Author: ck, MetaCat
Recently, the first metaverse project in the Bitcoin ecosystem, Bitmap, has gained popularity, especially in the Chinese community. From the transaction data, Bitmap’s 30-day sales volume is 11.75 BTC (as of the time of writing), ranking first in Bitcoin NFT 30-day sales volume. This article is the author’s recent observation and contemplation of Bitmap, as well as the construction of the metaverse.
Data source: https://ordinalswallet.com/?tab=nft
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Getting to the point: How to view Bitmap?
The presentation of Bitcoin block 156447 under the Bitmap theory, https://bitfeed.live/block/height/156447
Bitmap.land is the first metaverse project in the Bitcoin ecosystem. The project is based on the Ordinals theory and Bitmap theory. Three weeks ago, the author explained the situation of Bitmap and made preliminary judgments on Bitmap in the article “Comprehensive Analysis of Bitmap.land, the First Metaverse Project in the Bitcoin Ecosystem”. I will not repeat it here.
Recently, there has been an increase in attention to Bitmap in the Chinese community. Some friends have been inquiring about it. Due to the different backgrounds and focuses of everyone, it has stimulated the author’s further thinking on the value and significance of Bitmap. The overall thinking framework is: Bitmap should be viewed from both the Bitcoin and metaverse ecosystems. Only looking at a single ecosystem may be biased.
From the perspective of the Bitcoin ecosystem, we analyze it from four dimensions:
Network Security: As the halving cycle approaches and block rewards decrease, increasing transaction fees can bring additional income to miners. In the long run, block rewards will gradually approach zero, and the Bitcoin ecosystem naturally needs to find new ways to ensure its own network security. The surge in transaction volume brought by Ordinals has shown the real possibility of transaction fees as a means to ensure the security of the Bitcoin network.
Capital Efficiency: Due to Bitcoin’s dominant position in the blockchain field, it has accumulated the most consensus in terms of value storage. Its role has changed from “electronic cash” to “digital gold”. With the value being stored, naturally, people will think about how to improve capital utilization. Ethereum’s DeFi Summer provides a successful case that is within reach, which naturally arouses the desire to surpass it.
Self-Positioning: In recent years, the Ethereum ecosystem has developed rapidly, with various applications such as DeFi Summer, crypto art, virtual land, GameFi, PFP, etc. On the other hand, the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem has been relatively slow and has fewer highlights. This naturally sparks the desire of the Bitcoin ecosystem to not be content with just being a value storage chain and to explore the possibility of becoming an application chain.
External Factors: Bear market liquidity, narrative scarcity, and market and community downgrades are also sought after. The appearance of Ordinals can at least activate existing funds, which is better than nothing.
Therefore, the emergence of Ordinals (Ordinal Theory), as well as Bitcoin NFTs (including encrypted art, Meme Coin, domain names, virtual land) constructed through Inscriptions (Inscriptions) above Ordinals, BRC-20, BRC-30 (token pledging), will naturally be welcomed by the Bitcoin community.
Bitmap is currently mainly engaged in the sale of virtual land, which belongs to the category of Bitcoin NFT and the category of Metaverse, and has the dual support of NFT + Metaverse. The imagination space is naturally full, although Bitmap itself does not have a rich narrative, but as a community co-creation project, Bitmap is obviously needed by the Bitcoin ecosystem.
In addition, one point is worth noting. Ordinals (Ordinal Theory) is a theory that assigns numbers to Satoshi and defines its scarcity. This theory exists independently of the consensus of the blockchain and is an off-chain consensus (similar to constellations, it is a human agreement, not an inherent attribute based on the blockchain); Inscriptions are based on Ordinals, and the process of writing text/images/videos into the Bitcoin blockchain. The interpretation and presentation of Bitcoin NFTs and BRC20 mentioned earlier are off-chain actions.
This is very different from Ethereum’s ERC20 and ERC721, which are mainly implemented through smart contracts on the blockchain, except that metadata relies on external resources such as IPFS and Arweave.
Of course, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the superiority or inferiority of Bitcoin NFTs and Ethereum NFTs based solely on this point, but obviously these fundamental differences will have a profound impact on the development of NFTs in the two ecosystems. Another material for consideration is: Bitcoin UTXO model vs Ethereum’s account model.
From the perspective of the Metaverse ecosystem, the following two questions are the main considerations:
1. What does the Metaverse currently need?
In the field of the Metaverse, from Second Life in the Web1.0 era to Roblox and Fortnite in the Web2.0 era, and to Decentraland and Voxels in the Web3.0 era, it is evolving towards more decentralization, better experience, and more user autonomy. When the Metaverse encounters NFTs, virtual land becomes the protagonist of the story.
Let’s first look at virtual land in the context of the Metaverse.
In the past cycle, Metaverse projects have virtual land sales as their core business model, and a large number of Metaverse projects have emerged, resulting in an oversupply of virtual land and a lack of interoperability between Metaverse projects, making interoperability the primary problem that needs to be solved in the field of the Metaverse. It should be pointed out that the interoperability problem will persist in the development of the Metaverse field for a long time and needs to be continuously solved, but it is more significant at the current stage.
On the other hand, the project party sells virtual land, essentially bundling the rights to use the 3D scene editor and distribute scene traffic into virtual land, and thus building bargaining power. However, after two or three years of development, 3D scene editors have gradually become standardized and open source. A typical case is the metaverse project hyperfy.io released in July 2022, which provides users with an excellent web-based 3D scene editor at almost no cost. The intrinsic value of virtual land as a commodity, which is a very important part, no longer exists.
3D scene editor of hyperfy.io
Now let’s look at virtual land in the NFT field.
In the past cycle, virtual land in the metaverse existed in the form of NFT and was also an important use case in the development of NFT. From the perspective of NFT development, it can be summarized as: strong NFT, flowing use cases.
In each stage of NFT development, there is often only one type of use case as the core value carrier of the NFT stage. These value carriers used to be: crypto art, GameFi, virtual land, PFP. But everything changes, everything flows, when a new use case becomes mainstream, the old use cases, no matter how brilliant they used to be, will fade away and become a thing of the past. Who still remembers CryptoKitties, Async art, Axie Infinity, LOOT? Obviously, virtual land, as the former core value carrier of NFT, has become a thing of the past.
In conclusion, whether in the current metaverse field or the NFT field, virtual land does not need to play a core role. For metaverse projects, the most important thing at the moment is to solve the interoperability problem. This is the analysis from the supply side. From the demand side, the core problem is the lack of application scenarios. This problem has been particularly prominent in the past two or three years. For project parties, thinking solely from the supply side can easily fall into the trap of looking for nails with a hammer.
2. What can Bitmap provide for the development of the metaverse?
Currently, Bitmap mainly sells virtual land in the primary market, without involving 3D scene editors, scene traffic distribution, or avatars, nor does it match specific scene needs. Therefore, for the current development needs of the metaverse, Bitmap cannot provide effective value for the time being. If we have to mention the value it provides, the virtual land issuance based on the Bitmap theory provides a relatively fair purchasing mechanism for buyers and a “righteous” issuance mechanism.
Bitmap official website: https://bitmap.land/?view=horizontal
The above are a series of thoughts developed by the author based on Bitmap, which may be biased. Corrections are welcome.