Bitcoin NFTs: Yes, they exist!
Twitter has been roasting Mojang’s NFT ban on Minecraft. The announcement shocked the blockchain community: partly for the ban itself, but perhaps moreso for defining NFTs as ‘often purchased with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.’ Is it possible to buy NFTs with Bitcoin, or is Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular video games, mistaken in their understanding of NFTs?
What is an NFT?
An NFT (non-fungible token) is unique data on a blockchain that can be linked to digital and physical objects to provide proof of ownership. NFTs were conceptualized by Hal Finney in 1993 and have since grown to become a $40 billion market.
In 2016, the first Bitcoin NFT ‘Rare Pepe’ was mined, though the majority of NFT activity took off on Ethereum since Bitcoin itself doesn’t have the capability to run smart contracts necessary for NFTs. However, Minecraft may be more correct in citing Bitcoin as an NFT-purchasing currency than critics on Twitter imply.
NFTs are upgrading to Bitcoin
Recent studies show Bitcoin evolving as a top blockchain for NFTs. The blockchain is attractive to NFT creators for being the most secure, decentralized, and time-tested blockchain, offering lower gas fees, sustainable minting using recycled energy, and scalability.
Bitcoin NFTs do not exist directly on the Bitcoin blockchain like Ethereum ERC721 tokens. Rather, they are secured by Bitcoin via Stacks, the largest and fastest-growing Web3 project on Bitcoin. Stacks uses a unique consensus mechanism called proof of transfer (PoX), enabling new blocks to be added using proof of work of an existing Bitcoin anchor block. Therefore, Bitcoin NFTs powered by Stacks offer the highest security without making any changes to the Bitcoin anchor block.
An ecosystem for Bitcoin NFTs
Since launching in January 2021, the Stacks ecosystem has been growing efforts to support Bitcoin NFTs. Decentralized marketplaces like Byzantion, Gamma, and HeyLayer offer a variety of services such as purchasing, selling and minting Bitcoin NFTs including music, collectibles, fine arts & photography.
Additionally, programs like the Mintery are helping creators launch successful Bitcoin-secured NFTs. Recently, the program hosted its inaugural NFT Worldwide event at Soho House in Amsterdam, onboarding artists and brands to the Bitcoin creator economy.
Today some of the most prominent Bitcoin NFT projects include Crashpunks, Megapont, and one-of-one art pieces by This is Number One in collaboration with Cara Delevigne and Chemical X.
It’s possible that many NFT projects will move to the Bitcoin blockchain. In February 2022, Satoshibles became the first NFT collection to bridge between Ethereum and Bitcoin via Stacks. While the bridge only allows projects to be active on one blockchain at a time, the technology provides multichain community aggregation, and the opportunity to leverage the benefits different chains have to offer (for example, Bitcoin’s security and Ethereum’s metaverse platforms).
A Bitcoin wallet for Bitcoin NFTs
A crypto wallet is required for processing transactions and, therefore, necessary to connect, mint, buy, sell, or transfer NFTs on a marketplace. Xverse, the most advanced web3 Bitcoin wallet available for Android and iOS, offers an in-app browser so you can easily log in to Bitcoin NFT marketplaces and sign any desired transactions.
How to create and connect your Xverse wallet:
- Download the Xverse app
- Carefully make a note of your seedphrase. You’ll need these to restore your wallet if it gets reset.
- Go to the dApp browser and insert the URL of the desired dApp
- In the top right corner, click ‘connect wallet’
How to purchase a Bitcoin NFT
If you’re new to Stacks, you will need to take a few steps to buy Stacks (STX) in order to purchase Bitcoin NFTs. STX can currently be purchased on exchanges like OKCoin, KuCoin, and Gate.io. You can also purchase Bitcoin (BTC) using peer-to-peer services like Bisq and then exchange your BTC for STX using KuCoin.
That’s it! Once you purchase STX and authorize the use of your wallet’s cryptocurrency for the purchase of an NFT, you’re ready to purchase or mint your first Bitcoin NFT.
How to mint a Bitcoin NFT
Once your wallet is funded with STX and connected to an NFT marketplace, you can either mint a recently released collection on gamma.io, purchase NFTs off the secondary marketplace, or create your own NFT. You can even mint collections (priced at more than 50 STX) using Bitcoin lightning payments via LNSwap — all from within your Xverse browser.
Connect your Xverse wallet to your desired NFT marketplace. If you’re already connected to an account, make sure it’s the right one by reviewing the top heading of the mint transaction prompt.
- Review the mint transaction prompt and click Confirm. If you’d like to adjust network fees, you can do so towards the bottom of this prompt.
- Your NFT will be minted at the next block, which usually occurs between 5–15 minutes from the time of submission. You can learn more about block confirmation times here.
Xverse: a home for your Bitcoin NFTs
To view and send your NFTs, simply navigate to the collectibles tab in your Xverse wallet by tapping on the four-squared icon. To receive a gifted or airdropped NFT, navigate to the same tab and select the ‘receive’ button. You can use the generated QR code or copy and share your wallet address.
Additionally, you can view, sell and trade your purchased NFTs in a Bitcoin marketplace by connecting your wallet to the desired marketplace and selecting your profile icon.
The future of Bitcoin NFTs
Is it possible to purchase NFTs with Bitcoin? Yes, though the technology is still developing in the Stacks ecosystem. This September, Stacks is launching Hyperchains, enabling Bitcoin NFT activities at Solana-like speeds and further initiatives continue for network bridging to move NFTs from other blockchains to Bitcoin. Additionally, Xverse is working on enabling users to be able to mint, transact, send and receive Bitcoin NFTs with native BTC. In this regard, perhaps Minecraft is ahead of its time.
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