Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Taproot Wizards, a line of NFT-like collectibles created on Bitcoin using the protocol Ordinals, announced Thursday that it raised $7.5 million in a funding round led by venture capital firm Standard Crypto.
Taproot Wizards’ goal is to attract “elite Bitcoin talent” using the funds and assemble a team, which could help close the “gap that’s opened up between Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto ecosystem,” co-founder Udi Wertheimer told Decrypt.
"We went for a larger seed round of $7.5 million because we feel time is of the essence. We've been bullish on Bitcoin for a decade, but we genuinely believe that the best time to build in Bitcoin is now," he added. "We're focusing on adopting the best breakthroughs in broader crypto research to advance Bitcoin and Ordinals, for example the open-source rollup work we've shared a couple of months ago, and will use this funding to build a team of top-notch Bitcoin builders."
Comprising 2,121 wizards—which pay homage to a popular Reddit meme from 2013—Taproots Wizards emerged this year as an early collection leveraging Ordinals. The protocol allows people to create NFT-like assets on Bitcoin by “inscribing” data on individual satoshi—equal to 1/100,000,000 of a whole Bitcoin.
The fundraising announcement comes as Ordinals shows fresh signs of life. After crypto’s leading exchange, Binance, listed a token on its platform that’s built using Ordinals, trading volume for Ordinals-based assets surged recently to a six-month high.
“Time is of the essence right now,” Wertheimer said of Taproot Wizards’ move. “This is when people understand there's this chance to finally move Bitcoin forward.”
Ordinals are no stranger to controversy—and neither is Wertheimer. Some Bitcoiners have raised issues with Ordinals, calling its capacity to send Bitcoin transaction fees sky-high an attack, but Wertheimer has been a vocal proponent throughout.
In May, at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami, Wertheimer noted Ordinals’ potential to advance Bitcoin toward new technical areas, such as the aforementioned rollups, while dressed as a wizard onstage alongside Taproots Wizards’ co-founder Eric Wall as part of “The Great Ordinal Debate.”
Aside from Standard Crypto, Taproot Wizards’ $7.5 million funding round included participation from Bitcoin Frontier Fund, UTXO Management, Newman Capital, Geometry, Collider Ventures, StarkWare, Masterkey, and other investors, the team said in a press release.
In general, Standard Crypto co-founder Alok Vasudev told Decrypt that the firm’s investment in Taproots Wizards is in validation of Ordinals’ boundary-pushing nature.
“I think Ordinals has really been this conduit to unleash this kind of pent up energy,” he said. “We want to do stuff on Bitcoin and we haven't had a throughline, but now we do, and I think we're seeing wizards flood into the blockchain as a result.”
Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to add clarifying comments from Wertheimer.
Edited by Andrew Hayward