Ordinals creator views his Bitcoin-centric creation as ‘digital artifacts,’ not just NFTs

Ordinals, a Bitcoin-based NFT-like project, has expanded significantly over the past two weeks, but its creator, Casey Rodarmor, said he had no idea it would explode.

“I thought I was building something good and I thought I was meeting an unmet market demand that NFT collectors had expressed a desire for,” Rodarmor told TechCrunch.

By the current market’s response, his creation did in fact meet that demand.

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

The Bitcoin community has been somewhat divided on whether NFTs on its blockchain are a good thing. While many see them as a positive, fun way to further grow its ecosystem, some “Bitcoin maximalists” oppose them for taking up block space on the network and making transaction fees more expensive, among other things.

“My theory on why this blew up is that [the community] saw this controversy, but then they saw exactly what they wanted — on-chain, immutable NFTs that are there forever. Like, fuck yeah, sign me up,” Rodarmor said.

Rodarmor’s Genesis inscription, which is the first Ordinal inscription — or inscription 0 — was some “tiny pixel art” of a skull that marked the beginning of it all, he said. The image was timestamped on December 14, according to the Ordinals website. It pays homage to the first block to be mined on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is commonly known as the Genesis Block. “It’s really simple, but I’m proud of it,” he added.

An image of the first inscription, a sugar skull, from the Ordinals NFT project

Image Credits: Ordinals inscription 0 (opens in a new window)

The second inscription, inscription 1, was made three days later. It an image of the infamous CryptoDickbutts NFT. No, that’s not a typo.

Rodarmor is a long-time Bitcoiner and programmer artist. He said he’s made art using code in the past, but it was always a hobby before he created Ordinals. In 2021, when NFTs started gaining interest, he saw the space as something he wanted to dive into, “even as a hardcore Bitcoiner who saw altcoins as uninteresting,” he joked.

In early 2022, Rodarmor decided he would figure out a way to create NFTs on top of Bitcoin’s chain. “So I came up with Ordinals, or Ordinal theory, when I’m being tongue-in-cheek.”