Bitcoin collectibles: a diamond in the rough
Ordinals and BRC-20s, if you didn’t get in on them earlier this year you probably won’t be anytime soon. Let’s be honest, the tech is still a bit rough around the edges, both in the UX and the products themselves. Not yet shiny enough to attract the trading volume that we see elsewhere, Bitcoin blockchain collectibles have taken a big hit in this bear market. Still, they are a diamond in the rough, and I can’t shake the feeling that as a whole we are not sufficiently bullish on what’s about to come on Bitcoin.
Sales of ordinals and BRC-20s are down, with their total non-fungible tokens declines outpacing other blockchains if you look at this year alone. From Bitcoin’s peak of US$196 million in sales this May to August’s US$11.9 million, sales are down 93%. Ethereum’s 2023 peak of US$969 million in February to US$226 million in August represents a 73% decline, while Solana is down 77% and Polygon is down 49%.
Others have pointed out similar numbers, but I don’t love the comparison, especially in this highly speculative market with bubbles around new tech. Bitcoin’s ordinals and BRC-20s were just born this year, feeding into a sales bubble that all other chains saw during their initial NFT surges last year. If you compare the all-time high of each blockchain’s monthly sales to August 2023, you’d be hard-pressed to see any difference between Bitcoin’s 93% decline and the rest. Ethereum is down 95% from its US$4.9 billion peak in January 2022, and Polygon and Solana are both down 90% from their peaks last year.
Hopefully there’s no disagreement about the importance of this comparison, just like none of us would question Bitcoin’s dominance in global adoption and security. The two knocks against Bitcoin that I mentioned earlier, (the lack of smart contracts, and the general weakness of the wallets, marketplaces, and more) are similar to how Ethereum started, with no smart contracts, and marketplaces like OpenSea that sometimes wouldn’t load for days on end. Bitcoin is in the exact place it should be, just over half a year into its roadmap.