• The surge in Bitcoin transactions was driven by 'growing active usage' of the blockchain
  • Around 223,000 Ordinals inscriptions were made Saturday
  • More than 99% of inscriptions Saturday were text-based

Bitcoin transactions witnessed a weekly record-high that wasn't seen in years as Ordinals inscriptions also hit a daily record over the weekend. Text-based inscriptions are said to have driven the Saturday spree.

The weekly average of daily Bitcoin transactions hit around 396,000 in the past week, marking the highest rate of weekly transactions since December 2017, blockchain analytics firm IntoTheBlock reported Sunday. "The increasing number of daily transactions suggests growing active usage of the Bitcoin blockchain," the company tweeted.

The surge in Bitcoin transactions over the past week was reported around the same time a widely-used Dune dashboard that tracks inscriptions revealed that inscriptions made through the Ordinals protocol Saturday reached around 223,000.

The dashboard also revealed that inscriptions saw a surge in April that resulted in daily records being broken four times, including on April 23, when around 193,000 inscriptions were recorded.

Saturday's Ordinals figures marked the first time more than 200,000 inscriptions were made on a single day, as per Decrypt.

The latest data also suggested that text-based inscriptions are now gaining traction as Ordinals users discovered that the protocol, which allows for the operation of Bitcoin nodes to inscribe sat (satoshi, or the smallest unit that a Bitcoin can be divided into) with data, can be used to create fungible tokens on Bitcoin.

On Saturday alone, when Ordinals' total inscriptions passed the 2.5 million mark, an estimated 99.8% of inscriptions were text-based. On that day, only 272 inscriptions were image-based.

The Dune dashboard has since updated its figures, with more than 2.7 million inscriptions recorded as of writing.

Unlike nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that represent the ownership of an item and are mostly stored off-chain, inscriptions are content like images or text inscribed to individual sat which are then stored directly and permanently on Bitcoin's blockchain.

Crypto asset management firm Grayscale recently said Ordinals helped bring more attention to Bitcoin and could also help improve the digital currency's reputation amid increasing scrutiny from regulators.

Last month, the European Parliament approved the world's first set of guidelines to regulate cryptocurrencies. The legislation covers various assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and even tradable tokens such as NFTs.

Known as Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA), the regulation requires crypto asset service providers (CASPs) to ensure that the digital wallets of clients are protected. CASPs will also be held liable if they lose the crypto assets of investors.

In the United States, many questions remain about the cryptocurrency regulation. Publicly-traded cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase recently filed a court action against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to force it to provide clarity about policies related to cryptocurrency in the country.

A representation of bitcoin is seen in an illustration picture
Bitcoin transactions surged in the past week. Reuters