Bitcoin Ordinals, which allows for the creation of NFT-like assets on Bitcoin called inscriptions, where unique data bits can be allocated to “satoshis”, the smallest divisible unit of Bitcoin, hit a new milestone on Monday. However, its creator had just announced his retirement only a few days prior. But Casey Rodarmor will not completely disappear.
Ordinals, launched by Rodarmor in January, had less than 660,000 inscriptions created just two months ago, but the popularity of Ordinals has increased rapidly recently as the protocol can be used to build experimental tokens called BRC-20 on Bitcoin. According to data from the Dune dashboard (https://dune.com/dgtl_assets/bitcoin-ordinals-analysis), the total number of inscriptions created on Monday, May 29, surged past 10 million.
Some crypto exchanges have already expressed support for BRC-20 tokens. Despite increasing attention, Rodarmor took to Twitter over the weekend to say that he would step down as the primary maintainer of the protocol and hand the project over to a developer named Raph (https://twitter.com/raphjaph), who will “be taking over as lead maintainer,” according to Rodarmor’s tweet.
“I haven’t been able to give [Ordinals] the attention it deserves,” Rodarmor said on Twitter, adding that Raph has agreed to “take over as lead maintainer.”
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I haven't been able to give ord the attention it deserves, so I am pleased to announce that @raphjaph has agreed to step up as lead maintainer!
Raph is an impoverished student, and his work on ord will be entirely funded by donations. If you can, please consider donating!…
— Casey (@rodarmor) May 28, 2023
Like the way Bitcoin core developers get support through charitable giving, Raph will be “working on [Ordinals] entirely funded by donations,” Rodarmor said.
Even though Rodarmor’s title has changed, he will still be involved in the project, Raph told Decrypt, explaining that Rodarmor “just doesn’t want to be a public face of [Ordinals] right now.”
Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto left after Bitcoin’s popularity took off. But Raph will still be regularly talking to Rodarmor, he said.
Raph said he works in Germany and is currently pursuing an education degree, and will be working part-time on the project. But as the project’s primary maintainer, he will have greater control over maintaining the Ordinals codebase on Github, where the latest version of the protocol can be downloaded.
“Casey is a bottleneck because I always have to wait for him to approve things like code reviews,” Raph said. “He’s also still doing things on GitHub and just wants me to be his shield.”
Raph pointed out that the project’s code repository has been moved from Rodarmor’s personal GitHub to an account belonging to Ordinals (https://github.com/ordinals), as its own organization. He also noted that he is not the only one who can submit new code or make modifications.
While Ordinals has attracted talent from across the digital asset industry and piqued the interest of companies like MicroStrategy, the protocol has not been fully embraced by the bitcoin community. For example, some bitcoin purists have expressed concerns over the high transaction fees generated by BRC-20 tokens.
Raph said one area of focus for him in the coming weeks is Ordinals, which will be community-led and provide materials on GitHub to better help people understand the technical elements of the protocol.
Raph said he is no stranger to Ordinals or Rodarmor, having worked on the project for nearly 10 months – before the protocol went live.
“I’m very familiar with the codebase. And, more importantly, I’m very familiar with how Casey likes to do things,” Raph said. “That’s why I’m the perfect candidate for this role.”