Some Fortune Crypto pricing data is provided by Binance.

This Week in the Metaverse: Bitcoin ups its NFT game, surpassing Solana in weekly volume

The Bitcoin blockchain is second only to Ethereum in NFT sales volume over the past week.
Illustration by Fortune

(Some Fortune Crypto pricing data is provided by Binance.)

Welcome to This Week in the Metaverse, where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and the metaverse. Email with tips.

Although long known for financial utility, the Bitcoin blockchain was never a player when it came to NFTs, which became one of the main use cases for Ethereum, followed later by Solana and Polygon.

But the Bitcoin network just surpassed Solana in NFT sales volume over the past seven days, and now trails only Ethereum, according to CryptoSlam. While some critics have said Bitcoin NFTs, or Ordinals, slow down the network and increase fees, supporters have said the tech will enhance the blockchain.

One such supporter is Bob Bodily, who is working on an NFT marketplace for Ordinals called bioniq. Bodily told me that by the time the 10th Ordinal was inscribed earlier this year, he knew the technology was going to be huge. Two factors stand out to him as evidence that Ordinals have even more room to grow: Bitcoin’s $518 billion market cap—still more than twice Ethereum’s—and the fact that with Ordinals all data for an NFT are on-chain.

“A lot of collections are down pretty bad, and so the fact that you have the excitement and the energy of Ordinals in the middle of a bear market, I think it’s pretty telling,” he told Fortune.

Already, he noted, Bitcoin is attracting developers who originally were Bitcoin advocates but found it hard to build on-chain. He said he’s seen several developers starting to build on Bitcoin again after leaving years ago for Bitcoin Cash, which was created as a result of a disagreement between developers in 2017.

Decrypt reported on Thursday that the network is also attracting developers from Ethereum, which has long been attractive for teams looking to build dapps that use smart contracts.

Ordinals have exploded in popularity, with 9.3 million inscriptions created since they were introduced in December, according to Dune. Soon enough we’ll see whether Ordinals have opened the door to a flurry of new applications for Bitcoin, or if, ultimately, it’s just another hype cycle. 

New launch spotlight

Binance wants to facilitate your next NFT loan. With the Binance NFT Loan product announced this week, the world’s largest crypto exchange is offering users 3.36% interest rates on loans, whose amount can fluctuate depending on the price floor of an NFT that’s put up for collateral. Only NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Azuki, and Doodles collections are currently accepted.

Last week, I wrote about how NFT loans were making a comeback, thanks to upstart Blur and the more established Arcade. This announcement could accelerate that trend. At least for a limited time, the loan product has some of the best interest rates in the industry, and even lower than the national average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, which sat at 7.17% on Friday, according to Bankrate.

There are still risks. If the value of your collateral NFT drops too low, you risk liquidation. Your interest rate can also change based on the overall market, Binance warns.

In other news

Bitcoin NFTs, or Ordinals, now have a stablecoin. Stably USD, issued by Web3 company Stably, says the crypto will make trading ordinals easier than it would be by using U.S. dollars or another fiat currency, CoinDesk reported.

Web3 company Elemint and Web3 agency Bary partnered with Platinium Group, the ticket operator for Formula 1 Grand Prix events, to launch a new platform that offers NFT tickets. The NFT tickets are meant to prevent counterfeiting and serve as digital souvenirs and will be introduced at this weekend’s race in Monaco. In the long term, the companies want to use the NFT tickets to give holders added benefits and loyalty rewards.

Formula 1 will now have NFT tickets for its Grand Prix events.
Courtesy of Platinium Group

Paris Hilton launched a collection of 5,555 NFT avatars this week for the Web3 metaverse platform The Sandbox. Paris Hilton’s media company, 11:11 Media, created the avatars with inspiration from her real-life outfits and accessories. The avatars will be sold for 100 SAND each and released in three waves. The 11 people who buy a limited 1-of-1 edition of the collectibles will receive a free ticket to Paris: Live in Concert on June 7.

Paris Hilton launched NFT avatars on The Sandbox metaverse platform.
Courtesy of 11:11 Media

SURREAL, a company that offers “metaverse as a service” to clients like the Atlanta Braves, introduced a consulting service called S-Map Consulting to help customers launch, maintain, and expand their own virtual worlds.

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