There's always a much deeper rabbithole.
Maybe you've been learning about Bitcoin, aped into some Inscriptions, learned to run a full node, and maybe even gotten the
ord client running. But now you're looking beyond the JPEGs & PFPs and delving into the world that is Special Satoshis. We may not be able to share the alpha but we can give you a crash course overview on why certain 'special sats' are being sold for >$1,000 / 0.03btc right now.
If you want to start hunting yourself, head to OrdinalHub's SatScanner and see if you've already got special sats!
In Casey Rodarmor's seminal blog, "Ordinal Theory", he describes numbering scheme for satoshis in the order that they are mined. The numbers of the satoshis can be represented several ways and Casey proposes 4 in his blog:
Raw Notation, Decimal Notation, Degree Notation, and ordinal "Names". The 4 representations are tracked on the ordinals.com explorer – example as below for sat 1252201400444387, the satoshi that Casey's Inscription 0 sits on:
Raw notation is numbering sats 0 -> 2.1 quadrillion as they are mined (e.g. 1905530482684727°)
Decimal notation is Block Height & Index of the ordinal within the block (e.g. 738848.482684727° which is the 482,684,727th sat of the block 738,848)
Degree notation is Cycle ° Block in Epoch ' Difficulty Adjustment '' Index in block '' (e.g. 0°108848′992″482684727‴ which is the 482,684,727th sat of the 992nd block in the 108,848th block of the halving epoch of the 1rst "cycle").
Name, is the Raw notation converted to text in Base 26.
If you run a client that is "ord aware", meaning that it ascribes to Casey Rodarmor's "Ordinal Theory", you can interpret the notation of sats
Because humans love collecting things that are special, many of us want to accumulate satoshis that are either special to us individually or what others consider valuable. Casey proposes an intuitive rarity scheme (which I call the "Rodarmor Rarity Index") that appear to be gaining adoption among Ordinal Theorists, where the first satoshi of a block ("Uncommon"), difficulty adjustment ("Rare"), halving ("Epic"), or cycle ("Legendary") is unique from other sats.
There are also other ways of finding special sats. If we consider the sat "Name", we can find words that appear in common language, e.g. a sat name that spells "cypherpunk" might be quite desirable to collectors.
Or perhaps someone would want a satoshi that was mined on their birthday.
There are likely many rarity schemes yet to be proposed or discovered, these are just some of the intuitive ones.
It's a simple concept: if you have the UTXO of a satoshi you want, you own that sat.
But how do you get a satoshi that you don't yet own? What if you are "hunting" for a satoshi somewhere out there in the Dark Forest of the Blockchain?
You could brute force it – "panning", or cycling through as many UTXOs as possible and hoping that by chance and statistics you find some gold – the one you're looking for.
Perhaps you know of a large treasury of Bitcoin, say an exchange, has a specific sat you want. You could deposit & withdraw from that exchange and hope it sends you the UTXO you want.
There are many ideas on how to best optimize this process, Casey throws out a few thoughts in this episode of Hell Money Podcast. This is very early in the game.
State of the Market
"Uncommon" sats have recently become one of the notable early collector's items. Currently there's very little market data on pricing outside of Nullish's "Uninscribed Common Sat" (listed for 2ETH, currently unsold) and Insribed "Uncommon Sats" collection (listed for 1ETH each). Nakamoto Whales inscribed over a dozen of their collection on Uncommons, purchased at an undisclosed price. There are a handful of other deals we are aware of at this time, but pricing is not public. We estimate that fewer than 100 Uncommons have been sold, likely closer to 50. There are some projects which have been inscribed on sats from 2009, numbers ending in 420, and satnames containing "BTC", for undisclosed amounts.
The market for Inscriptions inscribed on Uncommons has some references – the MagicEden floor for Inscriptions on Uncommons sits just below 1BTC, although at this time only 1 sale has occurred.