Bitcoin Runes Aren't Immune to Meme Coin Lull

It appears that the market for Bitcoin-based meme coins isn’t immune to headwinds rattling similar assets, as the prices of many top Runes tokens have fallen alongside other meme coins.

When the Runes protocol launched in April, Z•Z•Z•Z•Z•FEHU•Z•Z•Z•Z•Z emerged as the protocol’s first asset, “etched” initially amid a bevy of other tokens. With a current market cap of $1.3 billion, its price has fallen 43% over the past month to $12.66, according to data from Magic Eden.

DOG•GO•TO•THE•MOON and RSIC•GENESIS•RUNE, bearing similarly lengthy names, have also faced pressure during the recent lull, with prices falling 20% and 53% over the past month, respectively.

A sense of discontent was noted on Twitter (aka X) by the marketing director of NFT collection Wassies, Hillary Sims, who argued that fans of Runes are starting to appear desperate.

“I have all the top Runes, but I can also see why people are put off by this ecosystem,” Sims wrote. “Bunch of grown men yelling at you to buy their coin because it’s better.”

Mirroring Runes’ performance, it’s been a rough month for meme coins on other networks too, which often trade on little more than vibes. The Solana-based Dogwifhat (WIF) has fallen 43% over the past month, for example. Meanwhile, a 31% dip has scuttled the Ethereum-based Pepecoin (PEPE).

“You knew the vapor you were buying was literally worthless,” the crypto influencer Gainzy wrote Wednesday, comparing the drop in meme coins to crypto assets that tanked in 2018—back then, however, investors believed the projects they invested had some sort of utility, he added. There were no such illusions this time around, he’s suggesting.

Once viewed as a meta commentary on the crypto industry’s lack of usefulness, meme coins have soared this year in popularity as assets that are easy to launch and understand—and that can deliver wild gains just as easily as brutal losses. This dog has a hat. This dog is cute. Yet with Runes, the concept was comparatively a bit more nuanced.

Created by the developer Casey Rodarmor, Runes followed the launch of Ordinals last year, a protocol that instantiated a buzzy market for Bitcoin-based collectibles. As Bitcoin lacks the ability to host smart contracts, which underpin NFTs on other chains, Ordinals was viewed as a new way to leverage crypto’s oldest coin—which was met with some degree of controversy.

“Right now, the only selling point I can see [for Runes] is: Buy this bag because it makes these other people mad?” Sims pondered.

While there have been several spikes in activity, the share of Bitcoin transactions involving Runes has also faded over the past month. Comprising around 16% of Bitcoin transactions a month ago, the current ratio stood at around 5% on Tuesday, according to a Dune dashboard.

Still, within the Runes ecosystem, some outperformers have notched significant gains. Situated as the third-largest Rune by market cap, the price of BAMK•OF•NAKAMOTO•DOLLAR (yes, “BAMK” not “BANK”) has rallied 157% over the past month to $0.0054.

Edited by Andrew Hayward


The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.

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