Photo of the bitmap theory

Bitmap aims to be the standard metaverse protocol

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Another day, another anon launches a simple, viral protocol atop BTC. After @domodata (BRC-20/ORDI) and @satsnames (.sats) @blockamoto launched bitmap in June 2023. bitmap is a sub-protocol on Ordinals that allows anyone to claim land by inscribing block numbers against the .bitmap namespace.

For example, inscribing 0.bitmap is claiming the first block in Bitcoin’s history, the Genesis block.

genesis block
Source: Bitfeed

The “first is first” principle started by @satsnames applies, meaning the earliest inscription number (block height and ordering in a block) is the valid one. This model is creating yet another gold rush to claim all the lands.

On June 13, there were only 340 bitmap inscriptions.

On June 15, there were 12,000.

As of writing on June 21, over 250,000 valid bitmaps have been inscribed, by over 8,000 unique addresses.

bitmap inscriptions screenshot
Source: Ordinals Wallet | BITMAP

The standard is open-sourced, allowing anyone to build on, claim and interpret the land based on the block metadata. Bitmap Theory states that transactions in a block could be parcels, that could be redistributed to a “wider community.” In fact, Haste Arcade has already implemented this model by allowing users to purchase a parcel of their block 664673 for 0.01 BTC.

Bitcoin blocks are an interesting choice as they are on the first public blockchain that has been live since January 3, 2009. While how the block looks or what can be done on the block is up for interpretation, the metadata of the block is not. Block height, number of transactions, the type of transactions, volume of satoshis exchanged, average fee rate are all properties of the block that are globally recognized as truth. These immutable properties are the crux of why they aim to be the metaverse standard, as they are based on something tangible that is truly immutable.

Like Satoshi Nakamoto’s assertion that “There is only one global chain”, this protocol asserts to be the one, only metaverse standard.

Currently users are rushing to claim all the available blocks, which are about 30% taken as of June 21, 2023. This mania is naturally attracting criticisms such as this simply yet another speculative bubble, where early inscribers are simply rushing to do so to “dump” on later participants.

For example, 184 and 185 have sold for 0.1 BTC (~$2,600) a 2,600 return as inscribing only costs roughly $1.

This naive, tired criticism ignores the economic realities of collectibles, real land on Earth and Bitcoin itself. Assets such as Alpha, Beta cards from Magic the Gathering (ex. the Black Lotus), the territory from Louisiana Purchase and Bitcoin earned from blocks mined between 2009 to 2012, if held resulted in absurd, exponential returns. Did those who held and sold later “dump” on, or “scammed” those who wished to purchase from them later?

bitmap lands are no different as they are owned digital assets. The protocol has only existed for a few weeks, yet critics have expectations that the “real utility” should match the speculation. The truth is, we have no idea what or how landowners would create atop their lands, just as if one owned an empty plot of real land, no one could predict what they would actually do with it.

Again, the total number of and speculative value of these lands are not as shocking as the speed of adoption (days). This is the third protocol to go viral in just three months. At a certain point, we must ask why does this keep happening? The revelation that one can put data on-chain, on Bitcoin is driving a burst of creativity not seen in the “crypto” space to date.

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