The Revolution Continues: Ordinal NFTs Are Now on the Litecoin Blockchain

The Ordinals Protocol and ordinal NFTs have been punching above their weight in the crypto ecosystem. Barely a month after their creation, ordinal NFTs have recorded over 160k inscriptions. However, these novel NFTs haven’t shaken the Bitcoin blockchain only. By forking a code behind the Ordinals Protocol, Anthony Guerrera, a Bitcoin developer, inscribed the first Litecoin NFT ever.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

litecoin ordinal nft

Illustration: Milica Mijajlovic

Ever since the start of February, Proof of Work NFTs have been creating a buzz in the crypto industry due to the breakneck rise of ordinal NFTs. In several weeks only, Bitcoin ordinals have seen more than 160,000 inscriptions, with the inscription rate 7,000 ordinals a day, according to Dune Analytics.  

The Bitcoin community hasn’t properly digested the news about the new protocol and Bitcoin NFTs when the blockchain’s greatest PoW rival got its first Litecoin NFT inscription. Bitcoin developer Anthony Guerrera forked Bitcoin Ordinals and placed its privacy and scalability on the Litecoin Blockchain. On this occasion, he inscribed the MimbleWimble whitepaper, making it the first NFT inscription on the Litecoin Network. In the last three days, there have been over 20,000 Litecoin ordinal inscriptions.   

How did it all happen? 

The idea for inscribing MimbleWimble on the Litecoin Blockchain emerged hardly a week after a Twitter challenge. Namely, a Twitter user dared the community to attempt to fork the original Ordinals Protocol and adapt it to the Litecoin Network. The only rule was to work with Litecoin Core 0.21.2.1.1, and the winner was promised a reward of 5 LTC (about $500) which later grew to 22 LTC (about $2,000

The person to accept the challenge was Anthony Guerrera. He launched Litecoin Ordinals on GitHub, having forked the repository for Bitcoin Ordinals that Casey Rodarmor posted in January. The reason for selecting Litecoin was the similarity with Bitcoin. Both networks witnessed the soft fork of the SegWit and Taproot technology fundamental for making ordinals work. The aim of the two updates was to enhance the privacy and efficacy of the blockchain. At the same time, they enabled attaching inscriptions to satoshis.

What is Litecoin (LTC)? 

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency developed in order to be faster at processing transactions compared to Bitcoin. It was founded and launched in 2011, two years after its big brother. The creator of Litecoin is Charlie Lee, a former engineer at Google.  

One of the original goals of Litecoin was to prevent large-scale miners from taking over the mining process by employing a different encryption technique. Yet miners continued to expand their mining capability and soon modified their specialized equipment. 

Similarly to Bitcoin, Litecoin can be mined using ASIC miners. With a blockchain, transaction data is stored in blocks. The block is made available to any system participant (referred to as a miner) who requests to see it after being verified by mining software. After a miner confirms it, the chain’s next block is produced and Litecoin is awarded. 

Currently, Litecoin is the 14th greatest cryptocurrency by market capitalization of $6,76 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. 

MimbleWimble – more than just a spell 

MimbleWimble may sound familiar to Harry Potter fans. For those unfamiliar, MimbleWimble is the Tongue-Tying Curse, also known as the Tongue-Tying Spell, which prevented the target from speaking clearly by tying their tongues in a knot. 

In the crypto ecosystem, MimbleWimble refers to an upgrade to the Litecoin Blockchain whose goal is to improve the size and privacy of the network. It’s precisely this feature that made Litecoin ideal for ordinals. The reason for this lies in its capacity to deal with more data in a single transaction and at lower costs compared to Bitcoin.  

What is a fork? 

A fork happens when a blockchain protocol is divided into two versions. Each of the protocols runs its own network with a shared transaction history. The cause for the split may lie in discrepancies in the opinion of developers, miners, or users on the direction of the network’s development.  

In the case of the Litecoin Ordinal fork, it was necessary to make some modifications to the ordinal number scheme so that it could be implemented. When working on the fork, Guerrera discovered dependency issues that didn’t back the MimbleWimble upgrade on Litecoin. The adjustments he made eventually allowed for decoding and encoding Litecoin addresses.  

The final result of these modifications was inscribing the first Litecoin ordinal, known as Inscription 0. 

A week-long and simple fork 

Guerrera revealed that his Litecoin fork took about one week, stating that changes were pretty simple. What he did was update the ordinals code with inputs from the Litecoin instead of the Bitcoin network. The fork also had to take into consideration variables that differed between the blockchains, such as the total number of coins that could be created and differences in block time creation. 

In terms of costs, inscribing an image on the Bitcoin network may amount to tens of US dollars, depending on the size. However, according to Guerrera, the costs of inscribing a litoshi – the Litecoin variant of satoshi – amounts to around two cents.  

"Ever tried. Ever failed. Never mind. Try again. Fail better."