Bitcoin is invaluable to humanity as the most secure, open, permanent, and decentralized ledger. Bitcoin Ordinals enhances this by allowing any digital artifact to be secured on the Bitcoin blockchain. Having founded the Stanford Bitcoin Meetup and Maicoin, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Taiwan, in 2013, I have been building on Bitcoin for over a decade and immediately recognized the transformative power that the Ordinals protocol brings to Bitcoin.
This insight led my company Metagood, and the team behind the NFT collection and community OnChainMonkey (OCM) to focus on Bitcoin Ordinals. We created OCM Dimensions to show the power of Ordinals, and achieved many industry firsts. There are many “Dimensions” to Ordinals that few people realize. OCM Dimensions is a groundbreaking art collection, a culmination of years of work, one of the highest quality digital artifacts, and a foundation for future Ordinal inscriptions on Bitcoin.
OCM Dimensions highlights:
- Pioneering the use of recursion and composability on Bitcoin.
- One of the first parent-child collections, inscribed February 2023, with clear on-chain Collection provenance.
- First to enable compression, and widely used libraries (p5.js, Three.js), all on-chain on Bitcoin for future creators to use.
- Incredibly efficient use of block space, less than 1 kilobyte per Dimensions ordinal.
- The first 300 are inscribed in a beautifully orchestrated way on Bitcoin, on 300 consecutive satoshis, and ordered on-chain by their satoshi numbers in ascending order, and matching their Dimensions number.
- The first 300 are all inscribed on satoshis from early January 2009 (block 78), the third day of Bitcoin.
- The first 300 are all “Cursed” inscriptions.
- Achieved what is thought impossible on Bitcoin today: a random on-chain reveal *after* mint and after the Dimensions ordinals are immutably inscribed.
- High definition, 3D, animated, and interactive art that is all rendered directly from code inscribed on Bitcoin, and can scale up to any resolution automatically to fit the display size. The bigger the display, the more amazing Dimensions become.
- A Bitcoin native mint that requires no additional fees from the minter, is non-custodial, prevents front-running (and Mempool sniping), and there’s no rush for the minter.
- Each of the first 300 had an “angel”, the mint randomization inscription that passed through the birth of each of the first 300 Dimensions.
The Bitcoin Ordinals Protocol
Before delving into the specifics of OCM Dimensions, it’s crucial to understand Bitcoin Ordinals — one of today’s most significant new protocols. Bitcoin Ordinals is a protocol that operates atop Bitcoin, enabling the creation, ownership, and transfer of data files as unique digital assets, termed ‘inscriptions’. At a glance, this might appear similar to Ethereum’s non-fungible tokens. However, key distinctions make Ordinals a crucial and unique development in the digital asset space.
At its core, the Ordinals Protocol is elegantly simple, yet strikingly profound. It’s defined by three core rules:
- An ‘ordinal’ is a uniquely identified ‘satoshi’, the smallest unit of a Bitcoin. Each ordinal can be individually tracked and identified on the Bitcoin ledger using a ‘First-In, First-Out’ (FIFO) system across all transactions.
- An ‘inscription’ is any file that is recorded, or ‘inscribed’, onto Bitcoin, specifically within the witness field of a transaction input.
- At the time of inscribing, an inscription is tethered to the first ordinal in the input where it is inscribed. Thus, ownership of an inscription belongs to the owner of that ordinal.
These three rules, when applied on Bitcoin’s framework, create a powerful system that can trigger immense growth for Bitcoin. The potential of the Ordinals Protocol is still largely untapped, yet it holds the promise to spur a wave of innovation and new applications for the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Innovating on Bitcoin with OCM Dimensions
OCM Dimensions is a high-resolution, 3D animated inscription, making it a pioneer among collections on Bitcoin since its inscription in February 2023. Not only does OCM Dimensions distinguish itself through unparalleled detail and quality, but it also exemplifies efficient utilization of Bitcoin’s expensive block space. Most inscriptions today are still small text files or low-resolution images. Dimensions shatters this norm with its intricate 3D art, which renders directly from Bitcoin and dynamically scales up with display size, delivering pixel-perfect clarity even on 4K or 8K displays! This astounding quality is achieved with a file size of under 1 kilobyte per inscription, an accomplishment unmatched on Bitcoin prior to Dimensions.
Dimensions was able to achieve all these feats because it pioneers the use of powerful techniques that will soon be standard for future inscriptions on Bitcoin: (1) parent-child provenance, (2) generative coding, (3) recursion, (4) composability, and (5) compression. These techniques will lead to a host of future applications, use cases and development on top of Bitcoin beyond the art that we see today.
Bitcoin is invaluable to humanity as the most secure open, permanent, and decentralized ledger. Bitcoin Ordinals enhances this by allowing any digital artifact to be secured on the Bitcoin blockchain, inheriting the same benefits as Bitcoin. Crucial digital records of human history can be securely stored on Bitcoin, resembling the Great Library of Alexandria. However, Bitcoin’s block space can only store at most ~200 gigabytes of data annually. This fixed and finite space, coupled with growing data storage demands, makes Bitcoin one of the world’s most precious digital storage mediums in existence.
Bitcoin’s block space is much like land — demand increases while the total supply remains constant. Consequently, the price escalates, which benefits the Bitcoin ecosystem. The costliest land worldwide tends to be city centers where space optimization takes the form of skyscrapers. Over decades, people have figured out that the skyscraper is the best use of the most expensive land, and this is true everywhere in the world. Similarly, Bitcoin’s digital land will lead to a digital skyscraper approach by innovative new creators. From first principles, we can predict the future outcome. Fees on Bitcoin will continue to rise, and just as with physical land, the creators who can build the digital skyscrapers on Bitcoin will capture the most value and be the prevalent building type on the most expensive land of Bitcoin block space.
Dimensions is a skyscraper on Bitcoin. Dimensions occupies a small plot of land on Bitcoin, and through the techniques described earlier, builds upwards to create the detailed 3d animated rendering all on-chain on Bitcoin. Through composability, Dimensions also provides the foundation for future skyscrapers to be built on Bitcoin. Future inscriptions can use compression, and the code libraries in Dimensions to build higher and higher on Bitcoin.
Dimensions uses additional techniques to build higher with less land. Dimension was created with a parent collection and the individual pieces in the collection were created as child inscriptions. This has two main advantages. First, having a parent collection order makes the provenance of the collection very clear. Most collections are individual inscriptions that are grouped together off-chain, and have no clear on-chain representation of the collection. Parent-child solves that by using the Bitcoin graph to identify the inscriptions that belong in a collection, so that provenance is clear to any wallet, explorer, or marketplace reading the chain.
Generative coding can be combined with a parent (collection) ordinal to generate the data needed by the children of a collection. This allows for reuse of code to create the items in the collection. Dimensions uses a collection ordinal to generate all 2,500 items in the collection. This reuse of code greatly saves space on Bitcoin, and allows Dimension to achieve < 1,000 bytes per inscription.
Recursive Inscriptions and Composability
Recursion is a technique in computer programming in which code can refer to itself in order to solve a complex problem in a simpler, more efficient manner than would be possible otherwise. In the context of Ordinals, recursion is the ability to refer to other inscriptions. Inscriptions can be code. Code in one inscription can call code in another inscription. Code snippets in one inscription can be called by other inscriptions. New inscriptions can be assembled from modular code from multiple inscriptions. This process of using parts of inscriptions to create new inscriptions is an important design-principle in computer science known as composability.
Recursion and composability have many advantages, including reusability, efficiency, modularity, flexibility, and scalability. Ordinals enables many new applications on Bitcoin, and builders are being attracted back to Bitcoin. We’ll see new developers building new applications on Bitcoin because now, for the first time, it’s become easy to leverage the work of others and avoid having to build everything from scratch. Historically, it has always been extremely difficult to build on Bitcoin. This was partly by design — Bitcoin’s scripting language was purposely designed to be very limited for better security. Vitalik Buterin originally wanted to build smart contracts on Bitcoin, but because of Bitcoin’s limited scripting language, he had to create Ethereum, a blockchain that had more programming capabilities. Subsequently, Ethereum has attracted the lion’s share of blockchain developers and contributed to more experiments and innovation than Bitcoin. Now Ordinals has brought the excitement back to developing on Bitcoin.
Enabling Compression, p5.js and three.js with OCM Dimensions
Code is art. Part of the art of OCM Dimensions is showing the power of recursion and composability on Bitcoin. Dimensions contains code that builders can use in their work, including a decompression library, and the popular creative coding libraries of p5.js and three.js. Dimensions is created by code that is compressed on Bitcoin, and can decompress when viewed by a browser, access the libraries, and render the Dimensions interactive art, all automatically within the Ordinals protocol. Dimensions is both the art and the foundation for future builders to be able to use the powers of compression, and the p5.js and three.js libraries. And this is all on-chain on Bitcoin, immutable, stored for all time, and open for everyone to view and use in future applications on top of Bitcoin.
More notable features of OCM Dimensions
Dimensions also hold many additional distinctions. First, the first 300 Dimensions were inscribed on very early Jan 2009 satoshis in Bitcoin history, specifically from block 78, the first days of Bitcoin. The first 300 Dimensions are actually inscribed in sequentially ordered sats and the last three digits of the sat number is equal to the Dimensions number! Second, Dimensions uses the parent-child relationship before it was officially recognized, so the first 300 Dimensions have negative inscription numbers (“cursed” inscriptions). Not only is the Dimensions art 3D and animated, it is also interactive. The rotation and certain traits for the rare Dimensions can be controlled by the user. And finally, the first 300 Dimensions were minted in a very unique way, involving an on-chain reveal. Even though every Dimension is immutable, there was an on-chain random reveal that reveals the actual Dimension AFTER the mint!
Dimensions origin from OnChainMonkey
Dimensions was the culmination of several years of work. I created OnChainMonkey in September 2021 as a digital artifact on Ethereum because it was not possible to do on Bitcoin at the time. Even on Ethereum, OnChainMonkey was a first of its kind. Earlier this year, the original OnChainMonkey collection was the first 10k collection to be inscribed on Bitcoin. OnChainMonkey was inscribed in Inscription 20219, matching the exact year and month when OnChainMonkey was originally launched (2021–9).
We selected OnChainMonkey (OCM) as the subject of our digital sculpture, Dimensions, given OCMs remarkable history of positive impact. In September 2021, I wrote an article detailing the creation of OCM. In the ensuing year and a half, the monkeys have fostered a vibrant community, saved lives, including the rescue of Sharbat Gula and her family from Afghanistan, provided relief aid to children in Ukraine, and shared the !RISE values of Respect, Integrity, Sustainability, and Enrichment to a growing number of people joining the crypto and Web3 space.
The journey for digital assets on Bitcoin is only beginning. We’re at the dawn of the Bitcoin Ordinals era. A vast expanse of potential is being unlocked on Bitcoin, and soon we’ll witness developers exploring, innovating, and crafting new applications and solutions. Big ideas such as decentralized identity, property titles on the blockchain, and amazing art are set to be transformed on the immutable canvas of Bitcoin. There’s a bright future with many “Dimensions” on Bitcoin.