Bitcoin Ordinals Are Reshaping the NFT Marketplace Landscape

By Decrypt March 05, 2024 In Bitcoin, NFTs, Trading

Demand for NFTs has been growing in recent weeks amid rising cryptocurrency prices, and Monday’s $16 million sale of a CryptoPunk—the fifth-most expensive NFT sale to date—put an exclamation point on that trend.

But the top overall NFT marketplace over the last few days isn’t the same one that ruled the pile as recently as mid-February, as the tides of the marketplace wars have shifted yet again. And the latest startup to take the throne can credit Bitcoin Ordinals for much of that shake-up.

Magic Eden is now the top marketplace by trading volume, according to blockchain data curated by Tiexo, with approximately $44.7 million worth of trades over the last 24 hours—good for a nearly 38% share of overall NFT trading. The Ethereum-only Blur is next up at $30.4 million, or about 26% share. Over the last seven days, Magic Eden is still on top with a 35% share.

Scroll all the way down on that list of marketplaces, past the once-dominant OpenSea and Solana’s typical leader Tensor to platforms with lesser market impact. What’s missing? Any other multi-chain marketplace that supports Bitcoin along with other blockchains.

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Magic Eden is the only such example, and while the marketplace began on Solana and has made an effort to keep that allegiance a key part of its identity, it’s Bitcoin Ordinals trading that has propelled the $1.6 billion NFT startup’s latest surge.

Ordinals are the Bitcoin equivalent of NFTs, emerging at the start of 2023 and rapidly becoming one of the most popular chains for unique digital assets. Magic Eden was quick on the uptake, launching Bitcoin Ordinals support in March 2023 as part of its multi-chain mindset.

Now with Bitcoin itself nearing the all-time high price set in 2021, Ordinals sales are piling up and Magic Eden is hosting the lion’s share of them—including the $1 million sale of a NodeMonkes inscription early Monday.

Over the last 24 hours, about 84% of Magic Eden’s trading volume came from Ordinals sales, with its Solana marketplace responsible for about 13% and its newly launched Ethereum marketplace grabbing the last 3% of that tally.

Chris Akhavan, Magic Eden’s marketplace GM, told Decrypt that the impact of embracing Ordinals and expanding its multi-chain approach has been “enormous,” with Sunday marking the startup’s all-time best single day for Bitcoin trading as well as cross-chain trading volume. About $40 million of that came from Bitcoin Ordinals sales.

“More importantly, we’ve seen an entire new field of creators emerge who have brought innovation to the space, and introduced NFTs to an entirely new audience by leveraging the mother of all blockchains,” Arkhavan added.

Will Magic Eden be able to maintain this momentum? The crypto market is fickle, and the NFT market arguably even more so. But the buzz around Bitcoin and a potentially imminent new all-time high price has been building for some time, and the NFT space feels more lively than it’s been since the bull run days of early 2022.

Magic Eden’s Diamonds rewards system could play a role in keeping traders at the marketplace, too, as could the upcoming NFT token drop from the Non-Fungible DAO, which is working closely with the marketplace and will reward its users in the airdrop.

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