Bitcoin Ordinals Token Ecosystem Emerges as Latest Crypto Play, Led by ORDI Hype

Overall capitalization of such tokens has risen over 21% in the past 24 hours, outperforming most other token sectors.

AccessTimeIconNov 16, 2023 at 10:41 a.m. UTC

Tokens based on the Bitcoin blockchain are emerging as the newest play among market participants after weeks of a bitcoin (BTC) price frenzy driven by expectations of an exchange-traded fund approval.

The BRC-20 category of tokens has added some 21% as a sector in the past 24 hours. Infrastructure token trac (TRAC) rose 93% to lead the gains, followed by meme (MEME) at 69% and nals (NALS) at 36%.

The BRC-20 standard (BRC stands for Bitcoin Request for Comment) was introduced in April to allow users to issue transferable tokens directly through the network for the first time. The tokens, called inscriptions, function on the Ordinals Protocol. That protocol allows users to embed data into the Bitcoin blockchain by inscribing references to digital art into small bitcoin-based transactions.

Earlier this month, ordi (ORDI), a token tied to the Ordinals Protocol, was listed on influential exchange Binance, fueling a 50% price jump within hours. That helped spur bullish sentiment for BRC-20 tokens among traders, who hypothesized the Bitcoin token ecosystem could be a new avenue to search for profits.

Data from Ordinals tracker OrdSpace shows over 37,000 BRC-20 tokens exist as of Thursday.

Some of the top BRC-20 tokens. (OrdSpace)
Some of the top BRC-20 tokens. (OrdSpace)

Meanwhile, some popular social applications built on Bitcoin have started to introduce in-game tokens as part of attracting new users and boosting revenues.

Alpha, an application that lets X (formerly Twitter) personalities issue ‘keys’ on its app for access to a closed group chat, started to allow users to offer their own tokens to users on Wednesday.

These in-app tokens are designed to be cheaper than ‘keys,’ allowing their holders to participate in community games and lottery wheels. Alpha calls itself a “super app,” offering users a decentralized exchange, an NFT marketplace and a gaming store.

Alpha developer @punk3700 previously told CoinDesk that bitcoin’s usage in DeFi applications has so far been limited to tokenized representations of bitcoin on other chains, such as Ethereum or Solana, but that Alpha’s developers believed a gap remained for wealthy bitcoin holders to use their assets on interactive applications.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.