Inscriptions in Reverse: The Quirky Journey of Cursed Ordinals


It seems as though a day doesn’t pass without something new happening with Bitcoin Ordinals. Huge strides in both the advancement of the technology and the shift in culture for Bitcoin has been dominating headlines since they burst onto the scene back in February.

So, what is today’s development? This is an odd one. Strap in.

What Are Cursed Inscriptions?

Cursed inscriptions can be explained in simple terms as negative numbers attached to Bitcoin Ordinal inscriptions. Where normally one would inscribe a text or an image and the inscription count would rise, cursed inscriptions work in the opposite manner where negative values are displayed and count backwards with each inscription that is created.

Simple, right? Essentially, these are like defects in the overall collection. Like a collectible baseball card that has a small printing error on it that the main collection doesn’t have.

It all started when a group of developers discovered a bug in the existing Ordinals code responsible for the standardization of inscriptions. Casey Rodarmor, the creator of Ordinals, became aware of the loophole and posted on github his thoughts and potential solutions for the bug, where he mentioned: “consider these new inscriptions “cursed” and assign them negative inscription numbers.”

Rodarmor went on: “At a future, pre-announced block height X, new inscriptions that would have been cursed before X are now not cursed, or “blessed”, and receive a positive inscription number instead of a negative one.”

Essentially, this means that time is of the essence for these cursed inscriptions and the fix is in the works. However, not quite just yet, and Ordinal enjoyers have been taking full advantage of the situation before the final bell rings.

The Race For Sub (SUB) 10K

History started repeating yesterday as a huge rush to inscribe cursed inscriptions below (or is it above, in this case?!) the 10K mark. The first 10K inscriptions on the standard collection have blossomed into a highly prized asset, and so logic suggested to many a speculator that the first -10K would be a worth punt to take.

It’s been suggested that owning a 10K inscription plus an identical image of it held in the cursed sub-10K category could be a unique collectors item some time in the future, and so many opted to do just that and create the “cursed twin.” Popular collections such as Bitcoin Punks, DogePunks, Inscribed Pepes and Ordinal Penguins were seen in the sub-5K range.

It’s not too far-fetched to believe that the value of these cursed inscriptions holds potential for future appreciation. Once the glitch is resolved, new cursed ordinals will no longer be inscribed, making the existing ones increasingly rare and sought after……possibly.

What’s Next?

There’s a debate going on about how to handle these anomalies. Casey Rodarmor, despite saying previously that they would likely stay fixed with their original minus inscription number, appears to be having second thoughts:


In light of this, the future of where nonstandard inscriptions end up is anyone’s guess. The current count of cursed inscriptions is up to -50,000 and counting (backwards.) Speculators have not been deterred by Rodamor’s comments, with many frantically minting the first cursed BRC-20 token, $CRSD, regardless.

Points To Be Aware Of

If you’re looking to get involved and mint a few before time runs out, it’s important to note that Xverse, Hiro, Ordinals Wallet, and other well-known wallets will not recognize these inscriptions. The only wallet that does is Sparrow Wallet. Sparrow is not particularly user friendly for the newcomer, so if you do dive in, my advice is to do as little as possible with that wallet to avoid any mishaps. Use it as a receiving address and close the application.

Eventually, there could be support on other wallets for cursed inscriptions, and at that stage you would be able to import your Sparrow wallet into that one by inputting the 12-word seedphrase.

A handy guide on how to inscribe a cursed inscription can be found below. Exercise caution when doing so, and of course, none of this is financial advice; there couldn’t be anything more speculative than cursed Bitcoin JPEGs in this current climate.

Cursed Inscription Minting Guide

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