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A pricy Ethereum NFT from one of Web3’s preeminent PFP collections has been permanently removed from circulation and symbolically tied to an Ordinals inscription, as a group of Bitcoiners celebrate the costly, eye-catching endeavor.
CryptoPunk #8611 sold for around 55 Ethereum or $95,000 on Saturday, according to Etherescan. And hours later, the NFT was burned in a way that points to inscription 12,456,749, an NFT-like asset on Bitcoin that bears the same image as its predecessor.
The decision to effectively destroy CryptoPunk #8611 was a community-led effort conducted by Wolf Capital Developer Nathan Stein on Twitter and holders of Bitcoin Bandits, a Western-themed collection of Ordinals inscriptions, a spokesperson for the project told Decrypt.
“The community rallied behind the idea like crazy,” the Bitcoin Bandits spokesperson said, adding that around 150 people contributed to the cause.
When a digital asset is burned, it’s locked up for eternity in a digital wallet that nobody controls, and CryptoPunk #8611 has been put to rest in a well-known burn address that also contains $21 million worth of Ethereum.
“What a wild night,” an account named Minh on Twitter told Decrypt, who also posted a video documenting the purchase and burning of CryptoPunk #8611. He described the move as “chaotic, yet beautiful.”
The first CryptoPunk teleburned from ETH to BTC.
— Minh (@MINHxDYNASTY) June 18, 2023
Ordinals, a buzzy Bitcoin protocol that launched earlier this year, is used to create NFT-like assets on Bitcoin by “inscribing” data to individual satoshi, the smallest denomination of currency a Bitcoin can be broken down into. That data can include pictures, videos, or even plain text, which people have used to create BRC-20 tokens.
While NFTs could be considered a nascent industry or an emerging frontier for digital art, Ordinals inscriptions are much more new, leading to a wave of hype, bugs, and scams surrounding crypto’s oldest coin.
As the community surrounding Ordinals continues to take shape, siphoning off pricy NFTs from the Ethereum space and pointing them in the direction of other assets on Bitcoin is becoming a more common move, referred to as teleburning.
So, if Saturday’s CryptoPunk burn sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because it’s not the first time a pricy NFT has been burned by someone looking to symbolically shift an asset’s underlying chain from Ethereum to Bitcoin.
In February, an NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection worth around $169,000 at the time was burned by Jason Williams, who told Decrypt not long after that, essentially, “throwing a Lamborghini into a trash compactor” is kind of fun.
Notably, Yuga Labs, creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, told Decrypt that the Ordinals inscription tied to Williams’ BAYC NFT represents an illegitimate ape, explaining only tokens that come from the project's original smart contract are considered valid, granting holders commercial rights and access to events.
However, unlike Williams’ maneuver, CryptoPunk #8611 wasn’t burned purely for entertainment, according to Stein.
The end goal is to create a series of Ordinals inscriptions that correspond to a slice of ownership in CryptoPunk #8611—even though the underlying asset itself can no longer be owned by anyone on its original chain.
That collection of inscriptions will be created after the one that currently points to CryptoPunk #8611 is ceremonially sent to a digital wallet that belongs to Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, in what is effectively a one-way trip, Stein said in a tweet.
1- Send money to escrow
2- Escrow buys Punk for them
3- Escrow burns & inscribes it on BTC
4- Escrow sends the punk to Satoshis wallet
Ok! Now we have burned Punk 2 times LMAO
— NatanStein (@natan_stein) June 16, 2023
Members of the Bitcoin Bandits community who pooled funds together to purchase CryptoPunk #8611 have also been entered into a contest related to a separate inscriptions project—but that’s beside the point, the spokesperson said.
“Bandits did it more to show the way,” the spokesperson said. “The Bandits Community thinks that CryptoPunks deserve better than ETH.”