Gideon Nweze, the founder and CEO of the newly launched Digital Bitcoin Art and Assets (DIBA) nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace, believes there’s an alternative way to bring NFTs to Bitcoin that doesn’t impact block space and transaction fees.
Nweze recently put this belief to the test, launching a beta version of his NFT marketplace on May 19. Rather than using Ordinals, it leverages the RGB Smart Contract Protocol to mint NFTs on top of the Bitcoin (BTC) network.
Since the introduction of Ordinals Protocol in January, Bitcoin-based NFTs and tokens have exploded in popularity, with more than 9 million total “inscriptions,” according to data from Dune Analytics. However, the rise of Ordinals has also invited its fair share of controversy, including its purported impact on block space and transaction fees.
On the other hand, the RGB Smart Contract Protocol comes from 2016, initially introduced as the “BHB Network” by Bitcoin developer Giacomo Zucco and then relaunched in 2019. It enables encrypted transactions with Lightning Network functionality, allowing users to mint NFTs without taking up huge amounts of space on the network.
Nweze told Cointelegraph that it is “extremely complex” but essentially works the same as a layer-2 scaling solution on Ethereum, and claims it could solve Bitcoin’s newfound blockspace problems.
Assets minted by way of the newly-introduced Ordinals Protocol have attracted widespread criticism for being inefficient and “clunky.” Nweze says this is because Ordinals inscribe assets directly “into” the Bitcoin blockchain, whereas RGB layers the transactions on top of the network.
“If I’m building a house, I don’t put all the storage inside the foundation. I build the rooms and the storage in layers on top of it. Ordinals are like trying to cram everything into the foundation, whereas smart contracts put everything in the floors above it.”
It’s worth noting that the RGB Protocol is only capable of minting NFTs, not BRC-20 tokens.
However, there’s another protocol called Trustless Computer, which leverages smart contracts to mint BRC-20 tokens. As reported by Cointelegraph Magazine, the project is not a layer 2, instead, it’s a “protocol within a layer 1” that uses smart contracts to reduce token bandwidth by 80% to 90%.
Nweze’s statements fall in line with those of Muneeb Ali, the CEO of Trust Machines, who explained in an interview with Cointelegraph how the Ordinals hype could support Bitcoin in attracting more developers and capital to layer-2 solutions.
Ali claimed that in the absence of scaling solutions, high fees and a congested network could slow down widespread Bitcoin adoption in the long term.
While a number of major Bitcoin advocates, including Jan3 founder Samson Mow, have claimed that the Ordinals and BRC-20 hype will blow over in “a matter of months.”
However, Nweze is convinced of the longevity of protocols and assets being created on the Bitcoin network, due in large part to developers beginning to leverage the full potential of the Taproot upgrade.
“Everything we [DIBA] do, uses Taproot. Because Taproot was designed to reduce block space, everything we do takes up minimum block space, because the size of a Taproot transaction is far, far smaller than a normal Bitcoin transaction,” he explained.
It isn’t just pure development and code that has Nweze excited about NFTs on Bitcoin, it also comes down largely to culture and shared human experience. “Art and music is what makes the human heart sing, so if we can use this to introduce more people to Bitcoin, and to Lightning, then we’re winning,” he said.