Cryptocurrencies March 17, 2023
Ordinals: Bitcoin NFT Sales Surge as ‘Inscriptions’ Hit 385K in 2 Months
When software engineer Casey Rodarmor launched the Ordinals protocol three months ago, the NFTs market had lost steam from its 2021 peak. Now, the protocol has triggered a lot of interest, with crypto enthusiasts embedding a total of 385,000 “inscriptions” on Bitcoin.
Known as Ordinals, the ‘inscriptions’ are Bitcoin’s own version of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Of the total inscriptions to date, 200,000 are image files and over 150,000 based on text, and 17, 000 are apps, according to Glassnode Market Intelligence, as reported by Reuters.
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Ordinals sales reach millions
Rodarmor launched Ordinals on the Bitcoin mainnet on January 21. The new protocol uses what he calls “inscriptions” to create and store NFTs on the network. Ordinals are created by adding things like text, audio or images on the Bitcoin blockchain.
He said the inscriptions are made on the smallest Bitcoin unit known as a “satoshi,” or “sats,” to create unique and “true digital artifacts [that are] decentralized, immutable, always on-chain, and native to Bitcoin.” The NFTs can be held and transferred across the network.
Several Bitcoin NFT projects have emerged ever since. It includes Bitcoin Punks, BTC Machines, Pixel Pepes and others. According to the Reuters report, NFT traders around the world are back in the money. Others have made millions of dollars from the trade of Ordinals. One such entity is Yuga Labs, creator of the popular Bored Apes NFTs.
The company created a collection called TwelveFold. It is a limited edition and experimental collection of 300 generative art pieces inscribed onto satoshis on the Bitcoin network. Yuga announced it made $16.5 million, or 736 BTC, from the sale of 288 images in the collection.
“These pieces represent a complete art project and will not have other utility or interact with or be related to any previous, ongoing, or future Ethereum-based Yuga projects,” it detailed.
It’s not just Yuga Labs cashing in on Ordinals. Other Bitcoin NFTs that have fared pretty well on the market range from JPEGs of rocks to crowned shadowy images that have sold for $213,845 and $273,010 respectively, according to data from Galaxy Digital Research.
Growing Bitcoin NFT interest
Galaxy expects that the total value of Bitcoin NFTs to reach $4.5 billion by 2025, building on growth already established by Ethereum-based NFTs.
In the shadow of the Blur against Opensea conflict, “Ordinals are quietly having their own marketplace wars,” said the pseudonymous on-chain analyst Domodata. In late February, volume reached 1.5 million on the Ordinals Market platform alone.
The exchange “is using existing Ethereum infrastructure [emblem vaults & reservoir] whilst the others are embracing novel Bitcoin native solutions. As it stands, volume is roughly split between the chains,” the analyst observed.
At the beginning of March, total marketplace volume for Bitcoin NFTs surpassed $6.1 million, with around 10,000 unique users, per Dune Analytics data. By comparison, it took OpenSea, the biggest marketplace for Ethereum-based NFTs, 14 months to achieve similar volume.
In the shadow of the Blur vs. Opensea conflict, Ordinals are quietly having their own marketplace wars. 1/x pic.twitter.com/pWkZgjR0le
— domo (@domodata) March 5, 2023
In total, NFT sales – excluding Ordinals – amounted to $1 billion last month, up more than 200% from $324 million in November, according to CryptoSlam. However, the figure is still a but a fraction of the $5 billion recorded in January last year and $2.7 billion in May.
Despite joining the party late, Ordinals have proved a hit with collectors. As per Glassnode data, Bitcoin non-fungible tokens now represent 7% of the total number of transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Nightmare come true
The growth is a nightmare come true for Bitcoin fundamentalists, who worried that Ordinals could lead to congestion on the Bitcoin network as the NFTs compete with normal financial payments for block space. The worry has become reality.
Ordinals have caused a significant surge in the usage, fees, and storage space of the Bitcoin network. Proponents consider this “a major breakthrough for the Bitcoin application tier and can shift the narrative from being solely a ‘store of value’ to more practical use cases.”
The average cost of sending a transaction over the Bitcoin blockchain has spiked from $0.97 on Jan. 25, just days after the Ordinals launch, to over $2.40 as of Mar.15, according to data provider Ycharts. The numbers reflect the increased trade in Ordinals.
Further data from Blockchain.com shows that the seven-day average confirmation time for Bitcoin transactions rose to more than 186 minutes in late February, a peak last seen in November following Bitcoin’s selloff. The number averaged 12 to 35 minutes in January.
Utilizing the Bitcoin Taproot upgrade of 2021, Casey Rodarmor emphasized that his Ordinals protocol posed no threat because it does not require “any changes to Bitcoin” to create a non-fungible token on the network. But not everyone is thrilled about the new kid on the block.
Ordinals face resistance
There has always been questions on how Bitcoin would handle huge traffic if non-fungible tokens and other decentralized applications launched on the blockchain. Fundamentalists argue the cryptocurrency was meant to be used only for payments.
Any use of the network outside of financial transactions detracts from the original vision of the pseudonymous Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, they say. Prominent Bitcoin core developer and Blockstream CEO Adam Back described Ordinals as “crap” and urged miners to censor the NFT-like items as a “form of discouragement.” That tweet was later deleted.
In 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto responded to a question on whether Bitcoin should be used for non-financial purposes with an emphatic “No”. There are no quick answers as to how NFTs on Bitcoin will develop, or to what extent they could fracture the community. We’ll see.
Blur Marketplace Trumps OpenSea in Sales for 3rd Straight Month
NFT marketplace Blur has become the highest-generating trading volume platform in the digital collectibles space over the past three months. The platform surpassed OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace by all-time trading volume, in December 2022.
During the last month of the worst year in decentralized finance (DeFi) history, Blur saw approximately $364 million in Ethereum NFT trading volume.
Within the same period, OpenSea recorded a volume of around $169 million. In simple mathematics terms, NFT traders poured about $196 million more into Blur than OpenSea.
Since Ethereum is the largest blockchain by all-time sales volume, positively skewed activities towards Blur rather than OpenSea have raised a few eyebrows in the digital arts sector.
Blur cements the top spot
While the New Year has been billed by many analysts as a year of recovery for several sectors of the crypto economy, the NFT space has been the best-performing category on an industry-wide scale.
The total trading volume stood at roughly $729 million and Blur had the lion’s share with approximately $325 million (which is represented by 45%). OpenSea’s volume, by comparison, was $241 million during the first 31 days of the year.
During its first full month as an NFT marketplace, OpenSea surpassed Blur by bringing in $146 million in trading volume compared with Blur’s $114 million. As of March 2023, Blur had seen increased interest buoyed by the airdropping of its novel token BLUR which culminated in a trading volume of around $1.1 billion month-to-date.
Its closest competitor at the moment had a volume which was more than three times lesser than Blur, as illustrated by the following image.
According to DappRadar, activity on Blur increased by 142% from October 2022 to January 2023 which led to the NFT marketplace reaching an average daily unique active wallets (UAW) of more than 3,000.
Blur reached a daily volume high of around $99 million on Feb. 19 through the activities of more than 16,000 UAWs involved in over 43,000 transactions.
Blur’s new token
While Blur has become the latest threat to OpenSea’s dominance of NFT trading volume, the latter has seen stiff competition before from X2Y2 – a marketplace launched in February 2022.
During 2022, X2Y2 surpassed OpenSea for several months but its monthly volumes of $55 million (December 2022), $93 million (January), and $53 million (February 2023) has been dwarfed by the metrics of Blur.
The latter’s eponymous new token was launched in the second month of the year and appeared on the crypto price tracker CoinMarketCap on Feb. 14.
After opening and reaching a peak price of $4.5 on the same day, BLUR plunged to a new low of $0.4318 and closed the day at $0.6531.
On its opening day as a tradable asset, BLUR’s trading volume surpassed $450 million. As of Feb. 24, traders have cashed in their gains, and the token has shed more than 90% of its value.
Fetch.ai (FET) Shoots Up More Than 500% Amid February Gains
FET, the novel token of Fetch.ai, an AI lab with a mission to democratizes access to AI technology, has exploded by over 500% on the back of trending products and usage across the globe.
As a low-cap digital asset, FET opened 2023 with a trading price of $0.09166 with a relatively lower trading volume of about $5.5 million, corresponding to a market capitalization of $75 million.
Thriving on the resurrection of AI, big data, metaverse tokens and metaverse stocks, FET rose by 200% to close the first month of the year with a trading price of $0.2758.
FET makes early gains in 2023
In the crypto market, digital currencies normally follow the price patterns of the two largest digital assets by market capitalization, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). While SingularityNET (AGIX) is not among mainstream cryptocurrencies, it is the biggest AI token by market value, and a spike or plunge in its price is felt across the entire sector.
In the first week of February, SingularityNET forged a new partnership with Cardano, a major blockchain protocol which continues to achieve milestones. This alliance positively affected the price of its novel token AGIX and spread through the AI token space.
After opening February at $0.2757, FET, like AGIX, rose significantly in value to a monthly and yearly high price of $0.6004 on Feb. 8.
As a result, investors that held FET from Jan. 1 to the eighth day of February saw gains of 550%. While the token tested a monthly low of $0.2585 on the first day of the month, it ended the period with a much-improved price of $0.4396. In 28 days, FET increased by 59%.
Bullish forecasts for FET
According to analysts at Investors Observer, FET is among a list of cryptocurrencies that commands a long-term technical score of 92 based on factors like support and resistance levels and its historical trading patterns.
The strength of such factors is why David Cox at CryptoNewsZ has bullish forecasts for FET, which he foresees reaching a maximum price of $2.74 by 2030.
After bringing in 380% in returns year-to-date (YTD), FET holders have seen a substantial rise in their portfolios.
Will increased patronage of the platform, coupled with soaring AI usage, continue to prime the price of FET? Only time will tell.
AI Token SingularityNET (AGIX) Rockets
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) keyword displays 1.2 billion Google results in just 0.44 seconds. While the term continues to trend across various search engines and social media platforms, one area benefiting directly from the advancement of AI tools and applications is AI tokens.
SingularityNET (AGIX) is among the most popular digital assets operating under the AI banner, with the currency having soared by over 1,300% in 2023.
AGIX is the novel token of SingularityNET, a blockchain-powered platform that allows users to create, share, and monetize services related to the booming AI sector.
The token opened the year on Jan. 1 with a trading price of $0.04603 and a relatively small daily trading volume of $886,504. The token’s market capitalization, meanwhile, was around $52 million.
With the entire crypto economy on an uptrend, AGIX closed January with a much-improved price of $0.177, and in the process brought 285% gains to investors that held the token throughout the first month of the year.
AGIX hits yearly high with Cardano partnership
On Feb. 7, SingularityNET announced that it has partnered with Cardano, one of the protocols purporting to have solved the blockchain trilemma of security, decentralization, and scalability.
SingularityNET will tap into Haskell, a programming language developed by Charles Hoskinson’s project, and it will strengthen high applications for its developers employing MeTTa (Meta Type Talk), a Domain Specific Language (DSL) with strong ties to AI. Essentially, MeTTA allows autonomous interoperability between multiple AI services.
The effect of this announcement was a spike in AGIX’s price to a monthly and yearly high of $0.6637 on Feb. 8 after beginning the month with a trading price of $0.177 and testing a daily low of $0.1672 on the same day.
AGIX spiked by 1,341.89% from Jan. 1 up to Feb. 8 and despite a severe correction largely due to the taking of profits by some traders, the token maintained its momentum and closed the month at a reduced price of $0.4923.
During February, daily trading volumes rose from a low of $35 million to a high of $502 million. Bullish sentiment took market capitalization above the $500 million milestone to $593 million by the end of the second month of 2023. AGIX went up by 178% within 28 days.
Elon Musk’s AI research lab rumour
According to a report by Rowan Cheung, a stakeholder of the AI industry who commands a massive social media following, Elon Musk is developing an AI competitor to ChatGPT.
Cheung said the Tesla mogul has recruited a former researcher at Alphabet’s DeepMind AI to oversee the development of an alternative tool that can compete with ChatGPT. Such news could serve to further promote FOMO as the AI hype cycle accelerates.
Long-term holders of AGIX continue to see their portfolios in green. Despite the ups and downs in a market where more than 20,000 cryptocurrencies compete for the same resources, AGIX has risen by 970% since the start of the year.
As of 10:30 UTC on March 2, AGIX trails only The Graph (GRT) in the ranks of the top AI and big data tokens by market capitalization. It remains the largest AI-powered token by market value.
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