What do you think of when you hear “Bitcoin?” Hard money? Hedge against the degeneracy of the banking system? There is no second best (Saylorface.jpg)? While almost everyone can concur with the aforementioned, “humorless,” “cultish” and “gatekept” has been creeping into the discourse also.
While Bitcoin itself remains a magical technology, there are many who say it has lost some of its sparkle due to falling behind other chains, notably Ethereum, when it comes to innovation and onboarding. Undoubtedly, what has happened with NFTs on ETH has strapped a rocketship to the backside of the 2nd largest blockchain where those areas are concerned.
As you may have noticed in recent weeks, I’ve been relentlessly banging on about how Ordinals have breathed a fresh lease of life into the culture of Bitcoin. Right at the heart of this revolution are the Taproot Wizards, who are onboarding the next generation of Bitcoin users through memeology and clever methods of getting people to transact on the Lightning Network.
The Legend Of The Bitcoin Wizard
A quick backstory first: in 2013, a Reddit user called Mavensbot posted a charming wizard meme on r/bitcoin with the caption “Magic Internet Money. Join Us.”
This advert brought “unprecedented mainstream attention to the bitcoin subreddit.” says Udi Wertheimer, enshrining it forever as a key component of Bitcoin lore. The price of Bitcoin was $287 at the time the meme was posted on November 6th 2013. A little over 3 weeks later on November 29th, Bitcoin was valued at $1132 and r/bitcoin had seen an increase of 36% in subscriptions.
You can learn more about the origins of the Bitcoin Wizard here.
Fast forward 10 years later, Udi and the Taproot Wizards team helped Mavensbot inscribe and sell a collection called “Bitcoin Wizards” commemorating the anniversary of his historical artwork. However, as with most things in Web3, not everyone was thrilled with the gesture.
Short story about how we got NFT mfers to support a historic bitcoin artist with $150,000 via lightning payments, and how bitcoin maxis HATE us for it.
(I know it’s a long tweet but it’s a good story)
— Udi Wertheimer 🧙♂️ (@udiWertheimer) February 21, 2023
The inevitable backlash
Despite the Taproot Wizards team receiving endorsement from Mavensbot, there has been heavy pushback among pockets of the Bitcoin community who fiercely dislike ordinals and everything they stand for.
Arguments from detractors range from fear that blocks will get crowded and drive transaction fees sky high, to the more simple complaint that they think JPEGs are “stupid.” Wertheimer pulls no punches when speaking about this:
“Bitcoin maxis are a disease. It’s time for Bitcoiners to heal. It’s time to go back to the spirit of the 2013 bitcoin wizard. Playfulness, experimentation, innovation. Not taking ourselves so god damn seriously all the time. HAVING FUN, for Satoshi’s sake. I truly believe that with ordinals we finally have a chance to do this.”
How You Can Become A Wizard!
The Taproot Wizards aren’t just another PFP project, they’re on a mission to educate people about the history of Bitcoin and bring new users into the fold for the future.
By visiting their website at school.taprootwizards.com, you will have the opportunity to complete quests where the best students will get a chance to acquire a Taproot Wizard.
The first two quests, which ended a little over a week ago, were relatively easy to complete but clever in their intention. In order to complete the first quest, student wizards had to make a transaction on the Lightning Network and send the BTC equivalent of around $2 to an address (of which all proceeds went to charity).
Admittedly, I’ve been holding BTC since 2020, but it was this quest which had me using a Lightning Network app for the very first time. It’s also probably safe to assume that many of the 10,000+ applicants were also in the same boat there – so well done to the TW team on this shrewd onboarding play!
If you missed out on the first two quests, be not dejected, as the third quest is currently live and has until Friday morning EST until it needs to be completed. For this one, you’ll need to dress up as a wizard and film yourself in the shower. Yes, you read that correctly.
“Also acceptable: spill bucket of water on yourself, swim in the river (be safe!). As long as you are wearing your wizard costume and you are getting fully wet, it’s ok.” reads the quest instructions on the website.
Over 1000 entries have flooded in so far, with hopeful applicants getting increasingly more inventive with their submissions!
Thank you for making people smile, and for making bitcoin magical again 🪄🧡pic.twitter.com/BqbIa5M1Md
— Taproot Wizards (@TaprootWizards) March 20, 2023
As the third quest draws to a close, we are eagerly anticipating what the fourth, and potentially final, quest has in store for us.
NFTs are a simple and user-friendly way to introduce people to the world of crypto. The Taproots Wizard team understands this, honing in on it with laser precision.
With that said, we are especially interested to see how the Taproot Wizards mission will impact Bitcoin’s reputation, whether it can successfully translate to the broader crypto community – and most certainly if it can catch the attention of those beyond our little Web3 bubble, the ones who are merely crypto curious at present.
In other news, my wizard costume arrived about an hour ago. Time to work some magic!
Wizard School: https://school.taprootwizards.com/
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