BRC-20, or “Bitcoin Request for Comment,” is a token standard for . The standard allows for the issuance and transfer of fungible tokens on similar to the standard on however BRC-20 tokens are not compatible with . [7] [6] [1]


On January 21, 2023, the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol was launched on the   by software engineer and bitcoiner, . He began working on the project in 2022, after the Bitcoin Taproot upgrade in November 2021 which made it possible to create programmable  on the , called inscriptions. This concept led to the creation of and BRC-20 tokens, thus enabling the concept of Ordinals. [8]


BRC-20 token standards were created and deployed on March 8, 2023 by a pseudonymous programmer named Domo as an experiment to make minting fungible tokens on Bitcoin possible. The first BRC-20 token deployed was called . [2][6]


BRC-20 tokens utilize Ordinals inscriptions of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data to deploy token contracts, mint, and transfer tokens. [2] The BRC-20 token standard allows creating a BRC-20 token with the deploy function, minting an amount of BRC-20 tokens with the function, and transferring an amount of BRC-20 tokens via the transfer function. [2]

The BRC-20 token standard has gained some adoption as people experiment with its capabilities. BRC-20 tokens are fungible, meaning they are interchangeable and easily traded on exchanges. BRC-20 tokens are built on the , which secures , the world's largest and most valuable .

Differences from ERC-20

Despite the similarity in their names, there are significant differences between the two tokens. BRC-20 tokens exist on the Bitcoin network, while ERC-20 is a standard on the network. BRC-20 tokens don’t use and, therefore, have much less functionality. On the contrary, ERC-20 tokens can interact with other protocols and applications to enable a wide range of services, including borrowing and lending. The BRC-20 token standard is an experiment by programmers to facilitate fungibility on the Bitcoin blockchain and was only created in March 2023. Therefore it has had less testing than the ERC-20 standard which was created in 2015. [2]


In May of 2023, less than a month after the token standard was created, BRC-20 passed a market cap of $100 million reaching a high of $137 million on May 2, 2023. In April and May the standard continued to grow and on May 9, the total market capitalization of BRC-20 Bitcoin tokens briefly reached a high of over $1 billion, with a total trading volume of $207.7 million that day. Some of the most notable tokens making up that market cap included , NALS, VMPX, PEPE and . [4][5]

On December 6, 2023, ORDI, one of the leading BRC-20 tokens within the Ordinals ecosystem, achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first BRC-20 token to surpass a market capitalization of $1 billion. This surge represented a nearly 1,000% increase in market cap since November 5, reaching $1.1 billion. [9]


The Bitcoin community’s opinion is divided on ordinals and BRC-20. Some have embraced this new experiment, while others believe they go against ’s original vision of Bitcoin. While BRC-20 usage has grown the token standard is much newer and less tested than token standards like . Fewer developers, tools, and resources are available to build and manage BRC-20 tokens since Bitcoin is primarily known as a store of value rather than a platform for creating and managing tokens. [3

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January 2, 2024


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