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Bitcoin Ordinals Inscriptions Sales Skyrocket: ‘Genesis Cat’ Draws Comparisons to 2022 NFT Frenzy

Last Updated January 23, 2024 12:01 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated January 23, 2024 12:01 PM

Key Takeaways

  • The sale of ‘Genesis Cat’ is a sign of growing interest in NFT-like assets minted on the Bitcoin blockchain.
  • The auction also included 19 other Ordinals inscriptions, collectively bringing in around $1.1 million.
  • Ordinals inscriptions’ success resembles Ethereum’s NFT boom, but some criticize their use on Bitcoin.

The auction of a digital image called ‘Genesis Cat’  from the Taproot Wizards project marked a high point in the rising interest in NFT-like assets minted using the Bitcoin blockchain’s Ordinals protocol.

This surge in popularity was evident as Sotheby’s successfully auctioned a total of 19 lots from this collection, cumulatively fetching an impressive $1.1 million.

‘Genesis Cat’ Fetches $254,000 at Sotheby’s, Exceeding Expectations

Bradley Keoun reports that ‘Genesis Cat ‘, a unique digital art image minted using the Bitcoin blockchain’s Ordinals protocol by Taproot Wizards, achieved a remarkable sale price of $254,000 at a Sotheby’s auction. The piece, crafted by artist Francisco “FAR” Alarcon, was a one-of-a-kind creation featured in Sotheby’s larger sale of Ordinals inscriptions. The auction, which commenced on January 12, wrapped up on Monday.

Surpassing its estimated value of $15,000 to $20,000 by more than twelvefold, the sale of “Genesis Cat” follows Sotheby’s successful auction of three pixelated images from the “BitcoinShrooms” collection  last month, which collectively brought in $450,000. The artwork was part of the “Ordinals Curated Sale” that included 19 lots from 11 artists, collectively earning around $1.1 million, as per Sotheby’s spokesman Derek Parsons. Additionally, Lot 17, titled “Black Rare Sat 20,159,999,999,999 ,” fetched $165,100, setting a record for a so-called “Rare Satoshi ,” known for their unique features and high desirability, Parsons told CoinDesk.

Ordinals Inscriptions Surge Mirrors Ethereum’s Past NFT Boom

The staggering sales figures for Ordinals inscriptions, often dubbed as “NFTs on Bitcoin,” are drawing parallels to the NFT boom that previously swept the Ethereum blockchain. This burgeoning interest has not only caused congestion on the Bitcoin network but has also sparked criticism from some traditionalists who advocate for preserving the blockchain’s capacity exclusively for financial transactions.

Sotheby’s, in its description of the Genesis Cat auction lot , highlights the creator Francisco “FAR” Alarcon  as an artist and engineer who delves into the fusion of visual arts and technology. This intersection is exemplified in Alarcon’s work, which has become a part of this new, headline-grabbing trend in the digital art world.

Sotheby’s stated :

“His research delves into the material history of computer-generated graphics, examining digital imaging from historical and conceptual perspectives. He investigates computer simulations and visualizations, focusing on their impact on our understanding of the physical world through film, video games, and virtual worlds.”

Post-$7.5 Million Funding Success

The “Genesis Cat” artwork served as the cornerstone in Taproot Wizards’ series of 3,333 “Quantum Cats,” marking its first sale since the innovative Ordinals “NFTs on Bitcoin” project garnered $7.5 million in investor funding  last year.

The Quantum Cats collection pays tribute to a specific Bitcoin improvement proposal, known as OP_CAT , a detail highlighted in a press release from Taproot Wizards.

Dan Held, the Chief Marketing Officer for Taproot Wizards, informed CoinDesk that the sale price of the “Genesis Cat” will be reinvested into the project, benefiting both the project and the artist, who is also a co-founder. Additionally, Held clarified that the price achieved at Sotheby’s includes the auction house’s fee, which is added to the winning bid.

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