Amidst the bustling Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami last week, a unique phenomenon was observed—a convergence of Ethereum developers intrigued by Ordinals, a protocol that has taken the Bitcoin world by storm. This innovative protocol has ushered in a wave of hype, experimentation, and unparalleled innovation within the realm of the world’s largest and oldest cryptocurrency.
One notable startup making waves at the conference was OrdinalSafe, a self-custodial Bitcoin wallet specifically designed for Ordinals. What makes this startup remarkable is the fact that a significant portion of its development team hails from an Ethereum background, well-versed in the intricacies of the second-largest token by market capitalization.
OrdinalSafe’s participation in Bitcoin 2023’s “Pitch Day” proved to be a memorable experience as they secured second place in the infrastructure category. CEO Esad Yusuf Atik expressed his excitement, recounting the nerves and elation of presenting their product’s vision to the audience.
Atik, a 22-year-old developer from Turkey, had his first taste of the Web3 bug during a hackathon in 2020. He and his team previously developed Proof of Innocence under Chainway, a protocol created to assist users in proving that they hadn’t deposited funds from a sanctioned wallet address into Tornado Cash—an Ethereum coin mixer. Their project received widespread attention, including recognition from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin during a stage appearance at the Community Ethereum Development Conference.
However, Atik’s fascination with Ordinals took hold in February when he discovered it on Twitter. This led him and his fellow developers to immerse themselves in creating OrdinalSafe, ultimately leading them to the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami.
While not all Bitcoin enthusiasts embrace Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies, the atmosphere at Bitcoin 2023 exuded a welcoming spirit. Atik found solace in the fact that regardless of their Ethereum background, developing on Bitcoin inherently makes them part of the community.
Yet, the acceptance of Ordinals within the Bitcoin community remains a subject of debate, as evident in “The Great Ordinal Debate” during the conference. Critics argue that the experimental BRC-20 tokens built using Ordinals have strained Bitcoin’s network and driven up transaction fees. This concern raises questions about the potential impact of Ordinals on Bitcoin’s ecosystem, including the possibility of pushing miners further toward MEV (maximal extractable value) and its associated challenges.
Nevertheless, the presence of well-established Web3 technologies and concepts in Bitcoin-related discussions signifies a cultural shift within the cryptocurrency space. The fact that Bitcoin Magazine’s main stage featured conversations about rollups, MEV, and decentralized exchanges on Bitcoin showcases the evolving culture and integration of different ideas.
Bitcoin 2023 proved to be a turning point for OrdinalSafe, attracting significant investor commitments following their commendable performance during Pitch Day. However, OrdinalSafe wasn’t the sole Ethereum-based project embracing Ordinals at the conference. Subjective Labs, led by founder Eril Ezerel, presented BestinSlot.xyz—an Ordinals explorer enabling users to track inscriptions, NFT-like assets, and BRC-20 tokens on Bitcoin. The platform already monitors over 1,100 Ordinals collections, including intriguing names such as Bitcoin Frogs, DogePunks, and BTC Virus, along with data on over 28,000 BRC-20 tokens.
Ezerel likened Ordinals to a horn that has resounded, attracting legions of individuals back to Bitcoin. Despite a learning curve for newcomers navigating the Bitcoin network, their passion for digital art and collectibles remains strong. The influx of enthusiasts from Solana and Ethereum has created a vibrant atmosphere in projects like BestinSlot.xyz, fueling excitement and experimentation.
Ordinals is still in its early stages, and its future remains uncertain as Web3 pioneers venture into the Bitcoin realm. Despite facing criticism, Ordinals has garnered support from Bitcoin miners, who benefit from increased transaction fees, as well as major developers and Bitcoin owners who embrace the protocol’s potential. The notion of “Bitcoin maxi” sentiments dominating the community is challenged by the prevailing excitement and curiosity surrounding Ordinals.
As the Bitcoin and Ethereum ecosystems continue to intertwine, Ordinals stands as a testament to the progressive integration of diverse ideas and technologies. The boundaries between cryptocurrencies are blurring, paving the way for a future where innovation knows no limits. Bitcoin 2023 marked a pivotal moment in this journey, bringing together visionaries and developers who are shaping the future of finance.