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Bitcoin Ordinals Explorer Raises $2 Million, Embraces Runes Tokens

With the Runes protocol launch set for this weekend alongside the Bitcoin halving, Ordinals explorer is beefing up its treasury, announcing on Wednesday the raise of $2 million that the company says will be used to hire more developers.

Bitcoin Frontier Fund and Sora Ventures led the pre-seed funding round. Other investors include Eden Block, Arca, Longhash Ventures, Daxos Capital, Portal Ventures, UTXO Management, Rubik Ventures, VitalTao Capital, Antalpha Ventures, Kommune Fund, Edessa Capital, PetRock Capital, PG Capital, Shake and Bake Productions, Re7 Capital, and Balaji Fund.

Launched in March 2023 by software developer Zach Meyer and pseudonymous NFT historian Leonidas, lets users discover, upvote, and comment on Ordinal inscriptions.

“I’m incredibly excited about the wave of innovation and exploration emerging on Bitcoin. Products and technologies that were previously constrained to various alt-chains are being reimagined and built on Bitcoin,” Meyer said in a statement.

“In years past, much of the developer excitement was focused around projects like Ethereum and Solana,” he continued, “but we are witnessing Bitcoin reclaim the mind-share amongst developers.”

Collectors can sort their search by metrics, including the number of the Inscription or if the inscription is “cursed” or “normal.” Cursed Inscriptions refer to Ordinals that the Ord indexer originally overlooked, causing them to not show in wallets and marketplaces.

Inscriptions can also be searched using specific attributes, or “Satributes,” as they are called on For example, an inscription labeled “pizza” contains a sat used to buy the two Papa John’s pizzas by Laszlo Hanyecz in 2010—the iconic “Bitcoin pizza” incident.

Since the launch of the Ordinals protocol in January 2023, over 65 million inscriptions have been made on the Bitcoin blockchain, according to data compiled by Dune.

In September, Ordinals creator Casey Rodarmor announced plans to launch the Runes protocol to power fungible tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. Runes aims to solve many problems facing Ordinals inscriptions, like wasted block space.

The Runes protocol is set to debut alongside the Bitcoin halving, currently expected to take place on Saturday. It’s said to be a more efficient way to mint fungible tokens on Bitcoin than last year’s Ordinals-based BRC-20 standard, which started as an experiment. Some BRC-20 tokens have lost significant value in the run-up to the Runes launch.

“We believe that minting Runes will be a very popular activity on the Bitcoin network over the coming year,” co-founder Leonidas told Decrypt. “We expect half of all Bitcoin transactions to be mints, and see an incredible opportunity to help build experiences around minting. This starts with discoverability.”

Leonidas said is focused on the early stage of the Rune rollout, emphasizing the belief that Runes will become the dominant fungible token protocol on Bitcoin. Looking to the future, Leonidas said that will continue to enhance the user’s experience by obsessing over customer needs and simplifying the platform.

“When a feature feels done, you have to go back and force yourself to try to find at least one way to make it better,” he said. “If you do that enough times, you can create something very special.”

While the future of Runes is unknown—despite the apparent hype growing around the launch—Leonidas said that the main point of this raise is to continue building on Bitcoin.

“When someone comes to Bitcoin wanting to collect JPEGs, trade meme coins, or do DeFi, we want to be the trusted facing platform that they come to,” he said. “It is hard to know exactly what the landscape looks like in five years, but one thing is for sure: We will still be building on Bitcoin, and only Bitcoin.”

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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