Bitcoin’s Newfound NFT Hype Attracts Interest of BSV Developer Twetch
The recent fervor surrounding Ordinals NFTs on Bitcoin is already attracting developers interested in building an ecosystem for the meme-themed art – now including Twetch, the team behind a “pay-to-earn” social network built on the rival Bitcoin SV blockchain (BSV).
Twetch’s existing social network on BSV allows users to earn money for their content. The platform also includes a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, a BSV wallet and several other features like a chat function and a job board.
“When we saw the Ordinals stuff come out, we were just excited to hop onto the ‘NFTs on BTC’ train,” Twetch co-founder Billy Rose told CoinDesk in an interview. “We've been doing data on the blockchain for about five years now, so we're just ready to go.”
Bitcoin blocks have been chock-full of quirky JPEGs, audio files and text over the past two weeks, thanks to last month’s successful (albeit controversial) launch of the Ordinals protocol, which stores NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain.
The trend has received mixed reviews from longtime Bitcoin supporters, many of whom have long derided the NFT craze on Ethereum and other blockchains as a distraction from Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of a decentralized network primarily for financial transactions.
Twetch’s sudden interest might provide another cause for consternation among Bitcoiners, given BSV’s self-marketing as the original Bitcoin and its association with Craig Wright – the Australian computer scientist who has claimed without definitive proof to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin.
Even Ordinals creator Casey Rodarmor has reservations about Twetch’s association with BSV, because of the links to Wright and his questionable evidence. But he welcomed the interest.
“I hope they see the light and start building on Bitcoin,” Rodarmor told CoinDesk. “And if they make a great wallet, that's all for the best.”
Ordinals: hype or hope?
The Ethereum community has already laid out a successful “blueprint” for a vibrant NFT ecosystem: a browser-based wallet like MetaMask, a marquee brand like Bored Apes and an NFT marketplace like OpenSea.
Twetch’s founders aim to replicate Ethereum’s success by borrowing that blueprint to build a similar NFT model on Bitcoin, especially now that Ordinals has become the dominant blockchain’s shiny new object.
“Ethereum laid the roadmap out for us – OpenSea, Bored Ape and MetaMask,” Rose explained. “Those are the ultimate tools for using NFTs, working with NFTs, storing them, having true ownership of them, and the ability to transfer and trade.”
It’s not clear if the Ordinals craze is just another flash in the pan or a more enduring development.
Twetch’s co-founders are banking on the latter. In fact, Twetch is already exploring raising capital to build its NFT ecosystem on Bitcoin.
“We're just looking for people who want to help…whether that's an investor or customer partnership,” Twetch CEO and co-founder, Josh Petty told CoinDesk in an interview. “If anybody can align with having fun on Bitcoin, then we would love to talk to them.”
The case of Satoshi Dice
This wouldn’t be the first time a startup has capitalized on a fun viral trend in the Bitcoin community. Over a decade ago, in April 2012, Erik Voorhees (who later founded cryptocurrency exchange, Shapeshift) launched a clever little gambling game called Satoshi Dice.
Players would send bitcoin to a Satoshi Dice address based on the odds and payout they were seeking (lower odds yielded a higher payout and vice versa). If a player won, a bitcoin payment was immediately sent back to their wallet address.
The game quickly became a smash hit in the Bitcoin community and by early May 2012, Satoshi Dice was generating more bitcoin transactions than all other use cases combined.
“Amazingly, in the period starting from Bitcoin’s genesis up through early 2014, more than half of all Bitcoin transactions were going to or from Satoshi Dice,” Voorhees told CoinDesk. “This also means the game was paying more than half of all mining fees on the network during those years. It was certainly a killer app.”
In an environment where Bitcoin’s subsidy – the amount of bitcoin awarded to a miner for successfully mining a new transaction block – is progressively shrinking, high transaction fees will become increasingly attractive to miners.
If Ordinals and Twetch were to generate anything similar to the success Satoshi Dice enjoyed between 2012 and 2014, mining fees could increase – and network security would theoretically improve. Hard-line Bitcoiners might have to hold their noses.
“I'm best friends with the Riot Blockchain guys and they're doing really well because they're so big, but anybody lesser is having a hard time right now,” said Petty. (Riot Blockchain is one of the largest public Bitcoin mining companies in the world.) So when they see the fees go up, what I predict is there'll be more miners that start to become pro-Ordinals, because they're [currently] not making a lot of money.”