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Ethscriptions offer distinct advantages in consensus mechanism, cost efficiency, and data persistence compared to Layer 2 solutions.

There is an emerging concept called Ethscriptions that aims to redefine traditional subscription models in the world of blockchain innovation. Tom Lehman, co-founder of Genius.com, introduced this innovative product on June 17, which has gained a lot of attention since then. 

In a testament to its appeal, over 140,000 Ethscriptions have been generated to date, showcasing the immense interest surrounding this novel approach. Adding to the excitement, Lehman introduced Ethereum Punks, a collection of 10,000 unique digital collectibles, which were swiftly claimed within hours.

The Ethereum blockchain, often likened to a supercomputer composed of a distributed network of computers, serves as the foundation for Ethscriptions. Ethscriptions, in essence, are encapsulated chunks of call data that can store images or text. But how do Ethscriptions work? Let’s get to it.

Working of Ethscriptions

Ethscriptions leverage Ethereum’s “calldata,” which refers to the data transmitted within a token, enabling communication with other entities and interact with smart contracts. This mechanism allows for the direct inscription of non-financial data onto the Ethereum main chain.

Ethscriptions operate through the following steps to facilitate the creation, transfer, ownership, and identification of these unique data entities:

Creation of Ethscriptions: Ethscriptions are generated through successful Ethereum transactions. The input data of the transaction, when interpreted as UTF-8, form a valid data URI

To ensure uniqueness, the content of the data URI must differ from any existing Ethscription within the same block or previous blocks. Duplicate content is disregarded to maintain originality. Ethscriptions support all valid mime types, enabling the storage of diverse non-financial data.

Ethscription Transfer: A valid Ethscription transfer occurs when an Ethereum transaction’s input data includes the transaction hash of a valid Ethscription. The transaction sender must be the current owner of the Ethscription, ensuring proper authorization for the transfer. Through this transfer, the ownership of the Ethscription is transferred from the sender to the recipient.

Ownership and Creator Identification: The recipient specified in the creation transaction becomes the initial owner of the Ethscription, gaining control over its associated non-financial data. On the other hand, the sender of the creation transaction is acknowledged as the creator of the Ethscription, establishing their role in the Ethscription’s creation process.

Source

Do Ethscriptions Matter?

Ethereum, often described as a decentralized cloud computing platform, differs from traditional platforms like AWS, which is controlled by centralized entities such as Amazon. Ethereum’s decentralized nature ensures that control over the platform is not concentrated in the hands of a single entity, offering a more democratic and inclusive ecosystem.

However, Ethereum faces challenges when it comes to competing as a general-purpose cloud computing platform due to the high costs associated with decentralization. Computation on Ethereum can be prohibitively expensive, making it impractical for projects without immediate financial returns or those focused on experimentation and exploration.

To address this issue, Ethscriptions concentrate on utilizing Ethereum’s calldata functionality to provide a “dumb” data store, according to Lehman. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethscriptions

Ethscriptions offer distinct advantages regarding consensus mechanism, cost efficiency, and data persistence. However, they also come with limitations in functionality and ecosystem support. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of Ethscriptions in more detail:

Advantages:

Strong Consensus Mechanism: By operating directly on the Ethereum blockchain, Ethscriptions benefit from the robustness and security of Ethereum’s decentralized consensus protocol.

Cost Efficiency: Depending on the data size, Ethscriptions can be more cost-effective to mint than standard ETH NFTs. For example, a Punk ethscription requires significantly less gas usage (26k units) than a standard NFT (~100k units), even without on-chain metadata. 

On-Chain Data Persistence: One significant advantage of Ethscriptions is that all data associated with them are stored directly on-chain. In contrast to many existing Eth NFTs that rely on external storage solutions like IPFS or centralized servers, Ethscriptions ensure that the data remains fully on-chain. 

Disadvantages:

Limited Functionality: Ethscriptions primarily serve as static blobs of data on the blockchain. They lack programmability and cannot be changed or updated once created. Any interpretation or intelligence associated with the data must occur off-chain, limiting the range of potential applications for Ethscriptions. Currently, the primary function of Ethscriptions is trading.

Metadata Size Limitation: Ethscriptions constrain the size of metadata that can be included. This limitation can be a drawback for use cases requiring extensive metadata. It restricts the additional information or context that can be stored alongside Ethscriptions.

While some have criticized the new protocol, others note that it’s nothing new.

Although Lehman describes Ethscriptions as a “huge success” at launch, he plans to continue innovating. A recent tweet from Lehman states that Ethscriptions broke all records this weekend, exceeding his expectations in terms of volume! 

While Ethscriptions offer advantages such as a strong consensus mechanism, cost efficiency, and on-chain data persistence, they are currently limited in functionality and ecosystem support. The ability to change or program Ethscriptions is absent, and there are few dApps available to handle them properly.

However, as the popularity and demand for Ethscriptions increase, these limitations will likely be addressed, leading to expanded functionality and a more vibrant ecosystem. You can learn more about creating Ethscriptions of your own here.