Runes Protocol

The Runes Protocol is designed for the Bitcoin network, allowing the creation and management of various types of digital tokens.

Bitcoin Runes uses a UTXO-based protocol, where each transaction starts by picking up pieces of Bitcoin that haven't been spent yet (like digital change) and uses them to create new transactions. Tracing each Bitcoin back to its creation ensures that every coin is unique and hasn't been falsely duplicated, giving you confidence that the Bitcoin you own or accept in a transaction is genuine and truly yours.

Compared to other protocols that may rely on off-chain data or special tokens, Runes utilizes Bitcoin's native features for on-chain data storage. This allows for less of the “junk” UTXOs we mentioned earlier, which can bog down the network, causing transactions to be slower, more expensive and less reliable.

Specifically, Bitcoin Runes’ on-chain data storage is in the OP_RETURN part of a transaction. Picture jotting down a secret note on your Bitcoin transaction. OP_RETURN is that magic pen that lets you leave your mark without moving any actual Bitcoin. This keeps Bitcoin transactions neat and tidy because it doesn't add extra work for the network, which can affect the overall user experience.

You may also hear people talking about Runes having lightning compatibility. This means that Runes can use the Lightning Network, a separate layer on top of Bitcoin, to enable faster and cheaper transactions. This allows Runes transactions to bypass the usual delays and high fees of the Bitcoin network by using this faster, more efficient system.

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