Digital collectibles are becoming increasingly popular, with the latest craze surrounding Bitcoin ordinal inscriptions. The total number of these inscriptions has already surpassed 550,000, thanks to the increased interest sparked by replicas of the popular NFT collection, Bitcoin Apes.
A recent study by Dune Analytics has found that the total daily transaction costs for minting bitcoin ordinal inscriptions hit a new all-time high on March 23, amounting to 9.28 BTC, which is equivalent to approximately $257,460. Since the inception of the ordinals project in January 2023, around $3.3 million in transaction fees have been paid to store photos, text, and even video games on the original blockchain.
Bitcoin Apes, a variant of the well-known Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, is being copied on the Bitcoin network, leading to an increase in transaction costs. Leonidas, a pseudonymous NFT historian, claims that Bitcoin Apes follow the same logic as Bitcoin Punks, stating that the first byte-perfect picture of a bored ape to get inscribed is the actual one. Over 8,000 Bitcoin Apes have already been inscribed.
Despite the concerns of some BAYC members that duplicates of their NFTs may be manufactured and exchanged on the Bitcoin network, Leonidas assures that blockchains address the issue of provenance for digital art, clarifying that only legitimate BAYC holders can access the original and bored apes.
Although JPEGs are gaining popularity on the Bitcoin network, most ordinal inscriptions are still written in the form of text. However, initiatives like Bitcoin Apes may answer the question of what to do when the predetermined Bitcoin block rewards inevitably run to zero in 2140, according to Leonidas.
In conclusion, the culture of digital collectibles is evolving and expanding to other blockchains, as demonstrated by Bitcoin Apes. While concerns over duplicates exist, blockchains offer a solution to ensure the legitimacy of digital art. As transaction costs continue to rise for minting Bitcoin ordinal inscriptions, the practice may provide a new stream of revenue for miners, ultimately contributing to the safety of the Bitcoin network.