Bitcoin NFTs Explode in Popularity as BitMEX Research Shows 13,000 Ordinals

Interest has skyrocketed following the first Ordinals transaction on Dec. 14.

AccessTimeIconFeb 8, 2023 at 10:47 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 8, 2023 at 11:45 p.m. UTC

Crypto derivatives firm BitMEX has identified over 13,000 Ordinals NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain, evidence that buzz about a still-young flavor of non-fungible tokens is growing fast.

The firm’s research arm published a blog post on Wednesday showing that 13,000 Ordinals were minted or “inscribed” between their debut on Dec. 14 and Feb. 7.

In a few short weeks, the sudden influx of JPEGs and other media files onto Bitcoin has consumed 526 megabytes (MB) of block space and cost creators 6.77 bitcoin (roughly $155,000 at the time of publication), according to the post.

When plotted out graphically, the total number of Ordinals transactions to date shows a steep “hockey stick” curve, indicating NFT activity on Bitcoin has gone exponential.

The surging popularity of Ordinals has drawn the ire of prominent Bitcoiners such as Rene Pickhardt, who accused the Ordinals crowd of “spamming” the most dominant blockchain with oversized JPEGs.

Critics like Pickhardt have some data to back their view. Ordinals’ share of total Bitcoin transactions barely cracked the 3% mark on Wednesday, yet they consumed nearly 70% of the Bitcoin block space.


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Frederick  Munawa

Frederick Munawa was a Technology Reporter for Coindesk. He covered blockchain protocols with a specific focus on bitcoin and bitcoin-adjacent networks.