AUSTIN, Texas – Bitcoin ecosystem firm Trust Machines said has seen “explosive growth in bitcoin (BTC) use cases” during the first quarter of 2023, according to new research by the firm.
The report identified bitcoin non-fungible tokens (NFT), bitcoin name services (BNS) and recent developments on the Stacks blockchain – a bitcoin smart contract platform that powers much of the Trust Machines’ ecosystem – as the key use cases driving new growth and adoption.
While the Web3 development has grown exponentially based on other blockchains such as Ethereum, development on Bitcoin has lagged. However, with new use cases and technologies emerging, this is likely going to change, said Muneeb Ali, CEO of Trust Machines and co-founder of Stacks, during a panel Friday at Consensus 2023, titled “Building on Top of Bitcoin (for Real).”
“I think it’s the revival of the developer culture that I’m by far the most excited about. It’s like bitcoin is fun again because there’s a place to build again and I think that’s the best thing that could have happened,” Ali said.
Read full coverage of Consensus 2023 here.
The Bitcoin blockchain has historically been restricted to payments. Even Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto rejected nonfinancial uses for the dominant blockchain. However, new technologies are emerging that has began to use Bitcoin as a layer 1 foundation for evolving the network into Web3.
Bitcoin NFTs made a splash earlier this year with the launch of the Ordinals protocol in January. The protocol uses “inscriptions,” or arbitrary content such as text or images that can be added to sequentially numbered satoshis or “sats” – the smallest units in Bitcoin – to create unique “digital artifacts” that can be held and transferred across the Bitcoin network, like any other sats.
Over a million inscriptions have been minted, according to the research from Trust Machines.
The firm’s research also shows a 400% surge in BNS registrations since 2022 on its sister platform BTC.us. The platform allows users to register human-readable “.btc” domain names that can be used subsequently to host a site or even send and receive bitcoin. Trust Machines attributes this surge to both Ordinals and the launch of the Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized social media protocol, Nostr.
The Stacks blockchain – founded by Muneeb Ali and Princeton University computer science professor J.P. Singh – currently powers most of the applications in the Trust Machines’ ecosystem. Research by crypto veri analytics company Messari shows that Stacks’ average daily active users and addresses “increased by 76% and 42%, respectively, in Q4 .”
Stacks published a white paper at the end of last year showing how a new digital asset called “Stacks bitcoin” (sBTC) can be used to make Bitcoin fully programmable.
“While we’ve seen a revival of Bitcoin NFTs in recent months, there is more development to be done to unlock Bitcoin [decentralized finance] use cases fully,” the research said, adding that one of the biggest efforts to unlock that is sBTC.
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Stacks has now launched an sBTC testnet, and is targeting a mainnet launch later this year.