Coder Brings Ordinals to Litecoin as Bitcoin Inscriptions Surpass 154K

The race to bring NFTs to more proof-of-work blockchains is on, as Ordinals inscriptions were introduced to Litecoin.

By Jason Nelson

3 min read

Ordinal Inscriptions and the ability to mint content other than transactions on the Bitcoin network have taken the blockchain by storm, with over 154,000 inscriptions created to date, according to Dune analytics. Now, a developer has adapted the Ordinals project for rival proof-of-work blockchain Litecoin.

Launched in 2011, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency designed to be quicker at processing transactions than Bitcoin. Litecoin was created by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee, who sold all of his Litecoin in 2017 to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The quest to bring Ordinals to the Litecoin blockchain began on February 10, when a pseudonymous Twitter user, Indigo Nakamoto, offered 5 LTC (around $500) to anyone who could port Ordinals to Litecoin.

On Sunday, software engineer Anthony Guerrera launched the Litecoin Ordinals project on GitHub after forking the GitHub repository for Bitcoin Ordinals posted by Casey Rodarmor in January.

Litecoin was chosen because it is the only other blockchain on which Ordinals could work, Guerrera said, due to its soft forks of the SegWit and Taproot technology found in Bitcoin—both of which are essential to making Ordinals work.

“Basically, I was motivated by the bounty that Indigo and a few others put out for someone to port Ordinals to Litecoin,” Guerrera told Decrypt via Twitter DM. “I approached Indigo about a week ago to step up to the challenge.”

Guerrera says the bounty to port Ordinals to Litecoin grew from 5 LTC to 22 LTC, or around $2100.

Guerrera says that when he began working on the project, he found issues with its dependency on rust-bitcoin, which did not support the MimbleWimble upgrade on Litecoin.

Rust is a programming language designed for safety and performance. In September 2021, the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken launched the internal Tamás Blummer Memorial Fund to support the development of rust, named in memory of a Bitcoin Rust contributor who passed away.

“I forked rust-bitcoin to make one that is able to work with Litecoin MWEB,” Guerrera said. “[This allows] Ordinals to decode the block data and safely ignore the extension block MWEB.”

Launched in May 2022, MimbleWimblenamed after a spell from Harry Potter—is an upgrade to the Litecoin blockchain that aims to enhance the network’s privacy and transaction size.

With MimbleWimble as its secret sauce, Guerrera says the Litecoin blockchain is the perfect place for Ordinals because it can handle more data in an individual transaction at a lower cost than on Bitcoin.

“Having MWEB built into the chain allows for users to be able to transfer funds privately before inscribing,” he said. “For example, a statement piece while maintaining privacy; is a huge advantage, unlike Bitcoin, which is a fully public ledger.”

Litecoin is currently the 16th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, at $6.89 billion, according to CoinGecko.

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