• This is an opinion editorial by Mark Goodwin which discusses the difference between ordinal and cardinal numbers as it relates to Bitcoin.
• Ordinals is an open-source project from Bitcoin developer Casey Rodarmor that uses an arbitrary but sensible framework for tracking the lineage of individual satoshis using ordinal numbers.
• The Bitcoin network assigns each satoshi a unique ordinal number at block issuance, with 100,000,000 satoshi groupings conventionally being referred to as „a bitcoin.“
What are Ordinal and Cardinal Numbers?
Ordinal numbers denote rank or position in a system, while cardinal numbers tally how many units of something there are. In bitcoin terms, the chain’s block height would be an ordinal number – the 10th block – whereas the amount of satoshis in a transaction fee would be a cardinal number, 1000 sats.
Ordinals Project by Casey Rodarmor
Ordinals is an open-source project from Bitcoin developer Casey Rodarmor consisting of two distinct parts; Ordinal Theory and Inscriptions. Ordinal Theory is an arbitrary but sensible framework for tracking the lineage of an individual satoshi using an ordinal number it acquired at issuance. At current difficulty, miners use this reserved but otherwise empty input as extra nonce space for hashing.
The Bitcoin network is a series of peer-to-peer databases, full of integers that contain the current state of the protocol. You can think of ordinal theory as a conceptual social lens for all the numerical data presented in bitcoin’s blocks. By making (cc: arbitrary) rules for viewing how individual satoshis are theoretically distributed after a bitcoin transaction, Ordinal Theory simply suggests a singular perspective to interpreting Bitcoin, explained in its Index.
Every satoshi is given a unique ordinal number as early as the candidate block, starting from 0, and will continue until counting up to just below 2.1 quadrillion, with 100,000,000 satoshi groupings conventionally being referred to as „a bitcoin.“ This number is set at block issuance regardless of any successful miner completing blocks thereafter.
In conclusion, understanding the difference between ordinals and cardinals when it comes to Bitcoins can help developers better understand how transactions take place on their blockchain platform and track how individual Satoshis are distributed within transactions more efficiently using Ordinals project created by Casey Rodarmor .