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Bitcoin Users Just Wasted $100K on Invalid Rune Mints

source-logo  decrypt.co 05 June 2024 23:20, UTC
Nearly $100,000 in BTC was vaporized on invalid Rune Protocol mints, according to Bitcoin Ordinals and Runes explorer Ord.io. On Wednesday, the specialized tracker tweeted that 1.365 BTC (worth approximately $97,662) was lost by users attempting to mint Rune 777, also known as LEEROY JENKINS.

Runes is a fungible token protocol on the Bitcoin network that lets users “etch” and mint tokens on the world’s largest blockchain.

“The way Runes minting works is there is a mint window in which all Runes minting transactions are valid,” pseudonymous Ord co-founder Leonidas explained to Decrypt—for example, from block 840,000 to block 841,000. “Towards the end of every Runes mint, people rush to get their mint transactions mined before the window closes.”

In the above example, Leonidas explained, if a mint transaction was mined in block 841,001, the collector would have paid the network fees to no avail.

BREAKING: Rune 777 LEEROY•JENKINS just minted out 6 mins ago sending Bitcoin network fees soaring to 150 sat/vB

A total of 1.365 BTC ($97,662) was wasted on invalid mints

→ https://t.co/dlioyTCdMF pic.twitter.com/muRs0pS225

— Ord.io (@ord_io) June 5, 2024

“If you fail to get your transactions in there, you lose your BTC and don't receive Runes,” Leonidas said. “This is just how the protocol works.” Toward the end of popular mints, he added, demand for minting outpaces the supply of space in a blockchain block.

RUNES MINTING PSA: $97K was just lost on invalid mints of LEEROY•JENKINS. The way the Runes Protocol works is that if your mint transaction is not mined before the mint window closes then you still lose the money and also don't get the mints. You should think of a Runes mint as… https://t.co/5HoBZM6npM

— Leonidas (@LeonidasNFT) June 5, 2024

According to the Ord website, LEEROY JENKINS has a max supply of 69.4 million and currently has 1,350 holders. Of 57,850 completed mints, 276 were labeled as invalid—and those disappointed minters have no recourse.

“Bitcoin is not aware of the Runes protocol and does not have the capability to use logic the way a smart contract would to refund invalid mints,” he said. “To the Bitcoin network, a Runes mint is just a meaningless piece of data.”

The name LEEROY JENKINS comes from the iconic World of Warcraft character of the same name. The infamous player, created by Ben Schulz, cost his dungeon party their treasure by recklessly charging into a battle, ignoring the plan of attack. Jenkins has since become an internet meme.

Leonidas said that while Runes minting sites could attempt to help users avoid losing out, there may always be losers.

“The minting platforms can only make a recommendation and educate about how minting on the Runes Protocol works—ultimately it is still very zero-sum, though, and somebody will be losing,” he said. “If one minting platform is very good at educating their users about setting fee rates extra high at the end of mints, those minters are still taking spots from somebody else who will then have an invalid mint.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.