What is CBRC-20?

CBRC-20, or "Cy[Bord]" is a new metaprotocol token standard on Bitcoin Ordinals that significantly improves transaction efficiency & utilizes several new features of the ord client.

What is CBRC-20?
What is CBRC-20 or CyBord?

CBRC-20 (also CBRC 20), or "Cy[Bord]" is a new metaprotocol token standard on Bitcoin Ordinals that significantly improves transaction efficiency & utilizes several new features of the ord client. It is significantly cheaper than BRC-20 to use, easier to index, and allows users to add their own inscription images to the deploy functions.

It's a really interesting overall improvement of the "JSON Protocol" trend like BRC-20 and SNS. Let's dive in.

What's similar to BRC-20

CBRC-2o (or CBRC 20) is just like BRC-20 in that it is a metaprotocol that uses Inscriptions as a messaging system and is indexed off-chain. It has the exact same deploy, mint, transfer functions as BRC-20 to create & transfer tokens. The indexing of the balance state of both BRC-20 and CBRC-20 is done by a 3rd party.

Users of BRC-20 will find CBRC-20 very familiar, and may not actually notice much difference at all except that the inscription image may not have the familiar {JSON BRACKETS} but rather have a "0", be empty, or even have an image in the inscription.

Below we have the deploy inscription for the first CBRC-20, "BORD" –

The First CBRC-20 Inscription

What is different with CBRC-20?

The two main differences are that CBRC-20 is a much more efficient, cheaper token standard and it utilizes features in more recent versions of the ord reference client.

In ord version 0.10.0 there is now the ability to include a metadata field. In contrast to BRC-20, CBRC-20 utilizes this part of the inscription envelope.

The format of the "metaprotocol convention" will also look a little familiar. See below the <metaprotocol>, [op], [tick], & [amt]. The difference is that these are included in the "metadata" field in inscriptions produced by ord after version 0.10.0. You can see examples of these below:

CBRC-20 Metaprotocol Convention

The operations/functions of CBRC-20 are contained in the metaprotocol field, as displayed on ordinals.com and seen below:

CBRC-20 functions

CBRC-20 brings more efficiency, and better compression

While CBRC-20 still has the structural problems inherent in BRC-20s (third party indexing, high fees on L1 scaling, etc), it is a significantly more efficient because it leverages CBOR compression. Overall, I estimate this results in ~60% lower fees for CBRC than BRC. This is pretty massive for users, who have racked up over $100 million in Inscription fees to-date, the majority of which are BRC-20 type transactions.

CBRC-20 Token Innovation & Ord upgrades

CBRC-20 allows custom MIME types for each inscription. This has some interesting possibilities for token interactions, such as minting on PFPs.

CBRC-20 Tokens Possibilities

While BRC-20 has decided on "The Freeze" which means the standard will not recognize ord updates past 0.9.0, CBRC-20 leans into future updates. This could be a double-edged sword. The whole reason BRC-20 is freezing is because of the scale of disruption changes to the ord client may have on the token balances as new inscriptions are discovered or uncursed.

Additional thoughts on CBRC-20

In a way, Cybord basically picks up where BRC-20 left off. The BRC-20 ecosystem has decided for "The Freeze" which means not evolving past ord version 0.9.0. This was done for technical & consensus reasons as it has become increasingly difficult to avoid negative impacts from development on the ord reference client.

You could argue that newer token standards like CBRC-20 actually have an advantage on BRC-20 because they can take more risks as changes to the ord reference client have less impact, and coordination to solve is more centralized.

It's particularly remarkable that this metaprotocol launched with a fully defined spec & clear indexing rules. Quite frankly, indexing other JSON/text protocols to-date has required intuiting a lot either from the barebones gitbook or the indexer implementation from the developer(s).

BROTLI compression isn't unique to CBRC-20, it could theoretically be adopted by BRC-20, but indexers & inscription services would have to update to it. Technically that would not even necessarily require an upgrade or "unFreezing" event.

CBRC-20 And The Cy[bord] project

There are supposedly future plans for the CBRC-20 protocol to come from the Cy[bord] team, CyBORg and another unknown developer (unknown to me). "It will all make sense what we're working on when we are able to roll out more of the project".

CyBORg and the team certainly seem to know their way around the ordinals protocol & development in general, so they have lots of people's attention.

As always, I want to try to remain neutral, but I can't help but be super interested in how this new metaprotocol adoption may play out.

Finally, as always a proper disclaimer. The devs/team behind Cy[bord] have borrowed the same language disclaimer that domo has at the top of the BRC-20 gitbook. We at OrdinalHub also endorse this disclaimer. Please use at your own risk.

Disclosure: I, the author, have been experimenting & minting many of these tokens.