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What Are Sats Names on Bitcoin?

3.7
| by
Joel Agbo
-

What Are Sats Names?

Sats names are ordinal inscriptions on satoshis that allows users to attach human-readable names and other data to their Bitcoin wallet addresses.


Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin ordinals allow anyone to create a number of things on the blockchain by attaching additional data to satoshis, the smallest denomination of Bitcoin. Ordinal naming services like Sats Names are one of these use cases.

  • Sats names attach extensions like .sats and .xbt to the selected names. Investors transacting on platforms and wallets where the sats naming service is integrated can use their registered names in place of their wallet addresses.

  • You can use the sats name API to check for availability before registration as sats names operate on a “first is first” approach.


what are sats names

The Bitcoin blockchain has fallen prey to the same threats that rocked the Ethereum blockchain at the advent of DeFi. Delayed transactions, thousands of unverified transactions in the mempool, and a few media outlets reckon that ‘this’ could break the Bitcoin blockchain. 

This is the ordinals protocol and has been the top story of the Bitcoin blockchain this year. It started with Bitcoin ordinal NFTs and branched out into BRC-20, and now we’re seeing the rise of naming technologies built on the Bitcoin blockchain – the Sats Name Standard (SNS).

What is the Sats Name Standard (SNS)?

The Sats Name Standard (SNS) lets you attach a name to your Bitcoin wallet. SNS integrates records of the readable names and the wallet it is attached to into the Bitcoin blockchain, and allows external services to utilize their technology in several ways, like developing P2P payment systems that use human-readable names in place of the traditional wallet addresses.

This naming feature on Bitcoin could be compared to naming services like ENS (Ethereum Name Service) and Unstoppable Domains on Ethereum. Just like SNS, these services also allow you to attach names to your wallet. But do note that SNS is still in its earliest stage and has yet to gain the level of application as the aforementioned services.

SNS names consist of a human-readable name or digits with a suffixed .sats extension. There are also a number of other naming projects that leverage the Ordinals protocol, which use different extensions like .unisat and .xbt to denote names attached to a wallet using their facility or protocol.

SNS has seen a significant level of adoption – data from the project’s documentation page reports that over 250,000 names with the .sats extension have been created as of June 2023, with over 50,000 unique owners. Elsewhere, the project reports that over 120,000 names with other extensions (like .ord, .xbt, and .btc) have also been created.

Considering how rigid the Bitcoin blockchain is thought to be, the idea of SNS could be a little confusing to understand, so how exactly does this work?

How Do Sats Names Work?

In November 2021, the Bitcoin blockchain underwent what was dubbed its most significant advancement since the genesis block. The Taproot upgrade was meant to introduce a number of abilities to the Bitcoin blockchain in an attempt to put it in a better position to live up to the growing applications of blockchain technology.

However, a loophole in the Taproot allowed the attachment of extra data to the virtual cryptographic tokens generated on the Bitcoin network. Data in the form of JSO (Javascript Object) Notations can be attached to satoshis. These data range from simple strings to multimedia objects like pictures and videos. Satoshis with attached data can be spent like any other sats on the Bitcoin network, but the data they carry is recognized on the network, and commands attached to them are also executed. Ordinal NFTs and BRC tokens have been created by attaching multimedia and token contracts respectively to satoshis.

SNS works in a similar way, but this time, it attaches a name to a Bitcoin wallet address by inscribing the wallet name details on a satoshi. The image below shows an ordinal on Sat 1729457328801622. This inscription registers the name Satoshi.sats on the Bitcoin network. 

Satoshi.sats

The inscribing wallet takes ownership of this name and can transfer it to another wallet like NFTs or fungible tokens. This name can also be attached to a personal wallet in an advanced transaction.

An advanced registration program for sats names allows users to attach extra information to the sats they are inscribing on using the JSON5 syntax. It takes the following structure.

Sats Names SNS fields

"P" notifies the ordinal protocol of the naming service to be used and "OP" denotes that the name to be registered is a new one. Using the "name" object, the registrant enters a desired name and uses the ‘rev’ notation to designate this name to a wallet address. "Relay" informs indexers that this SNS name points to another inscription, linking them and giving the related inscription a human-readable name. In the above example, white-paper.sats now points to Satoshi's Bitcoin white paper. 

On completion, the inscription is integrated into the network. A few things to note are that the chosen names are converted to lowercase letters on integration and there must be no space between the names. Any UTF-8 character is accepted, and names can contain a mixture of numbers and alphabets.

Only one name can be attached to an ordinal and SNS has a "first is first" rule. The "first is first" rule means that the first registrant of any name is the rightful owner of the name. Therefore, while a name can be registered as many times as possible, the earliest inscription is the original name. The image below shows over 1180 search results for the “satoshi.sats” name, however, the earliest ordinal (#162136) is the rightful owner of the name. 

first is first sats name

Subsequent developments in this space could keep users from registering the same name, before this is developed, it is recommended that one verifies the availability of a desired name before inscribing them as a new name.

How to Check the Availability of a Sats Name?

To avoid registering an already registered name, it is recommended that you check if the name you wish to register has already been taken. A good way to do this is by placing it in the sats name API and searching on the web (https://api.sats.id/names/yourname.sats). To do this, replace "yourname" in the url with your preferred name, and hit enter. In this instance, you'll see that the name gecko.sats has already been taken.

Use api.sats.id to check for name availability

After running another check for joelx.sats, this sats name hasn’t been registered.

name available

What Can Sats Names Be Used For?

Even in its early days, SNS have found a number of use cases and could even gain more utility in the future.

Human-Readable Wallet Names

The primary goal of sats name is to build a name library on the Bitcoin blockchain and mirror the services provided by projects like ENS on the Bitcoin blockchain, and even better. At this time of writing, SNS names are yet to be integrated into Bitcoin wallets as a replacement option for the alphanumeric Bitcoin wallet addresses as in the case of Ethereum addresses. 

However, native Ordinals wallets like UniSat have already developed this system on their platform. To send Bitcoin, BRC-20 tokens, or ordinals NFTs to a peer through the UniSat wallet, the sats name attached to the receiver’s address can be used. Depending on how successful ordinals and sats names become in the future, this could be developed for normal Bitcoin wallet applications.

Human-readable names are important for Bitcoin adoption; after all, the long chain of numbers and letters as an address is almost impossible to memorize. Addresses that can be memorized at a glance simplify payment and reduce the risks of sending funds to the wrong receiver.

Tradable Non-fungible Assets

Sats names can be traded on NFT markets that support ordinals. You can trade sats names on Magic Eden, Ordinals Wallet, and UniSat’s marketplace. You can list your sats names for sale and purchase wallet names that catch your interest.

Data Storage

In addition to the nominals, extra data can be inscribed on the satoshi using the ordinal protocol. Using this feature, one can attach multimedia, data files, and strings of data and store them forever on the Bitcoin network as part of the contents of their sats name. Considering the fact that the blockchain itself is a good data storage option, holding this data under a wallet address makes for easy access. There have been some experimental inscription websites where everything on the site is hosted on Bitcoin, and the "relay" command in the sats name relays to the inscription website. 

Institutional Payment Structures

While sats names are still maturing, a possible future use case for sats names could be enabling institutions to accept bitcoin payments made to a .sats suffix of their name.

Top 5 Sats Names Categories

Names inscribed with the .sats extensions are springing up on the Bitcoin blockchain, with over 250,000 names already registered by about 50,000 ordinals enthusiasts. If you’re looking for an idea when creating your sats name, we take a look at the top 5 most popular name categories as of time of writing.

Top 5 Sats Names Categories

The 100K Club

The 100K club consists of sats names with 5 digits ranging from 00000 to 99999. Over 5,700 owners have inscribed sats names in the 5 digits category, with over 47,000 names registered. The 100K club is the most minted sats name category, although it has less unique owners than the 5 and 4 letters categories.

4 Letters

With almost 6,700 owners, the 4 letters sats name structure is the second most-owned .sats inscription on the bitcoin blockchain at the time of writing, with 17,588 of these having been inscribed so far. Sats names in the 4 Letters collection only consist of letters of the alphabet.

3 Letters

3 letter sats names boast over 5,560 owners and over 17,500 inscriptions. They consist only of three letters and come third in the ranks of inscription count.

5 Letters

5 letters sats names have the most unique owners, with over 6,700 people owning 15,173 sats names. Like the other letters category, 5 letters sats names consist only of 5 letters. 

The 10k Club

With just 10,000 inscribed so far by just under 2,400 owners, the 10K Club is the fifth most popular sats name collection. They consist of only 4 numbers, from 0000 to 9999.

NB: Registration, ownership, and transaction data presented for each name category below were obtained from Satosea.

How to Inscribe a Sats Name

Certain ordinal sites offer users an easy way to inscribe a sats name. In this instance, we'll use UniSat, which  although you can also choose to use Ordinals Wallet or OrdSwap

Download the UniSat Wallet

First, install the Unisat wallet by clicking Download. Complete the download and installation process, then click Connect to connect your wallet to the platform.

install UniSat

Inscribe Your Sats Name(s)

To inscribe, click Inscribe from the top menu and select .sats names, which will open a popup. If you're using a UniSat wallet, it will be automatically entered in the "Receive BTC Address" field.

Inscribe sats name UniSat

Enter the Sats Name(s) To Be Inscribed

Enter the name(s) you wish to inscribe and click Next to start the validation process. UniSat validates the provided name and notifies you if they are available or already taken. You can proceed to inscribe on both occasions but note that the first registrant is the only true owner of the name.

sats name validation

Click Next to proceed. Your connected UniSat wallet address is automatically entered as the recipient of the name, although you can replace this with another wallet address if you wish. Select a fee plan and click Submit & Pay Invoice to continue.

Select sats name and make payment

Ensure you make payment before the timer runs out, and with that, you're done!

Complete payment for sats name

Final Thoughts

SNS, BRC-20, and ordinal NFTs are the main products of the early-stage ordinal technology on the Bitcoin blockchain. They have seen a widespread and positive reception as the number of adopters grows. Human-readable names for cryptocurrency wallets are almost as important as any other technology attempting to simplify blockchain interactions. 

Similar services like ENS and Unstoppable Domains are also working on simplified and multipurpose naming services for personal wallets. ENS is focused on Ethereum while SNS is local to the Bitcoin blockchain. You can take advantage of the early-adopter privileges and register your favorite names and attach them to your wallet(s). With SNS, there is the potential for new advancements on the Bitcoin blockchain, as seen with ENS and Unstoppable Domains.

Having said this, it is important to understand the intricacies of SNS and also the duplicate name phenomenon. Also, keep in mind that ordinals are still new and experimental technology, and could be prone to a number of issues. This could get better in the future, but it is important to apply caution and limit losses. Also, note that this article is only for educational purposes and not financial advice.

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Joel Agbo
Joel Agbo
Joel is deeply interested in the technologies behind cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks. In his over 7 years of involvement in the space, he helps startups build a stronger internet presence through written content. Follow the author on Twitter @agboifesinachi

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