Counterparty – The Bitcoin NFT Standard

As a general token platform, Counterparty is perfectly suited for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Crypto Token vs Art Token vs NFT
Before we start talking about NFTs it’s essential to clarify what we mean.

Art tokens are a subset of crypto tokens. An art token has an on-chain description of the artwork it represents.

NFTs are a subset of art tokens. Each non-fungible token must be distinguishable from all other tokens, even if they otherwise are identical and represent the same piece of art.

Practically speaking, the term NFT usually refers to either kind. For the sake of this article I will strictly use art tokens and true NFTs to distinguish the two.

True NFTs on Counterparty
An NFT must be issued with the following properties:

  • Supply: 1
  • Non-divisible
  • Locked issuance
  • Art metadata

OLGA was the first token with all these properties.

If you want to issue several NFTs (either multiple artworks or prints of the same piece) the Counterparty namespace is perfect. As an artist you’d first register your unique name, say JOESART. Then you create a subname for each of your NFTs, e.g.;

  • JOESART.AlienSpring.Print01
  • JOESART.AlienSpring.Print02
  • JOESART.SwedishMidsummer

The public will know that every NFT starting with “JOESART.” is from said artist.

Art Tokens
Counterparty has a long history of issuing tokens backed by art. Rare Pepe Directory is the most famous project, and a RAREPEPE token is worth more than a full bitcoin!

There are numerous other projects out there. A few examples are Spells of Genesis, Bitcorn, Bitgirls, Freeport, CrystalsCraft, Sarutobi Island, FootballCoin and Force of Will. Browse the Digirare directory to view these and many more.

In most cases it is preferable to have fungible art tokens so that these can be traded on the same market, although nothing is preventing the use of the beforementioned subname approach for truly fungible NFTs.

Image Standard
Wallets and block explorers automatically fetch images from tokens’ on-chain descriptions.

Bitcoin Integration
The big selling point of Counterparty is its close integration with Bitcoin. In fact, the term Bitcoin NFT best describes these tokens. From a decentralized sales contract (called dispenser) such tokens are traded directly for Bitcoin. All peer-to-peer on-chain, no registration, no KYC, no nonsense. No other NFT standard can do this!

The Bottom Line
Bitcoin NFTs are real. Made possible by Counterparty since 2014.

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