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Binance Ends Support for Bitcoin Ordinals

Binance has announced it will phase out support for Bitcoin non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its marketplace, a move coming just months after the service’s introduction. Detailed in a blog post on April 4, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange is taking steps to “streamline product offerings” on its Binance NFT marketplace, which will include halting trades and deposits of Bitcoin Ordinals on April 18, 2024.

Bitcoin Ordinals, also known as Bitcoin NFTs, have introduced a novel way of embedding digital content such as art, text, or video directly onto the Bitcoin blockchain. Leveraging a feature of the Bitcoin protocol that allows data embedding, the popularity of Ordinals surged following their inception in late 2022 by Casey Rodarmor. This innovation has enabled unique digital artifacts to be inscribed within Bitcoin transactions, paralleling Ethereum’s NFT capabilities.

In light of these changes, Binance urges users to withdraw their Bitcoin NFTs via the Bitcoin network by May 18, 2024, at 00:00 (UTC) to avoid potential losses. Additionally, the marketplace will discontinue any airdrops, benefits, and utilities associated with Bitcoin NFTs after April 10, 2024. Particularly, users in possession of Runestone NFTs eligible for an airdrop are advised to expedite their withdrawal by April 10 to secure the associated perks.

This announcement marks a sharp turn in Binance’s strategy, as it had expanded its NFT ecosystem to include Bitcoin NFTs in May 2023, signaling a broadened horizon for collectors and creators within its platform. However, the influx of NFT transactions has periodically overwhelmed the Bitcoin network, leading to increased transaction fees and slower processing times due to the heightened demand for on-chain validation.

The community has reacted with surprise to Binance’s decision, given the relatively short period since Bitcoin NFTs were embraced by the platform. Dune Analytics data highlights the significant traction Bitcoin Ordinals have gained, with over 64 million inscriptions recorded to date, contributing to more than $423 million in transaction fees. This move by Binance reflects the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, as platforms continually adapt to shifts in market demand, regulatory landscapes, and technological advancements.

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