Feb 282023

This is an OrdinalsBot review. OrdinalsBot is an easy to use tool from the Satoshibles team to create ordinals on Bitcoin and send it to your own custodial Bitcoin address. The service works by simply taking a fee and minting an ordinal on your behalf, and then sending the ordinal to your address. Payment is through the lightning network on Bitcoin.

The service honors the traditions of Bitcoin like privacy and freedom to transact. There is no need to sign up or create an account to use OrdinalsBot. All you need to do is pay a lightning invoice and you’ll get the ordinal sent to your Bitcoin address.

Ordinals as NFTs on Bitcoin

For those living under a rock, ordinals are Bitcoin NFTs in a nutshell, but come with several important differences compared to NFTs on chains like Ethereum. The UTXO model of Bitcoin also makes it very unique – more like ‘inscribing satoshis’ than ‘holding NFTs’. You can read more about ordinals in the ordinal docs.

Ordinals are taking off a nascent emerging scene on Bitcoin, something the Bitcoin community (minus the toxic maxis) have been clamoring for. Ordinals has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant ecosystem. Major NFT players like Yuga Labs (behind Bored Apes) have announced projects on Ordinals.

In terms of investor interest, the first big milestone was 10,000 ordinals which have been sold for 5-6 figure USD amounts. You dear reader have probably missed the boat on inscribing an ordinal that early. The next milestone would be 1,000,000. The million mark would be interesting. Unlike NFTs on Ethereum where every NFT project is on a unique contract, ordinals are literally numbered (hence ordinal) and everyone inscribes on the same sequence. Therefore, it is a good idea to start inscribing ordinals today and hold some as a collectible.

After all, Bitcoin is probably going to be the dominant censorship-resistant chain especially with Ethereum’s transition to proof of stake. Holding information on the Bitcoin blockchain has always been the gold standard and ordinals brings the fun of NFTs on to the grandfather-chain.

Finally, all inscriptions in ordinals are stored on the Bitcoin blockchain itself, so no dangling IPFS links to nowhere.

How to Create Ordinals

In general, if you want to create ordinals by yourself, you will need to run a Bitcoin node. You will need a wallet with Taproot enabled, so you can pay for the transaction fees to inscribe your ordinal. You will need to check with the list of wallets on Bitcoin wiki. You should also be very careful not to spend your Ordinal inscription as a satoshi, basically rendering it worthless.

If you want to avoid the technical burden involved with the above, the simplest way is to use the Ordinals Bot built by the team from Satoshibles. All you need to do to use this bot is to pay a lightning invoice, which you can do with Bitcoin lightning wallets or traditional wallets as well. Lightning will make it cheaper. Make sure to send your ordinal to a BTC wallet that you control, and ideally a wallet built for Ordinals. That way, you won’t accidentally ‘spend’ your ordinal as a satoshi and lose it.

Here are the steps to create an ordinal on Bitcoin (Bitcoin NFT)

Step-1: Go to OrdinalsBot and upload your Ordinal (text, images, videos, etc.) Note that all data is stored on the Bitcoin blockchain, so the larger the file, the more fees you’ll need to pay.

Step-2: Send some Bitcoin into a lightning wallet like Muun which can pay via both lightning and regular Bitcoin.

Step-3: Get an ordinals supported wallet like Ordinals Wallet to keep your inscriptions safe.

Step-4: On OrdinalsBot, pay for the transaction via lightning (cheaper) or regular Bitcoin transaction. Make sure to add your ordinals wallet as the recipient.

Step-5: OrdinalsBot will inscribe your content on Bitcoin and send you the ordinal inscription in the address you provided. Make sure the address is right since this action cannot be reversed.

Congratulations, you have now inscribed ordinals and created Bitcoin NFTs! Do this before the numbers reach a million.

Sep 232015

Invest in Bitcoin

As Bitcoin gains popularity as an alternate asset class, there are several ways how to invest in Bitcoin, but as an investor, it is important to note the pros and cons of each, and also learn to protect yourself. This should not be construed as an investment advice in Bitcoin. The post will just help you how to invest in Bitcoin if you’ve already decided to invest in it.

Why Bitcoin?

I assume you’ve already decided to invest in Bitcoin based on your research. Bitcoin is a lot of things to a lot of people – it is a currency that can be used to pay merchants, online and offline, and reduce transaction times to minutes instead of days with credit cards. Bitcoin is an asset class for investors looking to diversify their holdings. Bitcoin is ‘digital gold’ with predictable supply programmatically controlled, and can be a store of value during times of high inflation (think countries like Argentina or Venezuela). Bitcoin is a protocol for value transfer over the internet and enable new innovations in the ‘internet of things’ space and micropayments.

It is important to note that Bitcoin can be all of the things above, and that’s what it derives its value from. As an investor, you perhaps don’t need to know the intricate details of everything Bitcoin does, but it definitely helps to know, at a high level, why Bitcoin is valuable at all in the first place (this is, after all, the first step in the investment process).

Bitcoin as an Asset Class

Before learning how to invest in Bitcoin, it is important to formulate how you view your investment in Bitcoin. Remember that Bitcoin has historically been extremely volatile with wild price swings. If you can’t handle this, it is best to steer away from Bitcoin as an asset class. Also, keep in mind the investment time-frame that you’re looking at. Is it 1 year or 30 years? A lot of things can happen in long time-frames, especially in fast-changing technology fields.

It is also good to learn about the supply-side of Bitcoin. This will help you know the current inflation rate around Bitcoin. Even though ultimately only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be in existence, they are not all available today. They are created through a mining process (which is too big a topic to explain here), and the current rate is 25 Bitcoins about every 10 minutes. This corresponds to an inflation rate of around 9% per annum.

This rate is going to be cut in half sometime in the middle of 2016. Here’s a countdown, which will give you an approximate date. Unlike most other asset classes, Bitcoin’s inflation is known in advance, and there is no way to increase its supply outside of this schedule.

How to Invest in Bitcoin

The best way to invest in Bitcoin is, in my view, to directly buy Bitcoin. There are many well-established companies today that will sell you Bitcoin for dollars or Euros. If you’re in a country serviced by Coinbase (like United States, United Kingdom, most of Eurozone countries, Singapore), it’s easiest to buy from there. With Coinbase, you can buy Bitcoin directly from your bank account and store it in their online wallet, or have additional security in their vault. There are other options as well, depending on the country you’re in. See the page on Buy Bitcoin to find more options.

The next step is to determine if you want to hold your Bitcoins online with a provider like Coinbase or transfer them to your own wallet. The advantage of holding it in your own wallet is that you don’t have to worry about a company freezing your funds, or going out of business or anything else – you are in complete control of your Bitcoin and can spend them as you see fit. However, on the downside, it is very important to take good security precautions if you hold your own Bitcoins, because if you are careless and get hacked, you will lose all your Bitcoins with no protection or resources to help you regain your funds. If you plan to invest a lot of money in Bitcoins, consider buying a Bitcoin hardware wallet like Trezor or Ledger or KeepKey.

Another way to gain exposure to Bitcoin is through funds. This is not a very developed market yet, and therefore very illiquid. However, one big advantage is that you can hold it in such accounts as your IRA or retirement account, thus gaining a small exposure to Bitcoin for retirement accounts. GBTC is the only one available today in the US. The Winklevoss brothers are working towards a Bitcoin ETF but that’s not live yet.

Finally, remember never to invest more than you can afford to lose in a volatile, high-risk investment like Bitcoin.

Photo Credit: GotCredit

Sep 172015

Bitcoin Government Confused

In its short history of 6 years, Bitcoin has become a lot of things. It is “currency” for some, “digital gold/commodity” for others, and a “protocol” for some others. And all possible combinations of these as well. Now, it seems like the government too is unable to make up its mind about what exactly Bitcoin is, as various regulatory agencies seek the power to control and regulate Bitcoin and the ecosystem of companies around it. In the latest news reported by Bloomberg, the CFTC has claimed jurisdiction over Bitcoin.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, believes that Bitcoin is a commodity and should therefore be regulated by it. This isn’t very surprising, since the CFTC has already said in the past that it is looking towards regulating Bitcoin and the emerging financial ecosystem around it. Last year, the CFTC held open talks about Bitcoin, calling in industry experts to testify, and understand the nature of Bitcoin. The results were largely positive for Bitcoin, and the CFTC seems determined not to take a ‘stifle the innovation with excessive regulation’ approach that some other government agencies seem to take.

Still, this is new battleground, since Bitcoin is not really a commodity in the traditional sense, and is definitely a currency in many respects as well. The IRS famously ruled that Bitcoin is property, not a commodity or currency, and treats it as such for tax purposes. Still other branches of the government have ruled that Bitcoin is currency, like this federal judge who ruled in the infamous ponzi scheme of Bitcoin Savings Trust.

It doesn’t seem like these dilemmas will be resolved anytime soon, especially with the changes to Bitcoin that happen at a dynamic rate, such as the addition of multi-signature wallets, that upend the notion of custody on its head. There are state-level laws that are seeking to clarify these issues, with advocacy groups like Coin Center pushing for friendlier regulation that can let the startups thrive. However, it’s a tricky and challenging issue for lawmakers and others.

The waters are going to be muddied even more when Bitcoin, as a protocol, will be used as a ‘token’ system for other assets, like NASDAQ’s recent venture into the private share markets for non-public companies, using a colored-coin protocol to keeping track of these securities on Bitcoin. Now, the same Bitcoins could potentially be treated very differently by different agencies.

It will be interesting to see where and how this debate resolves. No agency would really like to give up its perceived power over Bitcoin, after all.

Photo Credit: Lori Greig

Dec 212014

Buy Gold with Bitcoin

Here’s a guide on how to buy gold with Bitcoin. You’d be surprised by how many different options you have in converting between Bitcoin and gold/silver, some of them physical gold coins or bars and some of them at an IOU level so you can speculate on the value of gold vs. Bitcoin.

Lots of people who are interested in Bitcoin are also interested in precious metals, especially the early adopters who were disproportionately libertarian in their philosophical and economic thought. Bitcoin, in fact, was and still is, often touted as ‘digital gold’ based on the scarcity of each. Gold has also been used in commerce for thousands of years and has a free market proven vibe to its properties. Both gold and Bitcoin attempt, in small ways, to bypass fiat currencies issued by governments, and both have become a store of value during turbulent economic times when there’s high inflation (think current day Russia, Venezuela, Argentina, etc.)

Here are some options for how to buy gold with Bitcoin, either the physical commodity or just getting the exposure to gold prices through a third-party. I’ll explain the options individually.

Amagi Metals: Amagi is another long-time Bitcoin supporting precious metals seller. They probably have the best pricing for your gold and silver coins if you pay with Bitcoin.

Agora Commodities: Agora is another Bitcoin supporting company that accepts Bitcoin for gold and silver coins and bars. The company is also a long-time supporter of Bitcoin and its community. You can buy your bullion in USD or Bitcoins.

Bitreserve: Bitreserve is a company founded by Halsey Minor (the founder of CNET) and aims to be a convenient currency exchange platform. It is definitely centralized like Coinbase, in that it holds your private keys. In return, you get the ability to seamlessly convert between Bitcoin, USD, GBP, Euro, CNY and yes, also Gold. If you want to get ‘BitXAU’ from Bitreserve, you just send Bitcoins to the ‘Gold’ card on your account, and that’s it. It will be worth a few ounces of gold, depending on how much you send. The gold is held in reserve by Bitreserve (and is therefore fully backed by the physical commodity, not ETFs and use GBI for this). The conversion is instantaneous, and you are effectively buying gold with Bitcoin when you send Bitcoins to your gold card. You can spend it as you would spend Bitcoin, by sending to any Bitcoin address. Do be aware though that there is a transfer fees of 2.4% in and out. The company is promising, has raised about $15 million already, and has a plan for the future. They are trying to add Oil to the mix, which would be quite interesting.

Bitreserve Gold Card

Ripple Singapore: This is a Ripple gateway for gold, silver and platinum. This is an IOU of course, and if you trust this Ripple gateway, you can buy and trade gold and silver throughout the world on the Ripple protocol. Ripple gets strong reactions from people in the Bitcoin community, but this is definitely one of the options. If you want to buy XRP (Ripple tokens), you can try Poloniex or Kraken.

BitGold from Bitshares: This is another interesting idea, using Bitshares. This isn’t an IOU (unlike Ripple) and the price of BitGold on the Bitshares network (one of the BitAssets, along with others like BitUSD, BitCNY etc.) is market determined, and is maintained close to the real price of gold by delegate feeds (101 delegates for the network). This is still a work-in-progress but as more people join the network, the tighter the spreads between BitGold and Gold price should be, and the liquidity is currently poor but hopefully will improve in time. You can buy BTS (Bitshares tokens) on an exchange like Bter.

Photo Credit: TomD77

Nov 292014

How to Buy Counterparty

Looking for how to buy Counterparty? This guide will walk you through the process you need to get your hands on arguably the most promising Bitcoin 2.0 technology, Counterparty. Unlike many other protocols (Ethereum, BitShares, NXT, etc.) that also categorize in the Bitcoin 2.0 space, Counterparty is built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain itself, which provides it with all the security and safety afforded to the Bitcoin blockchain through the vast mining hashpower (and of course, the associated risks such as centralized mining) and ecosystem.

Initial Creation of Counterparty

I want to briefly discuss the initial creation of the Counterparty token, before going into details on how to buy Counterparty because some people still think they can get Counterparty through the initial creation route. You cannot.

In order to create a fair distribution, the Counterparty developers had a window, during which anyone who sent Bitcoins to a specific unspendable address (no one knows the private key to this address, and therefore the funds are unspendable). People were rewarded in proportion to the number of Bitcoins sent to this address. This is unlike an IPO/ICO (Initial Public Offering/Initial Coin Offering) that’s so common in the cryptocurrency space, since the developers didn’t get any money from the public. All the Bitcoins just got lost in a black hole, so to speak.

This initial method of creation of Counterparty, using the ‘Proof of Burn’, was done using the unspendable address 1CounterpartyXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXUWLpVr. You’ll notice people still sending some Bitcoins to this address, hoping to get Counterparty. This no longer works – the period is over, and there is no way to recover your Bitcoins! Don’t send any Bitcoins to this address now.

Promise of Counterparty

If you’re looking to buy Counterparty, I assume you’ve done your homework and know what makes Counterparty promising and unique. I won’t spend too many words here, but think about these two main catalysts: Medici, funded by Overstock, a $5 billion company, to build a complete stock exchange on the blockchain, is being built on top of the Counterparty protocol and being worked on by the Counterparty developers. Ethereum, a promising smart-contracts system, was completely imported over to Counterparty, which means anything you can do on Ethereum, you can do on Counterparty.

How to Buy Counterparty Through Counterparty Exchanges

Counterparty is a truly deflationary currency/token, in that there is no initial inflation (like in the case of Bitcoin, which runs at about 10% per year at the current mining rewards) and creating assets requires spending some Counterparty tokens, so the total supply is always dropping, although at a low rate right now. It is important to take adequate precautions while using online exchanges, and only trade on trusted exchanges. Also, don’t use an exchange as a wallet – after you buy Counterparty, transfer them over to your own Counterparty wallet and protect it adequately.

Bter: This is the biggest and most trusted exchange to buy Counterparty, and one that I personally use for all my Counterparty trades. It’s a Chinese exchange with robust volumes, low trade fees, and very prompt withdrawals and deposits. It’s the best way to buy Counterparty in my opinion. It offers two options – buying Counterparty through Bitcoin or Chinese Yuan. The XCP/CNY pair also has a fair amount of volume at Bter although usually less than XCP/BTC. It also offers a XCP/USD trading pair, but it is generally quite hard to get USD on to Bter exchange.

Poloniex: Poloniex has had a fairly good trading volume for Counterparty. It is a relatively new exchange that is yet to really prove itself in the battlefield (unlike Bter, which has been around for several years). It’s a good option to diversify how to buy Counterparty, but I would be cautious of putting too much money into Poloniex just yet.

MasterXchange: This was one of the older exchanges to add Counterparty, but the volume is very low, and therefore the spreads are high. You might get lucky hitting a low price, but this exchange cannot, in general, support a good volume buy.

Melotic: This is an upcoming exchange and fairly new, so it still has to prove itself. However, it looks promising so far, only listing the better altcoins instead of having hundreds of them. It already lists several other Bitcoin 2.0 coins and a few popular altcoins, but still remains very selective. They have a fair amount of trading volume, but nowhere close to Bter. Use this as another exchange to buy Counterparty instead of a primary source.

New to Cryptocurrencies

If you’re new to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, don’t own any Bitcoin, and don’t want to deal with all of this, just go through the following steps –

1. Register on Coinbase or Circle to buy Bitcoins in your account. You can link your bank account and buy Bitcoins. Both these companies have raised tens of millions of dollars and very trusted in the community. They won’t try to scam you outright.

2. Register an account on Bter. Go to Account > Balances > Deposit under BTC. This will give you a Bitcoin address to deposit Bitcoins to.

3. From your Coinbase or Circle account, send Bitcoin to this address generated by Bter. Wait for about 20-30 minutes for the Bitcoins to show up in your Bter account.

4. Go to Markets > BTC Markets > XCP/BTC. Place a market of limit order to buy Counterparty.

5. After the trade, withdraw your Counterparty to your own wallet, such as Counterwallet.