasing, but nonetheless super secure and fault-tolerant hardware wallet - U•HODL.

Check out his curated series of "Vault12 Learn" contributions below, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more sharp insights.

Inheritance and backup for Cryptocurrency

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Inheritance: Get ready today.

Inheritance: Get ready today.

Vault12 Digital Inheritance is the first solution to offer a simple, direct, and secure way to ensure cryptocurrency, NFTs, and other Web3 digital assets can be inherited by future generations.

Digital Inheritance enables investors to designate an individual or a mobile device as a guardian that will inherit their entire portfolio of digital assets (seed phrases,private keys, digital art and other secrets) inside a secure digital Vault once the time comes, eliminating undue risk and the need to continually update an inventory or issue updated instructions which result in privacy leakage.

Secure Decentralized Backups.

Secure Decentralized Backups.

Designed to be used alongside traditional hardware, software, and online wallets, Vault12 Guard helps cryptocurrency owners, professional crypto traders, and high-net-worth investors safeguard their digital assets without storing anything in the cloud or in fact, any one single location. This increases protection and decreases the risks of loss.

Note:The Vault12 Guard app is not a crypto wallet and does not hold cryptocurrency. Using a non-custodial approach, it is a Vault that safeguards your wallet seed phrase, private keys, associated files for NFTs, and digital art.

The Vault12 Guard app enables secure decentralized backups, and provides legacy inheritance for all your web3 digital assets, including NFTs, wallet seed phrases, secrets like keys, PIN codes, DAO project keys, and digital art.

Collectors, ensure your Art is protected for the future.

Collectors, ensure your Art is protected for the future.

Whether your digital art is suitable for a phone, or represents much higher resolution multimedia, make sure that you have backed up a copy in case the resource link is disrupted in the future. Digital art can easily be added to the Vault either via the mobile app or via the desktop utility. Once you have stored your artwork in your Vault, it will also benefit from inheritance once you activate that in your app.

Creators, do you have creative security?

Creators, do you have creative security?

As a creator, you can use Vault12 Guard to safeguard not just your NFT and crypto wallets but also your original digital artwork. Project creators will always have to deal with multiple wallets - inventory, treasury, as well as future royalty wallets.

Vault12 Guard safeguards your project assets, increasing protection and decreasing the risks of loss whilst ensuring that everything is ready to be passed onto future generations when the need arises. This is creative security.


Step-by-step guides for setting up your digital Vault and adding assets, inheriting and restoring Vaults. Vault12 Guard helps you inherit and back up all assets stored in your Vault, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, crypto, private keys, seed phrases, wallets, NFTs, and digital art.

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