Home / News / Crypto / Bitcoin / Casey Rodamor’s Runes: Bitcoin Ordinals Inventor to Change the Game, or is Bubble About to Burst?
5 min read

Casey Rodamor’s Runes: Bitcoin Ordinals Inventor to Change the Game, or is Bubble About to Burst?

Published April 17, 2024 5:09 PM
Eddie Mitchell
Published April 17, 2024 5:09 PM
By Eddie Mitchell
Verified by Peter Henn
Key Takeaways
  • Bitcoin’s ecosystem is expanding as Runes now makes it possible to mint fungible tokens on Bitcoin.
  • The new protocol, created by Casey Rodamor, aims to solve the inefficiencies of Ordinals.
  • Bitcoin Runes will launch this week on block 840,000, coinciding with the Bitcoin Halving.

Bitcoin Ordinals creator Casey Rodamor has launched a new protocol for minting fungible tokens onto the Bitcoin network called Runes.

With the intent of bringing greater flexibility, innovation, and solutions such as decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the Bitcoin blockchain, Runes could be the ‘next big thing’ for crypto, or just another tech bubble.

One for Memecoins and the Degens

Amid a memecoin frenzy, Rodamor took to social media on April 1, 2024, to announce Runes. Which could have easily been perceived as nothing more than a classic April Fool’s joke. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, the post was legitimate.

Runes is a new fungible token standard launched on Bitcoin. It’s a spiritual successor to the BRC-20 standard introduced with Ordinals last year and aims to improve upon some of its shortcomings.

Seemingly, this creation brings classic crypto degeneracy and memecoins to the once-conservative Bitcoin network.

The Reasoning Behind Runes

The launch of the Ordinals protocol allowed for the creation of non-fungible token-like (NFT) “inscriptions” on Bitcoin. After that, a wave of BRC-20 standard tokens made their way onto the market.

Although BRC-20 and other fungible token protocols for Bitcoin such as Taproot Assets, RGB, and others, have brought new possibilities to the network, they weren’t easy to use, understand, or efficient.

As per a blog post outlining the intent of Runes, Rodamor notes that Ordinals have “undesirable consequences of Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) proliferation” on Bitcoin. This surplus “junk” left over clogs up the network, resulting in higher transaction fees and network congestion.

Etching With Runes

Now, the process of creating Runes, or “etching”, allows users to create governance rules and unchangeable attributes within the Rune.

They also have an optional pre-mining capability where the “etcher” can receive a preset number of Runes before launching them publicly.

Runes can either have an open or closed minting process. Open minting on a Rune lets anyone who meets pre-determined conditions to create new tokens. Closed minting only allows for the creation under certain parameters such as block height or token threshold.

Once minted, a Rune is transferred from a transaction input to output using an instruction called “edict”. In short, this is a message that determines how a rune should be transferred, allowing users to make batch transfers, airdrops, and other features.

So What’s the Big Deal?

The success of Ordinals saw miners rake in some $256 million in revenue through transaction fees. But again, Ordinals were seemingly a novelty lacking any practicality, and were a good, but not perfect, attempt to reinvigorate the Bitcoin network.

As stated on a February episode  of his podcast, Hell Money, Rodamor says:

“I’m creating a venue for people to create shitcoins,”

Runes intends to achieve the same, although with a significantly smaller on-chain footprint, one that is sustainable and can actually result in the creation of new utility tokens on Bitcoin.

In a September 2023 blog post  on Runes, Rodamor admitted:

“I’m not sure creating a new fungible token protocol for Bitcoin is a good idea. Fungible tokens are 99.9% scams and memes”

He also notes that creating a good protocol that can function as the foundation for brilliant projects could “bring significant transaction fee revenue, developer mindshare, and users to Bitcoin”.

While it might not happen overnight, or even this year, Runes could, potentially, push the envelope just a little further into unknown territories.

With the Bitcoin Halving just days away, discussions of supply shock, and major sell-offs amongst miners, Runes may rejuvenate optimism around the future of the Bitcoin network.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No