Arthur Hayes Says Ordinals ‘Bring Human Culture’ To Oldest Crypto Community

The investor’s fund, Maelstrom, is focused on assets that gave rise to crypto meme culture.

By: Pedro Solimano Loading...

 Bitcoin logo centered and surrounded by Polaroid-style portrait photos in a minimalist, neon color style.

Arthur Hayes is very bullish on Ordinals and memecoins.

As the nascent Ordinals ecosystem takes the oldest blockchain’s development by storm–with a series of funding rounds and new protocols launching–Hayes explained his thesis to The Defiant, and how his fund is targeting not only Ordinals, but the larger memecoin sector.

“Ordinals, BRC-20, and Runes bring human culture to the oldest, largest and most valuable crypto community – the Bitcoin community,” he told The Defiant.

Maelstrom, the family office he leads and which takes a 10/20/50 year time horizon according to its website, “is extremely bullish on the future of any assets or protocols tangentially related to these areas of interest,” said Hayes.


The word “meme” was first coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to define a unit of culture. Hayes’ refers to Ordinals, and their subsequent meme culture, as bringing in an essential part of human culture to the Bitcoin ecosystem.

In addition to Ordinals and memecoins, Hayes also fixes his eyes on BRC-20s and Runes, the latter a new protocol launching last week in line with the Bitcoin halving.

Ordinals’ inscriptions are the Bitcoin equivalent of NFTs. They are arbitrary data that lives on the Bitcoin blockchain, tied to a satoshi, the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin.

Runes, which launched on the day of Bitcoin’s fourth halving, is a new way to inscribe information onto the oldest crypto network in a more efficient manner than fungible tokens issued on the Bitcoin network, called BRC-20s,.

Following a February and March lull, Ordinals have picked up again, with daily inscriptions doubling in April to an average of 150,000. More than 66 million inscriptions have been registered on the Bitcoin blockchain, with Ordinals inscriptions driving NFT volumes to a 12-month high.

Ordinals Inscriptions - Dune Analytics

Magic Internet Money

Hayes’ is no stranger to crypto culture.

Not only did he co-found BitMex, the crypto exchange that gave rise to 100x leverage, his most recent investment is a nod in crypto history’s direction.

Just last week he purchased WZRD, a Bitcoin Ordinals NFT project that celebrates the iconic magic internet money meme that toured the Bitcoin world in 2013–and has since become a symbol of the blossoming Ordinals ecosystem.

WZRD has been a juggernaut in the past month, posting a 7,500% gain in the past 14 days, trading today for $5.51.

“Abracadabra Bitches,” he posted. “Let's bring it back to the old school. Yachtzee.”

Hayes added to the meme’s appeal, in true digital native style, “there is nothing more based than the r/bitcoin Wizard meme of Magic Internet Money.” He’s referring to the subreddit where the image launched, r/Bitcoin.


Backing Crypto Meme Culture

Alongside Ordinals, memecoins have been the darling of the current bull cycle.

The sector has a $56 billion market cap, with new tokens springing to life daily on Solana, Base, and Blast.

Hayes acknowledges the time and place that memecoins have, including their usual short-lived hype, in fact defying Maelstrom’s 10/20/50 time horizon.

“From a liquid trading perspective, we want to acquire assets that have provenance and gave rise to crypto meme culture,” he explained.

This includes not only the aforementioned WZRD, but also the more recent memecoins that have been permeating the crypto zeitgeist, such as dogwifhat or jeo boden.

Ordinals Are Booming

Bitcoin Ordinals are making waves.

The oldest blockchain in the world is experiencing a full-blown renaissance of developers, users, artists, and builders, after Casey Rodarmor launched the protocol in early 2023.

Now, VCs are paying attention, with Ordinals explorer announcing a $2 million raise to build out the Ordinals data layer, Hayes’s Maelstrom fund backed Oyl, an Ordinals-focused wallet that recently raised $3 million, and Taproot Wizards closed a $7.5 million round to “bring the magic back to Bitcoin.”

With help from Runestones, in fact, Ordinals have even been pulling the entire NFT sector forward, with volumes climbing to 12-month highs.

With all this, it’s safe to say the digital gold narrative has run its course as the sole Bitcoin use-case as there are finally more Bitcoin-based applications – and one of crypto’s most renowned investors is bullish on this shift.