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Top 5 BRC-20 Platforms To Trade Ordinals in 2024

1 min
Updated by Maria Petrova
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One of the latest Bitcoin innovations to sweep the market — Ordinals — has seen widespread adoption. It is only natural that popular BRC-20 platforms have emerged to capitalize on this new trend. For those looking to ride this new wave, here are the top BRC-20 platforms to find the most coveted Ordinals.

Top 5 BRC-20 platforms to trade Ordinals

1. Gate.io

Best for trading multiple blockchains
Platform
CEX
Availability
100+
Fee
0.000371 BTC (withdrawal)
Assets
Tokens and NFTs

2. OKX

Best for low fees
Platform
CEX
Availability
100+
Fee
0.08% (maker) | 0.1% (taker)
Assets
Tokens and NFTs

3. Binance

Best for quick transactions
Platform
CEX
Availability
150+
Fees
0.1% (trading) | 1% (NFT trading)
Assets
Tokens and NFTs

4. UniSat

Best for mobile
Platform
Wallet
Availability
Global
Fee
Network fee
Assets
Tokens and NFTs

5. Ordinals Wallet

Best for functionality
Platform
Wallet
Availablity
Global
Fees
Network fees
Assets
Tokens and NFTs

What is an Ordinals platform?

An Ordinals platform is somewhere you go to purchase Ordinals. This typically occurs on an exchange or a wallet. Ordinal marketplaces are not all too different from your run-of-the-mill NFT marketplace or cryptocurrency exchange.

However, Ordinals is a unique technological phenomenon unique to the Bitcoin blockchain and similar blockchain networks. Therefore, the average Ordinals platform will support both tokens and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) instead of traditional exchanges, which may support one another.

This is because the Ordinals implementation allows you to create tokens or NFTs using the same underlying concept.

brc-20 marketplaces dune analytics
Ordinals marketplace volume: Dune Analytics

Ordinal marketplaces are very popular, accomplishing almost $2 billion in volume. Importantly, Bitcoin ordinals dominated network transaction volumes on release, becoming the primary driver of transactions and fees on the Bitcoin blockchain in August 2023.

What are BRC-20 tokens?

Despite the similar names, BRC-20 has no similarities to the ERC-20 token. BRC-20 is, however, a token standard for implementing fungible tokens on Bitcoin. Let’s break it down.

An Ordinal number, also known as a unique Bitcoin NFT identifier, represents a natural number assigned to a specific set of Satoshis.

Thanks to the Ordinals Protocol, these numerically designated Satoshis can now be associated with something more concrete, such as a digital file, be it an image, video, or any other digital asset. These numbered and tagged Satoshis become NFTs that hold significance within the Bitcoin ecosystem.

The concept of BRC-20, on the other hand, is an application of the Ordinals Protocol, essentially introducing a novel inscription strategy.

It is important to note that a BRC-20 token does not function as an Ordinal or Bitcoin NFT itself. Instead, it enables the tagged or numbered Satoshis to function as fungible tokens. In summary:

  1. Ordinals: Represent natural numbers assigned to Satoshis, primarily for tracking purposes within the Bitcoin network.
  2. Inscriptions: Under the Ordinals Protocol, inscriptions involve associating these numbered and tagged Satoshis with tangible digital assets, effectively creating NFTs within the Bitcoin ecosystem.
  3. BRC-20s: BRC-20 tokens, while related to the Ordinals Protocol, serve as an experimental implementation, allowing the tagged Satoshis to function as fungible tokens within the Bitcoin network, functioning more like standard tokens than NFTs.

How do Ordinals marketplaces work?

Ordinals are a unique application initially created on Bitcoin. Therefore, they require unique implementations to facilitate trades. For example, a Taproot-enabled wallet must engage with BRC-20 tokens and safely avoid cryptocurrency scams. Most Ordinals marketplaces use partially signed Bitcoin transactions (PBSTs) to allow users to trade.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Seller’s role:
    • The seller initiates the process by signing an open and partially signed Bitcoin transaction.
    • This transaction represents the transfer of ownership of a specific Ordinal, which is essentially a unique Bitcoin NFT identifier.
  2. Buyer’s role:
    • The buyer steps in to complete the partially signed Bitcoin transaction initiated by the seller.
    • This completion typically involves adding their own signature or making any necessary adjustments.
  3. Marketplace’s role:
    • As an intermediary, the Ordinals marketplace ensures that the buyer and seller can trust the transaction.
    • It handles the coordination between the parties and may hold the partially signed transaction until both parties have completed their parts.
  4. Finalizing and broadcasting:
    • Once the buyer has completed their part and the transaction is fully signed, the marketplace converts it into a complete Bitcoin transaction.
    • This final transaction is then broadcasted to the Bitcoin network, confirming the transfer of ownership of the Ordinal.

BRC-20 marketplaces vs. traditional NFT marketplaces

In the same way that BRC-20s are different from ERC-20s, BRC-20 marketplaces have some stark differences from traditional NFT marketplaces.

Traditional NFT marketplaces have a more developed ecosystem with features like auctions, fixed-price listings, and royalties for creators on resales. They also support various wallets and have interfaces that allow for easy browsing, buying, and selling of NFTs.

Ordinal marketplcaes are newer and typically offer a more basic set of features. This is because they rely on using the Bitcoin blockchain to create unique digital assets, which may limit some functionality seen in more mature NFT marketplaces. Aside from this, the differences in each platform are more technical than conceptual. However, if Bitcoin allows for more functionality in the future, these differences may widen.

3 best Bitcoin Ordinals collections

Due to the volatile and extremely ephemeral nature of Bitcoin ordinals interest, the top Bitcoin ordinals collections can be measured using many metrics. The top collections also change frequently, and many metrics can differ based on the source.

For our method, we will use the most traders of an NFT with data sourced from DappRadar and social media presence. This will also exclude most collections that have been created recently.

1. Bitmap

Bitmap represents a metaverse initiative built on the Bitcoin blockchain, where each piece of virtual land corresponds to a specific Bitcoin block number.

“Each Bitmap/District contains a certain number of ‘parcels’… One of the cool things about parcels, is that the owner of the Bitmap can, if they so choose, inscribe one of them onto a separate Satoshi, creating a new asset.”

Neil Fitzhugh, web3 consultant: X

2. RSIC Metaprotocol

The RSIC Metaprotocol, tied to the Runes coin, introduces a novel method for its pre-launch phase by airdropping RSIC ordinals to NFT wallets holding specific collections (e.g., Bitcoin frogs, puppets, Node Monkes).

This approach redefines token distribution by activating RSIC ordinals within a wallet, which triggers the mining of Runes coins with each Bitcoin block. At its core, the RSIC Metaprotocol is a peer-to-peer system designed to mine runes.

3. NodeMonkes

NodeMonkes is an inaugural collection of 10,000 digital collectibles on the Bitcoin blockchain, inscribed using the Ordinals protocol. This project has attracted significant attention and controversy. Its creators, who prefer to remain anonymous, are behind this pixelated Ordinals endeavor and have not outlined any future utility or roadmap for the project.

What’s the Bitcoin NFT hype about?

Bitcoin Ordinals, Ordswap website

Bitcoin NFT popularity can be attributed to a few factors. Bitcoin NFTs were a new and untapped market when they came onto the scene. For better or worse, many traders constantly wait for the “next big thing” to deploy capital on the sidelines and make money.

On the other hand, Bitcoin NFTs came during a time of stagnant and under-utilized innovation on Bitcoin. So, Bitcoin NFTs and the technology underpinning them represent a step forward for some.

However, much to the chagrin of many, this has also increased block space utilization, thus skyrocketing fees on the network. This has led to some contention in the Bitcoin community and has sparked a greater conversation on what constitutes “spam” on the blockchain.

The aforementioned scenarios, in addition to the controversy around flooding block space with meme tokens and NFTs, including NFT trading, have stirred a newfound interest in Bitcoin NFTs and, subsequently, the Bitcoin protocol.

BRC-20 platforms simplify trading

BRC-20 platforms represent the tenacity of the crypto community to improve and look for innovation constantly. These Ordinals marketplaces are also a way to onboard users, which is great in a field of increasing complexity. If you have specific NFT trading needs and want to trade some BRC-20, consider exploring the BRC-20 platforms and the marketplaces we’ve recommended.

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Ryan Glenn
Ryan Glenn is a journalist, writer, and author. Ryan is motivated to educate as many people as possible on the benefits of web3 and cryptocurrency. He has authored “The Best Book for Learning Cryptocurrency,” and runs an educational platform, web3school.us, dedicated to demystifying the crypto space. Ryan built the platform to transition tech-savvy and non-tech individuals into crypto and give everyone a baseline understanding of the different fields in the cryptosphere. Ryan is also an...
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