An arcane, mysterious Bitcoin Ordinals puzzle, with yield farming and a terse, industrial lore, sprang onto the scene in the last week of January. It’s called the RSIC Metaprotocol, and these Ordinals mine runes, an upcoming fungible token on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Twenty-one thousand RSICs were airdropped for free to active Bitcoin Ordinals addresses, and they are now selling for 0.12 BTC ($5,434) each. Here’s what we know about the project so far.
The 21,000 RSICs, which stand for Rune Specific Inscription Circuits, are Bitcoin Ordinals that were dropped to a set of recipients who have been active in the Ordinals space since its inception a little over a year ago—they are similar, in this way, to Leonidas’ (completely unrelated) Runestone project, but the exact specifics of the rubric that determined who got an RSIC are unclear.
Some holders of top Ordinals collections, like nodemonkes, Bitcoin Puppets, and Bitcoin Frogs, received RSICs, but others didn’t—so there’s likely an element of randomness involved.
The RSICs were airdropped to a little over 9,000 wallets. Each one looks like a grid of runic symbols like you’d see engraved on a Viking’s sword or a magic amulet. If you’ve got one or more of these in your Ordinals wallet, you’re in luck: They are worth thousands on the open market and grind runes for you until the Bitcoin halving this April.
The rarity of your RSIC is dependent on the symbol that appears in the lower right-hand corner of the grid. If you want this little device to start earning for you, you’ll need to activate it by transferring it—this can be to a wallet you own or even to the same wallet it was airdropped to. Think of it like flipping the power switch of your RSIC to “on.”
Symbols turn orange with about the same frequency, but RSICs with a rare symbol sell for a hefty premium on the open market. On Feb. 7, an RSIC with a very rare symbol—one of only two in the collection—went for 3.25 BTC, or nearly $140,000.
The rarity symbols on your RSIC are linked to how it earns runes for you. Each symbol is assigned a hash value—and this symbol will turn orange if it matches the latest Bitcoin block hash.
As the mighty Bitcoin blockchain trundles forward with its mining of blocks, your RSIC earns. The base value of its output is 21 runes per block—but when its symbol turns orange, boom! It yields 335 runes for that block.
When the Bitcoin halving arrives this April, each RSIC will be entered in a raffle for yet more rune tokens—there will be 21 billion of these fungible coins, and they’ll be mined at the historic 840,000th Bitcoin block.
In the context of the lore of the project, a factory generated the RSICs, which mine runes—these runes are then etched by the “Foundry” (generated and deployed to the wallets that mined them) at halving time.
Whether you held an RSIC for a while or all the way through to the end, you’ll be airdropped the runes that you mined.
In keeping with a collection that is so much about the Bitcoin blockchain’s processes, the RSICs have an interesting provenance. They all have a direct ancestral connection to a very early inscription—#126.
Mechanics and Mysteries
Of course, several interesting mechanics are involved with this game—when to sell and when to hold, what the price and utility of runes will be, and what else the RSICs could be used for as the Ordinals protocol evolves over time. Further developments in the RSIC game, like how to boost, are unrevealed, keeping engagement and FOMO high.
The airdrop mechanic—dropping to some holders of top collections rather than harnessing the reach of influencers and opinion leaders—is also interesting, although frustrating for those who didn’t receive a free RSIC or two.
It’s important to note that about three thousand wallets still hold an RSIC that’s not yet been activated, so check all your wallets thoroughly! You might be holding a valuable little engine, indeed.
A sophisticated scam has already popped up: on Feb. 3, a malicious actor sent a decoy inscription to an RSIC team address that will control the upcoming BOOST mechanism. This decoy inscription contained a link to a malicious website incorporating a wallet drainer—and has been sent to the Ordinals version of the burn address.
To keep abreast of the game’s developing machinations, be aware and confirm any rumors with the sources of truth. The project Discord is also active and full of helpful community members.