A small monetary bounty and an aptitude for coding were all it took to fork the Ordinals protocol to the world’s second-ever cryptocurrency network, Litecoin (LTC) earlier this week, its creator told Cointelegraph.
On Feb. 18, an Australian software engineer by the name of Anthony Guerrera posted a repository to GitHub that forked the Bitcoin (BTC) Ordinals protocol to Litecoin. This allowed for nonfungible token (NFT)-like assets on the Litecoin network in much the same way it had made it to Bitcoin earlier in the year.
In an interview with Cointelegraph, Guerrera said he was spurred to make a Litecoin Ordinal fork due to a 5 LTC bounty posted by the pseudonymous Twitter user Indigo Nakamoto on Feb. 11 that rose to 22 LTC, or about $2,000, to anyone who was first to successfully create a fork.
— Indigo | Nakamotoist (@indigo_nakamoto) February 16, 2023
“I knew it was possible because Litecoin has taproot as well as SegWit,” Guerrera said, adding:
“I was in a bit of a mad rush to try and get it done as fast as I could.”
Taproot and SegWit are the names given to the Bitcoin protocol updates that aimed to improve the privacy and efficiency of the network but also allowed for NFT-like structures called “inscriptions” to be attached to satoshis.
The cost to inscribe an image onto the Bitcoin blockchain can cost tens of dollars depending on its size but Guerrera said the cost to inscribe a litoshi — the LTC equivalent to a satoshi — is “about two cents.”
A point of contention amongst Bitcoiners is the block space Ordinals take up on the network due to their data size being far greater than transactions. Guerrera doesn’t think this issue will be as prominent on Litecoin due to its larger block size but could still possibly eventuate.
“Pandora’s Box has already been opened and someone was going to do it so it may as well be me.”
Guerrera said his LTC fork took around one week to create as “the changes were quite simple.” He explained he updated the Ordinals code to work with inputs from the Litecoin network instead of the Bitcoin network.
Parameters that differed between the blockchains such as the total possible number of coins and block time creation differences also had to be accounted for in the fork.
In a Feb. 19 tweet, Guerrera said he’d inscribed the first ever Litecoin Ordinal, putting the MimbleWimble whitepaper onto the blockchain in the so-named “inscription 0.”
— Crypto Anthony (@anthonyonchain) February 19, 2023
The inscription of the whitepaper is in the wake of the May 2022 Mimblewimble Extension Blocks (MWEB) upgrade that allows Litecoin users to opt-in to confidential transactions and other blockchain improvements such as helping reduce excess and unnecessary transaction data.
“I wanted to dedicate the first inscription to that and make it aware that Litecoin now has this privacy sidechain attached to it,” Guerrera said.
“I’m a fan of the technology and I like that privacy can become a thing on these public ledgers.”
As for the future of the forked protocol, Guerrera will “keep contributing to this fork as much as I can” and port across updates from the original Ordinals.
“I probably want to hand over this as I don’t want it to take too much of my time,” he added. “I’m doing other things. I’ve got other things on my plate.”