Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, announced on Monday an expansion of its non-fungible token marketplace: pending support for Bitcoin NFTs, better known as Ordinals. The move coincides with the steep rise of NFTs on that blockchain, with over 5 million inscribed since launch just a few months ago.
Mayur Kamat, Binance’s Head of Product, said in a statement that “Bitcoin is the OG of crypto. We believe things are just getting started here and can’t wait to see what the future holds in this space.”
According to the announcement, Binance will allow users to trade Bitcoin Ordinals directly from their Binance accounts, eliminating the need to create a Taproot-compatible wallet. There will also be royalty support and additional revenue-generating opportunities for Bitcoin Ordinals creators.
Binance’s NFT marketplace currently runs on three blockchains: BNB Chain, Ethereum, and Polygon. If successful, its expansion would make it the one of the first centralized cryptocurrency exchanges to provide support for Bitcoin Ordinals.
As part of its ramp up, Binance has put out an open call to “quality NFT collections” on the Bitcoin blockchain, with the desire to collaborate. The larger goal for Binance is to support the growth and development of the Ordinals ecosystem, providing more opportunities for creators. Binance’s integration of Bitcoin Ordinals onto its marketplace will go live in late May, though the exchange hasn’t announced a specific date yet.
Meme Coin Fever Grips Bitcoin Ordinals Traders
The Bitcoin Ordinals standard initially launched in January, and NFT enthusiasts quickly turned to the technology, inscribing tens of thousands of non-fungible tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. That momentum has sped up throughout 2023, with the total count of Ordinals on Bitcoin surpassing 5 million.
But there has been a change in the wind. According to Dune Analytics, the majority of Ordinals inscribed on the blockchain have been through another standard: BRC-20, which allows for the creation of fungible tokens similar to Ethereum’s ERC-20 standard. Put another way: Meme coin frenzy has reached Bitcoin. The following table shows the percentage of Ordinals transactions out of all Bitcoin transactions, separated between BRC-20 token transactions and NFT transactions:
Domo, an anonymous analyst, created the BRC-20 standard as an experiment to add fungible tokens to the Bitcoin blockchain. Using the standard, individuals have created tokens like “ordi,” “pepe,” “meme,” and “nals,” and on some days, BRC-20 tokens are accounting for more transactions than standard Bitcoin transactions. According to BRC-20.io, they have a combined market cap of more than $700 million.
But it has had unintended consequences, causing congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain. As of two days ago, there were hundreds of thousands of pending transactions, and Binance had to halt Bitcoin withdrawals twice due to higher than usual transaction fees.
While Ordinals are still just taking off, there’s no doubt that, with the new standards, Bitcoin has moved beyond its widely accepted purpose as a store of value into more unknown territory.