With Ordinals, Bitcoin has become a popular protocol for NFTs and tokens. The Berlin startup Ordimint helps artists and others bring the Ordinals onto the blockchain. We talked to the founders. Who, if not she, knows what is happening in the market for ordinals?
Many, including us at Bitcoinblog.de, considered the fungible and non-fungible tokens based on ordinals to be a flash in the pan. After all, NFTs and ERC tokens have been around for a long time and are integrated into a lively ecosystem, for example on Ethereum.
But the demand for ordinals transactions appears to be unbroken. That’s why we asked someone who knows more about it: the Berliners Christoph (Lightrider) and Freerk. They founded a startup called Ordimint that makes it easy to bring everything about Ordinals onto the blockchain. It was so well received that they received an investment from a New York accelerator, which also invited them to join them in the summer.
Bitcoinblog.de spoke to the two of them to find out more about what they do and what the ordinals are like.
Hello Christoph, hello Freerk! What did you like so much about Ordinals that you made it your full-time job?
Christoph: The Ordinals came out in February and I immediately liked how well thought out and cleanly structured the concept was. You simply write the data into a Taproot script and then track the first Satoshi. It’s simple but effective, so you can easily build something on top of it. That probably explains why it’s so successful.
Have you had anything to do with tokens and NFTs before?
Freerk: No, we are in a completely different community. The big protagonists in the NFT market sometimes have more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, but none with me, which never happens with Bitcoin people. This is a separate bubble – which is nice because new people come from an artistic background and are keen to get involved with Bitcoin.
Christoph: I just wanted to experiment with a new concept. I had done a lot with Lightning before, and now it’s interesting to work onchain again. Since you need a full node and an ord node to put ordinals on the blockchain, this is usually far too complicated for artists. So I built a website where you can pay via lightning for us to inscribe something. A lot of people liked that, and one thing led to another.
Freerk: We just like to tinker. Chop around a bit.
What exactly can you do on your website?
Christoph: We want to cover everything that involves ordinals. With us you can mine inscriptions, i.e. NFTs, but also BRC tokens or tap tokens and more. We also offer a wallet for Odinals and are experimenting with the protocols that are currently forming. Freerk has built encrypted ordinals so you need a password to view them.
Freerk: Everything is still fresh in Ordinals Space. Nobody knows exactly where we’re going, but we’re there, ready and taking part.
Christoph: Not everything is good. For example, I find the BRC tokens quite inefficient because you need two transactions to send them. The Tap tokens are a little better, but I hope there will be even better protocols with Taro or Taproot Token.
Freerk: We also integrated the .sats domains, and there was a lot of demand for that in March. People probably thought they could be speculated on in the same way as Internet domains. But as far as I know, there is no system at all for how people can use this.
Christoph: That’s just some data in json format. There are even more domains, such as .btc, and also Bitmap, where you can buy pieces of maps on the Bitcoin blockchain. A lot is happening and we don’t implement everything right away. If we did that, we would have something new every day.
The killer app from Ordinals is still missing. Still, they hold up. Do you know why?
Christoph: Because people still think it’s cool. The tokens, like Bitcoin and ERC tokens, are about speculation and have a similar audience. When it comes to inscriptions, i.e. NFTs, we see that many people are switching from other blockchains, from Ethereum or Solana. They appreciate that images are stored completely onchain and on the most secure blockchain.
Freerk: That opens up a different approach to Bitcoin, and because Bitcoiners are fundamentally collectors, they like that.
What is the greatest demand for?
Freerk: That varies. BRC-20 tokens have been trendy for a long time. When some tokens were mined to the end, things slowed down again for a while.
Christoph: You can’t simply distribute the BRC20 tokens, you can only specify the maximum supply. Then people mine it themselves. You can mine about 1,000 tokens per transaction, but if there are 21 million tokens in total, you have to mine them 21,000 times. Therefore, the new tokens trigger waves of transactions that can last for months.
Freerk: A project ended about a month ago. Then there were almost no more ordinals transactions. But since then it has started again. Now 50-60 percent of all Bitcoin transactions are inscriptions. You’ll probably have to get used to that.
Are there any useful and successful projects with Ordinals tokens, like stablecoins on other blockchains?
Christoph: The Orditoken was quite successful. You could mine this for 80 cents in March, but today you pay $35 per token. And it was intended to be a worthless test.
Freerk: A token is just a json text. It’s not like Ethereum or Solana that you can do funky things with smart contracts. Therefore, there are no stories like DeFi so far.
Christoph: With the new tap token you can do a little more, such as liquidity mining or staking, and probably more. This is a slightly more complex protocol.
There are many success stories with NFTs on Ethereum, such as the CryptoPunks, Bored Apes or the works of artists like Beeples. Are there comparable successes with the Inscriptions?
Christoph: The Taproot Wizards became known among NFTs; they even collected 7.5 million in venture capital just for their 1,121 pictures. They are extremely successful because Udi and Eric are extremely good at triggering Bitcoiners. They also do good marketing, in Miami they appeared in a wizard costume and at Inscribe Amsterdam they held a wizard party.
You also have a category for “News” that you can upload. Is this used?
Christoph: This is a news standard that was created at the beginning of the Ordinals era to perpetuate news on the blockchain. I like the idea, but it’s not heavily used. It only makes sense to store information on the blockchain if you want it to still be there in 100 years.
What would be relevant?
Christoph: In Bali they are currently trying to inscribe the cultural treasure as a proof of concept. I find something like that exciting. You could also write down the location of nuclear repositories so that you never forget where they are.
Freerk: Or even personal. Just like cutting a heart with initials into a tree. When you fall in love, when you get married, when you have a child, when someone dies. In the future, blockchain archeology will certainly be extremely interesting; you can see, like the rings of a tree, which protocols existed at what time.
I recently read that someone is uploading a video to the blockchain, in many individual parts…
This reminds me of Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV). A few years ago they experimented with loading data onto the blockchain and connecting them. Do these experiences flow into the work with ordinals?
Christoph: Funnily enough, quite a bit. There is a BSV space in Berlin where I was at a meetup, B2029. Some former BSV people work with Ordinals, I think from Twetch. What they tried back then partly comes back to Bitcoin. As far as I know, no protocols have been adopted so far, but that could still change.
At that time, it was a standard question how to deal with criminal data, classically child pornography.
Freerk: Technically, the Ordi wallets and Explorer have a block list of inscriptions that have been reported. But so far it is empty. There was a discussion like this before, when someone uploaded a pedophile link list onto the blockchain. There was an outcry, but people forgot about it after that. We occasionally look at what people are minting, there’s a lot of nonsense there, but so far I haven’t seen any pornography or swastikas.
10Christoph: I came across breasts once, but that was a gif. Of course, you have to admit that you can’t stop anyone from uploading data to the blockchain. But you also have to say that if someone uploads child pornography, they will be persecuted, especially by the Americans, and through Bitcoin they are also laying a trail to themselves.
Freerk: The question still hangs over us a bit like the sword of Damocles, because it could become illegal to operate a full node.
What do you expect for the future?
Christoph: To be honest, I have no concrete idea. I think BRC volume will slow down and be replaced by things that make sense. The limited block space is like a filter. If you do stupid things, you’ll run out of money. But many people are just waiting for fees to go down to enroll. Therefore I think it will persist as background noise and it will take a very long time for the mempool to empty.
Freerk: I think it happens in waves. When fees are high, it’s not worth enrolling 1,000 NFTs, but when they go down, it’s worth it again. So there will be ups and downs and I think it will stay that way. With the Ordinals we have a buyer of last resort for Blockspace. This also ensures the security of Bitcoin. Miners have already earned more than $100 million through Ordinals.