NFTs can give Bitcoin a facelift as it increases blockchain demand

NFTs can give Bitcoin a facelift as it increases blockchain demand

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Welcome back to Chain reaction.

The last few weeks in cryptoland have been focused on the latest craze: Ordinals.

What are Ordinals, you might ask? They are NFT-like Bitcoin digital artifacts that are on the blockchain.

Although the project is not the first to try to bring NFTs into the Bitcoin blockchain, it is definitely gaining the most traction today.

About 122,500 ordinals have been entered, which is jargon for created (or minted), to date, according to data from Dune Analytics. The number of total inscriptions is up 40% from about 88,000 on Tuesday. On February 8, the number of signed Ordinals peaked above 21,000, and Wednesday was the second highest day with over 17,7000, the data showed.

“It’s really escaped, it’s gone nuclear,” Casey Rodarmor, creator of Ordinals, shared with TechCrunch. “There are people building things that I don’t even hear about until they launch. So it’s really about where people want to take this.”

Although things have started strong, time will tell if the project will continue to grow and compete with large NFT ecosystems on chains such as Ethereum and Solana.

More below.

This week in web3

The Ordinals creator sees his Bitcoin-centric creation as digital artifacts, not just NFTs (TC+)

TechCrunch sat down with the Ordinals creator to discuss the inspiration behind the rapidly expanding NFT-like Bitcoin project. “I thought I was building something good, and I thought I was meeting an unmet market need that NFT collectors had expressed a desire for,” Rodarmor said. And by the current market response, his creation actually met this demand.

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Crypto exchange Binance expects to pay penalties to settle US investigations

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, expects to pay a fine to settle investigations into its US operations, a top executive said in a major discussion after disputing the idea it was under investigation and mocking media outlets for reporting otherwise. In an apparent admission of breaking the law, Binance Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hillmann told the WSJ that the company’s executives were not familiar with laws and regulations written around bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Bitcoin NFTs are growing rapidly as the community sees long-term potential (TC+)

Following the topic of Ordinals, TechCrunch also spoke to a handful of experts about what Ordinal’s growth means for the Bitcoin ecosystem. Although Ordinals and Bitcoin NFTs in general are exploding, it is still in very early stages, especially compared to giants like Ethereum and Solana. “If Bitcoin wants to remain the most decentralized, widespread and productive cryptocurrency, it needs something like [Bitcoin NFTs] to push it forward,” said Alex Adelman, co-founder and CEO of Bitcoin rewards platform Lolli.

The SEC’s proposal could affect which crypto companies can manage assets (TC+)

The US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule on Wednesday that could back crypto companies further into a corner as regulators continue to crack down on the space. The SEC voted 4-1 in favor of a proposal that would require registered investment advisers (RIAs) — such as wealth managers or hedge funds — to hold clients’ money and securities with qualified custodians such as a bank, broker-dealer or trust company when storing digital assets, largely leaving crypto companies in the outskirts.

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Do you want to buy an NFT with your credit card? Magic Eden allows you to do just that (TC+)

One of the biggest complaints in the crypto world is that the technology is difficult to use. But as the ecosystem develops, many large players try to remedy the problem through new ramps or payment solutions. MoonPay, a web3 infrastructure company, has teamed up with Magic Eden, one of the largest NFT marketplaces, to help make NFTs more accessible through old-fashioned tricks, the companies announced on Monday.

The last pod

We released a fun bonus episode this week that dives into TechCrunch’s newest podcast: Inside Startup Battlefield, a four-part series that takes you behind the scenes of the Startup Battlefield competition.

For last week’s episode, Jacquelyn spoke with Gwendolyn Regina, director of investments at tier-1 blockchain BNB Chain. Prior to her current role, Gwen worked at Facebook, or as some now call it, Meta, building a new business unit for venture capital partnerships and startup growth. She is also the founder of a few different businesses and a founding team member for the early stage technology investment company Thymos Capital.

Launched in 2020, BNB Chain was first started by Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume. Since then, BNB Chain aims to be a decentralized, community-owned separate entity from Binance with a focus on three audiences: retail markets, builders and developers, and to bridge Web 2.0 businesses to web3, Regina shared.

Gaming on the BNB Chain has also grown “organically through robustness and cheaper fees,” but the blockchain team is “doubling down” in that sector to encourage more players and developers to play and build on the chain, Regina added.

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We also discussed:

  • The dApps developers build on the chain
  • BNB’s investment strategy
  • What investors look for in entrepreneurs
  • Advice for startups launching in a bear market

Subscribe to Chain reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to catch up on the latest episodes, and leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

  1. Stelo Labs Raises $6M in 16z-Led Round to Help Crypto Wallet Users Protect Themselves
  2. Crypto index platform Alongside raises $11 million led by a16z
  3. Monad Labs raises $19 million to expand its smart contract platform and improve the Ethereum space
  4. Caldera raises $9 million from two rounds led by Sequoia and Dragonfly Capital
  5. Ironblocks raises $7 million to protect decentralized finance and web3 from threats and theft

This list was compiled using information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

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